Ordain Women: thanks for nothing

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

By Kyleigh Ruth

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

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

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

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


Let me see if I can make an autonomous decision.

I think I can… Yes, yes I can.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

342 thoughts on “Ordain Women: thanks for nothing

  1. Thank you, Sister Ruth. I really enjoyed your views on the matter. I agree that the large majority of women feel the same way you do. Unfortunately, their voices will not be heard unless they speak up as you have done. God bless you for your courage!

  2. I think this is a very good post. I just have one quibble, and I’m not even sure that we would disagree. You said, “Since the alleged goal of the OW gals is to get a statement from the General Authorities assuring them that they have prayed about the issue.” I would agree that they like to put that out there first and foremost, but if you read through their website, it becomes clear that this is window dressing of sorts.

    In answer to the frequently asked question, “what is your goal?” OW responds:

    “Ordain Women envisions a religious community that better reflects the depth, breadth, and inclusiveness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, regardless of gender. We call for the ordination of women and their full integration into the governance of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We sincerely ask our leaders to take this matter to the Lord in prayer.”

    On a basic level, asking the leaders to pray about ordaining women is the third item. The first calls for rewriting of Church doctrine and practice to make it gender neutral, the second calls for the ordination and installation of women into all levels of church government, while the third is essentially asking the current leadership of the Church to seek confirmation of OW’s agenda.

    Reading further into the FAQs, you find extrapolation of OW’s doctrinal grievances, including (my favorite) that “The Church’s Proclamation on the Family declares that men preside over their wives and families, thus preserving an antiquated and unequal model in both the domestic and ecclesiastical realms.”

    What motivation should the Church have in this? “Sadly, if we fail to ordain women and provide a more inclusive range of opportunities for women and girls in the LDS Church, a significant number will search elsewhere for a more equitable spiritual community, as many, particularly young and single women, already have.” Kate Kelly has often described OW, and in the podcasts she is often laughing as she says this, as a retention effort.

  3. @Adam: I just sprayed water out of my nose and all over my monitor. Thanks. lol

  4. This post (and the hundreds of like-minded reactions on social media and among members throughout the Church) typifies exactly why I oppose OW’s methods and actions: OW is shooting themselves in the foot. Here is a Millenial Star blog post by an LDS woman who [read this slowly] doesn’t actually disagree with OW’s basic tenets. And yet, what is the main essence of this piece? A desire to defend the Church, defend the status quo.

    So, instead of talking about greater understanding about women and the priesthood, what Joseph Smith meant by “a kingdom of priests”, increased opportunities for women and girls, &tc., the Church chatting class is mostly just shooting arrows at those damn feminists and putting up walls. Why? We feel attacked. I get it, I do. Ain’t nobody — not even Johnston’s Army — gonna march on our Temple Square.

    So, thanks for changing the subject, OW, from substantive issues to, well, you. In other words, thanks for nothing, OW.

  5. Well written. However I believe that the Lord is often able to reap benefit from Satan’s efforts to lead silly women (2 Timothy 3:6-7) astray. People who have been ignorant of the Church will often idly click on a link and end up following to a conclusion that can result in contacting missionaries. I’ve known several solid saints who found the path to truth by wondering what all the fuss was about. As they say in Hollywood, the only bad publicity is no publicity, a sentiment I heard echoed years ago by one of the people who works in the Church missionary department. They found that any mention of the Church in the media resulted in an upturn of investigators and conversions. Will there be those who have apparently been faithful who are somehow persuaded by OW and all the other ‘silly’ protesters to leave the shelter of the Gospel? Not a lot from the evidence of those who ‘like’ the OW Facebook page. Sooner or later those who leave would have seeped away.

  6. Why do more women of the Church not see that they already are priestesses whether married or not. That is an inherent right of women just by being born unless they drive it away by being unrighteous.

  7. Kyleigh,

    I appreciate your perspective. I share your general concern about the apparent bypassing of dialogue among the larger body of Mormon women. As a man I try to give ear to the broad opinions about this topic among women, giving equal consideration to the different perspectives.

    However, I don’t think you really answer the concern of the OW statement: “Women are powerless in matters of church governance and can make no autonomous decisions, even at the highest levels, Kelly said.”

    Kelly seems to be specifically talking about influence and autonomy in Church governance. Not familial influence in the home. Not stewardship over those who women are called to serve. She’s talking about things like not needing a priesthood holding man to preside at the Women’s Conference. Allowing Pres. Burton to have the final say in making sure the meeting is appropriately run. She’s talking about a Stake RS President being able to call and set apart ward RS Presidents – without any male oversight. She’s talking about YW leaders being able to determine if they’re YW are worthy to attend the temple without needing the bishop’s approval.

    And yes, she’s likely talking about much more – like women in the Q12/FP and in all areas of leadership. As well as giving YW the opportunity to participate in administering the Sacrament. But in this quote, she’s really hitting a specific concern and seeing women ordained as the only reasonable solution.

    I also think you fall in the trap of minimizing the great opportunity and blessing it is to hold the priesthood in daily life, in a effort to show how little women need to exercise it. Holding priesthood keys and authority has teeth in this church. It means something. Attend priesthood session enough and you’ll start to think that its everything.

  8. I think the Ordain Women movement has defined victory in an interesting way. They have proceeded to pursue their goal in a manner antithetical to success (assuming their goal is what they state it to be). They overstate the “powerlessness” of women in the Church in order to persuade those who don’t know any better, which would be folks who don’t actually have experience with the Church.

    That said, there are things that could potentially be improved. I recall a talk Elder Ballard gave, chiding the bishops to actually heed the women rather than trying to proceed without their advice. I also know of women who have acted downright allergic to various bishops, and who would react badly whenever a man entered Relief Society.

    I’m kind of bored of the OW thing, though. Make that definitely bored.

  9. Look into their claim about Joseph Smith a little more. The original quote states that he “said he wanted to make of them a kingdom of Priests as in Enoch’s day – as in Paul’s day” (josephsmithpapers.org). I don’t know a whole lot about Enoch’s organization of the city of Zion, but I DO know that Paul taught that women should not rule in church (1 Corinthians 14:38 JST). He also presented Sister Phebe as a great woman who was a servant of God, a director over many, and that she was working with authority under him. Paul was not a mysoginist in any sense of the word, yet he still stated that women should not direct the affairs of the church with priesthood keys as he had. Why, then, would Joseph Smith wish to emulate Paul’s day (and presumably Paul’s administration of priesthood keys) if he’d intended to give the sisters of the Nauvoo Relief Society the priesthood? It is also important to note that the 1828 Webster dictionary defines “ordain” as “to set apart”, so as time went on we began to associate ordination with the priesthood and less with setting apart for authority in callings. We can not use our modern definition/connotation when reading early church history texts regarding the sisters and ordinations.

  10. Ok! so if what they want participation is in the church government, what they are saying is either the Lord is a bigot against women as he has said nothing about the matter, not even in the scriptures – old and modern – or the Brethren are the bigots, since over the thousands, or zillions of years, which ever people prefer, that the gospel has been on earth, not one prophet, not one, have ever mentioned it, either live or in the scripture, or they purposely gave no heed to the Lord’s promptings to ordain women to the priesthood, which would make them all rebellious servants and not fit to be prophets.

    I find it suspicious that the Lord can make himself be heard and obeyed by the prophets of all times on all aspects of the gospel – even to the sending an angel with a sword to Joseph Smith to “help” him obey polygamy – but not on the subject of women’s ordination. In other words, the Lord is all mighty who can rule the universe but cannot make these men hear or obey Him regarding this important matter.

    Or maybe they believe, that the Brethren are not really prophets, but business men making decisions on their own, and there is no revelation. In which case, what are these women doing in our church?

    I don’t know if I am making myself clear here, but what I am trying to say is, if in thousands years there is no evidence supporting, even hinting at women being ordained on earth, then could it be that the Lord has not really said anything to that end.

    I find it interesting that the Catholic church which claims they are the original church and received the priesthood from the original apostles (namely Peter), do not ordain women either.

    So, no mention of women’s ordination in the scriptures ( correct me if I’m wrong, but I cannot think of a single one, except for some passages in D&C which seem to be talking post resurrection), no cultural or religious tradition of women having the priesthood, no historical evidence of any kind, then what are the basis for their claims?

    I haven’t read their website or Facebook page, but can somebody tell me what is this evidence they employ, besides the “it’s not fair women cannot be part of the church government”.

    I don’t get it. I think I said this in a previous post, but if they were TBM in the good sense (not the pejorative one), and they believed in revelation and true prophets, why aren’t they directing their supplications to the Lord Himself. They can have temple days where they go to the temple and individually pray there in the Celestial room, or just different days they can all fast and pray about the matter. They can study what the scriptures and the prophets say about it and do some personal or combined research. If the Lord listen to prayers, and helps and inspires us , and I know that He does, He will surely answer their prayers and give them peace and revelation regarding the matter, or don’t these women have faith enough to seek and realize that God can give them answers if they are sincere and honest about the subject.

    My only conclusion is that they are either not sincere or simply have a complete different agenda than just obtaining ordination to the priesthood.

  11. AMEN!! Oh I am so glad I read this. You said how I feel so well. I’m so sick of people thinking I’m weak and helpless. I’ve never felt that way, ever in the church. I hate the medias portrayal of our church and I totally agree that this isn’t helping our missionary cause. I love when Eyring quoted the prophets he’s worked with about certain issues arising. He said something along the lines of they often know more about the issue then the people who are causing a stir. Thank you thank you for your strengthening words.

  12. Christian,

    I appreciate your comment, as it has given me a chance to reflect on what is probably the weakest part of my article here. The quote by Kate Kelly was in reference to women being powerless in church governance “even at the highest levels”, so I felt free to extrapolate that even women at the lowest levels are powerless in church governance.

    Nevertheless, the OW movement is trying to sell a line of powerlessness to women who just aren’t feeling it. The “I’m bored of this” comments from indicate to me that the majority of women are tired of having to talk about why they aren’t marching on Temple Square. I am aware that some people hear about OW and it resonates with them, and they feel that having the priesthood would validate them. These women are in the minority, but that doesn’t mean their feelings are less valid, it just means that we need to figure out how we can help fill that hole. I say let’s do it, let’s just take care of it in-house and not involve the media circus with their accompanying scrutiny and criticism.

    Regarding the autonomy, I’m afraid there aren’t many roles in this church that are truly autonomous. I don’t know if I can think of any, as all callings have some kind of ‘return and report’ system. Even the Savior did the will of His Father, so I think there is no shame in oversight. Women are essential to the councils of the church, their comments and insight are depended upon.

    As I continued to reflect on the ‘why’, why women aren’t ordained to the priesthood, the same tired arguments explored on other sites came to mind (I won’t repeat them here, we’ve all heard them) but in the midst of this came clarity. This is the Lord’s church. Women don’t have the priesthood because He has not given it to them. That’s it. I don’t have to come up with reasons for Him, I don’t need to justify His actions. His thoughts are not our thoughts and His ways are not our ways, so that’s it. If you believe this is His Church, then take up your problems with Him personally through the means I described. If you believe it is an institution of men, then continue to demonstrate to sway public opinion, that’s how they do it in institutions of men.

    On a final note, I’m sure your daily priesthood holding is marvelous. However, I’m neglecting to see which blessings that I am missing out on as a non-priesthood holder. Every blessing afforded by the priesthood is open to all worthy members. I get baptized, I receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, I receive my own endowment, I can be sealed to my family for eternity. What am I missing out on here? Not much. I suppose I minimize it because I recognize that it comes from God, and not from the priesthood holder, so it transcends the individual and becomes something much more.

    And if you went to the General Women’s Meeting, you’d think Relief Society was the bomb-diggity as well.

  13. thank you and amen!!!! as a mother who leads her home and her family as well, I feel far from powerless.
    your bringing in how the secular works jumps in with their opinions, reminds me of where we are in the Book of Mormon right now.
    Moroni and pahoran vs. the king-men. interesting to see the parallels!

  14. According to you the women who are part of ordain women see themselves as less than men. If that’s the case you clearly do not understand the issue. Did black men and women see themselves as less before they were able to become members of the church? Do homosexuals see themselves as less because they’re not allowed to marry? I don’t think any of these people did or do see themselves as less because the time hasn’t come for them to receive the things they see as rightfully theirs. Not yet having a privilege or a blessing does not mean that you see yourself as lesser than. I don’t actually care much about this issue as I’m not an active member of the church, nor do I ever intend on being one, but if you’re going to write a rather lengthy article about a topic you should probably make sure your stance is not misinformed.

  15. I’m sorry but your post only reinforces how much power the leaders of this church have over you. Not only have they created an establishment that denies women the right to reach the highest ranking of the church and be equal with men, but they have also indoctrinated the women, LIKE YOU, to defend this inequality. You are defending the very people that are suppressing equality.

    I’m Mormon I know for fact that little girls are taught they are to grow up and be moms and that is their gender role. Of course someone who has been a member their whole life and taught this their whole life is going to have a bad feeling about it and defend it. It’s who you are, and who you are is in large part because this church has told you that’s who you are. So who has the power?

    Take the power back

  16. As a good friend said, “I am not a sympathizer of the OW movement, but I am an empathizer”. Kyleigh, have you ever been in a situation where you disagree with the priesthood leader you work under about something related to your stewardship? I have been in at least three situations where the priesthood leader I worked under (as a YW leader) disagreed and overruled my decision. Besides open rebellion, I WAS powerless to do anything about it. These are three different leaders (both ward and stake). In one case, he tried to publicly bully me into doing it his way. In another case, he reversed the decision years later after the damage was done. In the third case, I received confirmation from the Lord that I was right but that I needed to let it go. In each case, the priesthood leader got to make the final decision, and I had to go along with it – even knowing I was right, and even knowing the result would not be as good. That is NOT autonomy.

    I loved Elder Oaks’ talk. I am not advocating for priesthood ordination, and I don’t believe I have powerless. But the fact is that women do not work autonomously in the church. We work under the direction of priesthood leaders, and that means they get the final say if they want it. That is an objective evaluation of the situation.

  17. Contrary to Rusty’s assertions, many of us that grew up in the 80s and 90s were indoctrinated through society and the schools that to become a mother was a lesser vocation that was unworthy of us. I don’t recall a single teacher or local leader in school or in church that led me to hope that I could grow up to marry and stay at home with my children. I do remember a talk that President Benson gave in conference–maybe I was nine? –that encouraged mothers to stay home with their children. It was shocking to me, even at that young age, because it was completely contrary to everything I had ever heard or been led to believe. Being a mother of a large family has seemed at times almost a counter-cultural, rebellious act. Accusing a large group of women of essentially being unthinking broodmares for a Mormon Lebensborn program (admittedly, the most uncharitable reading of your post) is both ignorant and unkind. Being a mother is not a lesser vocation. It’s an opportunity to learn to love and serve as the Savior did, in the spheres that are both most important and most difficult.

  18. Kristin I’m sorry but I don’t think you read my post very well. I never stated that being a mother was a lesser vocation. I only stated that Mormon women are taught from a young age that their ROLE is to be a mother, which by the away you agreed with me by your President Benson statement. The fact is undeniable, there is leadership inequality in the church, women are not allowed to be in the highest ranking positions in the church.

    The author Mrs. Ruth is arguing that women aren’t powerless, I AGREE, but like most predictable Mormon apologists she is avoiding the main argument and instead focusing on a sub topic that she can defend.

  19. No, I completely disagree. Mormon women are taught from a young age that being a mother is a Good Thing–at an institutional level. They are taught that their ROLE is as a daughter of God. (What they learn from the mashup of folkways and byways and varied role models is a completely different story.) You equate hierarchy with power, and I do not. In fact, I find that concept limiting.

  20. Stephanie, who’s to say that if your priesthood leader was a woman the same thing wouldn’t have happened? As a president of a ward organization did you always follow all the council of your own counselors, or did you sometimes end up realizing you should’ve when it was too late. I know I’m guilty of that.

  21. Although I read a lot on these boards, I don’t usually post, but I thought Kyleigh’s post hit a lot of important points with some great conversations in the comments.
    I probably should have let Rusty’s comment go, but the issue of being “indoctrinated” into the role of motherhood is a lazy way of dismissing women’s choices.
    Since Rusty took my comment on President Benson as affirmation of his original comment, I’d like to expand on why his talk was so important and influential to me. It lasted a mere 15-20 minutes, and I was playing with a Little Tikes barn set for all but 14-19 minutes of that time, but it was the ONLY time from youth to childhood that my heart heard the possibility that I could become a mother someday and that would be a valuable and worthwhile goal. A quick rundown of the women in my life shows a plethora of working women. From my mother, the teacher, to my YW presidents (RN, business owner, real estate agent), all of the women I knew worked for a living and worked hard. They were incredible women who encouraged me to do my best and live up to my potential, but never pushed me toward marriage and family. I thought I would become a doctor or lawyer or something “really important”, but even with all the pushing in those directions, my heart still yearned to have a family. The most essential unit in the church is the family, and a mother’s power within the family is unrivaled. It is the power to minister, and done well, it mirrors the service of the Savior. If the choice I have made to become a mother is because of “how much power the leaders of this church have over [me],” I would certainly be a better visiting teacher! (as well as a myriad of things that I have been taught.) It is instead the power of the Holy Ghost that has changed me, and I hope it continues to change me.

  22. I work in an organization that is hierarchical. Those who work with me do not have complete autonomy. They are beholden to align themselves with the goals of the organization and their appropriate leaders.

    As I’ve mentioned, for many years I worked as a woman in a part of the organization that supported an all-male constituency. In that environment, I was constantly challenged and questioned. I didn’t even realize this was the case. It was a bit shocking when I moved to a part of the organization where your gender isn’t an a priori indication of your “experience.” It was rather nice, I must admit. But there’s more to the job than whether I have to sometimes deal with folks who don’t even know they are sexist.

    I live in a pocket of the Church where I am valued in my family, I am valued in my ward, I am valued in my Stake, and I know God likes me. He really, really likes me. So even though sometimes people make decisions I don’t agree with, and sometimes I get taken to task, and sometimes [insert generic bad thing that happens that bothers some about the Church], I know God loves me, and God loves them, and I love them from an unremembered eternity and will continue to love them, despite it all.

    My high school humanities teacher used to intone “What Peter says about Paul says more about Peter than it does about Paul.”

    Ultimately, there is a job to be done. And when we perceive incorrect things happening, there are effective ways to rectify the situation.

    In my opinion, the OW folks are not using effective means to bring about the end they claim to desire. So they are either stupid or duplicitous.

    In my opinion there exist men and women in the Church who hold to folkways that limit the power of the body of Christ. I would certainly enjoy seeing those folkways challenged in a substantial way. But I’m happy to let that happen under the stewardship of those men and women set apart (aka ordained) to positions of leadership in their respective spheres.

    Paul had a nice sermon about how the body of Christ is not made up entirely of eyes. What I hear women here saying is that they find joy in a powerful role (e.g., being the heart) despite the world denigrating that role. I say I’m willing to be anything, including the connective tissue on the patella, if that’s what God needs me to do.

  23. Meg Stout says: “The OW folks … are either stupid or duplicitous.”

    How can you call yourself a Christian, Meg?

  24. Sarah, I never mentioned “men” at all in my comment. I said “priesthood leaders”. I guess that means the same thing would apply if women were in those positions of authority. The person with authority gets to make the decisions.

    I don’t remember a situation where I was at odds with any of my counselors. We counseled together effectively (kind of like how it is supposed to happen. Read “Counseling with our Counsels”).

    It seems to me that counseling together is how it is supposed to happen, but the person in authority can choose whether or not to let that happen. But the fact remains that someone does have authority. Whether or not you agree or disagree with the OW movement, the fact is that priesthood authority is the authority to govern in the church. Priesthood keys give the authority to govern. No woman in this church has authority to govern because no woman has the priesthood keys that give that authority. Everyone (woman and men) have access to priesthood power through making and keeping priesthood ordinances (see at least 4 talks in the last two general conferences).

  25. I find it funny for all those who claim ordain women have no right to request change and that it’s up to the prophet. For these people I ask have you actually studied Mormon history? Look at the Mormon church today…it has changed a lot since JS time. The church JS was part of looks more like the FLDS church than the LDS church. All the major changes that have occurred have been bottom driven, not top driven like everyone thinks. The church stopped polygomy because of the governments influence, not because the prophet woke up one day and had a revelation. The church decided to give blacks the priesthood because they were baptizing a lot of people in Brazil who didnt know if they were part black or not, bottom driven. Since OW a women has given a prayer in conference, the church has created a new general conference session just for women, and women were seen sitting in the middle of the 70’s in conference. For those who think that this church is top driven you are ignorant to your own history.

  26. Hi S Greene,

    When an individual announces they are trying to achieve X and then proceed to go about it in a way guaranteed to fail, they are either “lacking intelligence or common sense” (the definition for the shorter term, “stupid”) or their goal is not the one they claim (e.g., duplicitous).

    I love them. I just don’t respect how they are attempting to achieve their claimed goal.

    Since when is a Christian not allowed to use the term duplicitous? I’ll admit that my husband was unhappy to learn I’d flung the word stupid rather than a less inflammatory synonym.

    If OW loves the Church and wishes to improve it, they are doing a crappy job. They’ve failed at their market research (again, assuming their goal is what they claim) and their message deployment has not yielded the modification they sought (again, assuming their goal is what they claim). If anything, things are a bit worse now because they’ve elicited a combative response both from leaders and the membership of the Church they seek to change, hardening the ground for anyone else who might have done their market research and come up with a “deployment” approach that wasn’t so fatally wrong-headed.

    Is there a third or fourth or fifth alternative to “lacking strategic understanding of the field” or duplicitous?

  27. By the way, husband man does agree with this paragraph:

    “If OW loves the Church and wishes to improve it, they are doing a crappy job. They’ve failed at their market research (again, assuming their goal is what they claim) and their message deployment has not yielded the modification they sought (again, assuming their goal is what they claim). If anything, things are a bit worse now because they’ve elicited a combative response both from leaders and the membership of the Church they seek to change, hardening the ground for anyone else who might have done their market research and come up with a “deployment” approach that wasn’t so fatally wrong-headed.”

    No grammatic errors and no short terms that could be taken as attacks rather than simple descriptives.

  28. We should be clear on something – The autonomy of a bishop (who answers to a SP) is not the same thing as the autonomy of a RS Pres (who answers to the bishop). Also, its nice that bishops have been counseled to really listen to women. But, that’s not the same thing as the institutional keys and mandates that a bishop holds – regardless who listens to him.

    And saying that we’re all in this together – just here to serve – is a dodge. Exercising the priesthood in its various ways is a tremendous blessing in the life of the selfless holder of that priesthood. That’s the promise at least.

    The Holy Ghost shall be thy constant companion, and thy scepter an unchanging scepter of righteousness and truth; and thy dominion shall be an everlasting dominion, and without compulsory means it shall flow unto thee forever and ever.

    Again, this is what we tell young men til the cows come home. Suddenly, if a young women desires those same blessings, its a sin.

  29. Meg, So you check with your husband when leaving comments on a blog post. Tell me again how you are totally equal and autonomous.

  30. All this talk of “power” makes me think of D&C 121. As far as I can tell, the kind of priesthood power we (male or female) are justified in wanting–power to more effectively minister to others and fulfill our individual divine missions–is not the kind of power that some commenters here are discussing. Instead, we hear talk of “governing”; of control; of the power to overrule the wishes of subordinates.

    Let’s assume OW-types have really do seek power, not for themselves, but merely for other women. I still don’t get this. Is it really that much easier to have rank pulled on you if the person pulling rank happens to be a woman? If that’s the case, then it seems to me that such an attitude says more about the prejudices of the person who feels that way than it does about the Church.

    Incidentally, no one that I’m aware of is disagreeing with the principle of requesting change. The disagreement is with the methods being used to request that change.

    And, in response to “The church JS was part of looks more like the FLDS church than the LDS church.

    Really? Really? When did JS deflower young maidens (with or without consent) on a temple altar/bridal bed as his other wives looked on? When did JS exile whole groups of unattached young men from the community? When did JS effect a community standard stating that if you left, your wife and children would be re-assigned? The FLDS resemblance to the Nauvoo LDS is superficial at best; and I’m frankly stunned that a practicing, reasonably historically informed Mormon wouldn’t see that.

  31. Rusty wrote: “Power does not lie in the hands of those that give into conformity.”

    Today’s conformity is giving in to the politically correct culture inculcated by the left-wing universities and media. A young Mormon woman is constantly told that she is worthless unless she has a job and a career, with no mention of finding happiness in a family. Today’s conformists are the women (and men) who get fooled by this message, not the brave Mormon women who stand up for something different. It takes real courage to be a mother and wife these days. It takes absolutely zero courage to say you are only interested in your career.

  32. S Greene, first and last warning. If you would like to comment here, no personal attacks on the commenters or the writers. Thank you.

  33. Christian J: Those promises aren’t contingent on being ordained to priesthood office (what, women can’t have the Holy Ghost as a constant companion?). They [i]are[/i], however! contingent on “[l]et[ting] thy bowels also be full of charity towards all men, and to the household of faith, and let[ting] virtue garnish thy thoughts unceasingly.”

  34. Jim D, church leaders have been going out of their way to emphasize that all worthy members of the church who make and keep covenants have access to priesthood power – to serve in callings, to serve their families. There is real power there. The thing all worthy members do not have is priesthood authority, which is given by ordination and allows one to perform priesthood ordinances and govern in the church. I think one of the reason church leaders have been making this distinction is so we don’t get bogged down in arguing over power.

  35. Stephanie – I completely agree. I was merely adapting to the nomenclature already used by others here. Using the more orthodox terminology–it’s OK to aspire to priesthood power; but not priesthood authority. And per Elder Oaks, Mormon women are already quite capable of wielding priesthood power.

  36. Hi S Greene,

    Nope. I don’t check with husband man when I do stuff. But he happened to be in the room and we discussed this (after I’d posted it) and I was trying to convey the fact that I have lovely people in my life who attempt to remind me that words like shit and stupid shouldn’t be used in civilized discourse. As we know, I was criticized for using the term anaearobic fecal matter over on another thread this week, prompting comments that moderators felt needed to be snipped. So I’m actually not sure what I got called, other than it allegedly wasn’t the term for a maternal canine.

    So aside from questioning whether I’m a Christian and implying that I don’t wipe my nose without seeking permission from my spousal lord, do you actually have something to add to the conversation?

  37. This article (and some of the commentary) makes me sad. First, her disdain for the women of OW is very clear, and that’s the sad. THESE ARE OUR SISTERS, and just because we may disagree with what they are seeking, doesn’t give us the right to bash them, or make assumptions about their motives. From what I’ve seen, OW has gone out of their way to be respectful, and even if that were not true in all cases, THEY ARE STILL OUR SISTERS.

    Second, her entire article contains so many Strawman Arguments that it’s hard to keep up, She says “To unite myself with their cause is to admit that somehow I am less because I do not hold the priesthood.” Um, NOWHERE does OW state that they are “less.” It’s like believing if you want more regulation on automatic weapons, your opponent states that you are in support of taking away our right to bear arms.

    She then suggests that OW thinks that they are inferior to men. Again, strawman. That’s exactly NOT what OW believes, they believe they are equal to men, thus the movement.

    She then blasts Kate Kelly for her statement on how women cannot make an autonomous decision with regards to church governance (which they can’t, in a ward for example, it falls to bishop and high council). The author then talks about her personal autonomous decisions which has nothing to do with matters of church governance. She says the majority of women feel exactly like she does. Nope, nope we don’t. In fact, I would guarantee there is a huge spectrum of feelings and opinions here. She presents a “you’re either for OW or you’re like the rest of us.” Again, ANOTHER strawman. I find it interesting to note that I have never read one statement, blog, article, or press release from those speaking out against OW acknowledging the idea that there are MANY MANY women who DO feel the inequalities, who may even want to support OW, but refrain from doing so out of FEAR (fear of losing church membership, fear of losing church employment, fear of upsetting the priesthood holders in their families etc). That realization speaks VOLUMES right there. If indeed there are women in our church who are AFRAID to say “well, ya, I kind of agree with this part or that part of OW,” THEN WE’VE GOT A PROBLEM.

    She then makes an assumption that OW women are “doing it wrong,” and the right way is to pray and fast, making the assumption that no one in the OW movement would have done that. Just a casual browse of the OW profiles will tall you the exact opposite…these are women who have spent YEARS fasting and praying, YEARS of trying to go through the “proper channels.” In fact, they have YEARS of letter-writing evidence to back that up (which is one of the arguments she uses).

    Then she says that OW is “dragging my beloved Church through the muck of spin and sophistry.” Strawman, strawman, strawman. First, this is the beloved church for the OW women as well, so there’s that, and second…it was the media that glommed on to OW, not the other way around.

    Then, instead of just saying that she disagrees with OW, she suggests that their motives are coming from Satan. COME ON, REALLY? Are we to believe that if a person has an idea that is different from “mainstream,” then it comes from Satan? Most of the women are active members of th Church, and love the Gospel.

    Her last paragraph seems to nail her blatant disdain for the women of OW by making it clear that the women of OW are not her sisters in the gospel, and she makes a plea to the “right thinking” sisters of the gospel. That’s just cruel. The women of OW ARE our Sisters in the Church. Even though we may disagree with them, they are still our sisters, and to ostracize them from the Church is a) not her judgement call to make and b) just plain mean.

    Overall, frankly, the article was very offensive and I’m not even a supporter of OW. I can’t imagine how it makes the sisters of the OW feel.

  38. Um. I’m being reminded of Bruce’s post about why he quite MM.

    OW is allowed to go “visual flight rules” to the press and portray the Church as a heartless, woman oppressing organization as backwards as the Taliban, yet we are not allowed to say anything that questions their motives or their approach? How unChristian we are, to say anything that might cause someone driving the wrong way on the road to feel bad about that fact.

    I had written a long post about my background, which I think would have conveyed much about my reasons for wanting to see Church culture modernized (something to do with significant and extended verbal and physical abuse in my childhood that wasn’t ever dealt with ecclesiastically as those good and sweet men could never believe my father, who I love, could do such things). Alas, the internet does still eat stuff, so you’ll have to guess at what I wrote,

    We, the 90%, have different reasons for being irritated with OW. Some of them have to do with seeing a group completely screw up something that needs to be done. OW has staked out priesthood authority as the only good worth having, and appear to be unaware of how making priesthood authority universal, if something God would grant, will completely change or eliminate Church functions OW claims to treasure (e.g., Relief Society).

  39. “How unChristian we are, to say anything that might cause someone driving the wrong way on the road to feel bad about that fact.”

    Meg, yup. We have been going through this routine (you attack, we defend, but when we defend we are always wrong and always unChristian) for many years now. In my case, more than 10 years. The good news is that by continuing to assert the truth you provide support to people who need it. So keep up the good work and don’t get discouraged.

  40. Hey Geoff,

    Just letting you know that anytime you, as the OP and empowered with edit capability, notice that I’ve misspelled something or made a grammar error, you are welcome to correct it. I hate it when I hit post, only to realize I left off an s or added an e or something else.

    The other thing my post that got eaten by the internet was intended to convey is the fact that I have experience going toe to toe for hours on end, day after day, week after week, with someone who opposes me. And that’s in cases when physical violence was a possibility and a reality. So though I do love everyone, I am also willing to take a stand. And I have extensive vocabulary in my repertoire, though obviously much of that is not appropriate for a public or even respectful private forum.

  41. Redd005, I think that Bruce’s recent posts here illuminate a lot of what’s going on with OW. This is a movement that has its roots in a bunch of women who have been grinding this axe since the 70s, but the group as we know it grew up in the bloggernacle and found their voice there first. Many of the voices are also at FMH, YMF, Exponent, etc. They are “safe zones” for mormon feminists, and I think Bruce’s explanation of “safe zones” is a useful way of looking at the debate unfolding here and in the real world.

    But it should not be forgotten that OW has come into the public arena and has been casting stones at the Church. Despite the rhetorical flourish that all they want is the brethren to ask, which is more or less sincere based on the individual speaker, the core of their complaint is that they view the doctrines and practices of the Church as old fashioned, misogynistic, and oppressive. Read the profiles and tell me how I’m wrong. They often claim to “love” the Church, but they clearly don’t love it the way I or most of my fellow co-religionists do, or else they would not be doing what they are doing. I think it is a more accurate characterization to say that they love what they hope the Church could become.

    The problem for OW (and for anyone going into the public square) is that they can’t realistically expect that people will not respond to their ideas. They also can’t expect that people will take a live and let live attitude either, because they aren’t taking that attitude themselves.

    OW tries to hide behind “we’re just asking Pres. Monson to ask the Lord,” but that’s just window dressing. They have grievances that won’t go away if Pres. Monson comes out and says, “I’ve asked the Lord and he said no.” There’s been no statement from Kate Kelly or anyone else that says, unequivocally, that such an answer would resolve their concerns. Instead, Kate Kelly says that if there is a no answer the she will remain faithful. However, she already thinks she’s being faithful, so she’s not admitting that a no answer would have any effect whatsoever to her and her activities and convictions.

    The OW crowd has a long list of grievances. Just read Hannah Wheelwright’s post on YMF from two days ago. Did you know that that post is the only substantive communication from an OW spokeswomen since Saturday? Read it. It is nothing but a long gripe. There’s no expression of love for anyone or anything other than OW. There’s no expression of fidelity to the Church, only a list of how it has wronged her since her childhood. I read that and think, “here’s someone who got a pretty clear no from Elder Oaks, if she has ears to hear it, and her response is to hold true to her grievances rather than any faith in the brethren or the Church.” But I digress.

    If you go public with ideas, there will be some who think that they are stupid. As a result, those people will think that the individual presenting the ideas are stupid for having them or saying them aloud. Right or wrong, it’s a hazard of public discourse. It hurts when people say it, but that’s life.

    So what is a charitable Church leadership supposed to do, or even a somewhat charitable young man like myself? There’s really only a limited number of responses. First, we could just ignore them. This means that we don’t make them feel bad by pointing out how their ideas and conclusions are wrong, and avoids hurt feelings from that standpoint, but it also doesn’t address the hurt that they seem to be feeling.

    Second, we could come out and match the boldness of the demonstrators and tell them precisely and directly that their ideas and conclusions are wrong at that they have gone about this the wrong way. Some on the web have done this. OW has proclaimed in response that they aren’t being treated charitably, but the irony is that more often than not, they are being treated with the same care and concern that they have shown the Church and its faithful adherents. Don’t throw rocks if you don’t think its fair to have rocks thrown back.

    Third, we could take a middle ground. The Church has actually done this. They have communicated through PR rather than through Pres. Monson, because it’s one thing for some lowly PR hack to say you’re wrong, but it’s gentler than having Pres. Monson call you out on apostasy directly. They have had Elder Oaks give a talk on the priesthood which addresses the issues raised by OW directly but without actually drawing the line directly back to OW, which is gentler than having a letter signed by the First Presidency directed at OW that says the same things.

  42. Rusty writes, “Not only have they created an establishment that denies women the right to reach the highest ranking of the church” and “Take the power back.”

    This indicates to me that this is about hierarchical or ecclesiastical power, not about the blessings of serving in the priesthood. Perhaps a little more time spent in D&C 121 would be useful. I wasn’t aware that we were “ranked” based on our callings. I am quite certain that we are cautioned against aspiring to specific callings.

    Rather, the attitude that I perceive from such statements is that this is more about “aspiring to the honors of men” than it is about serving “by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned.”

    For those women who feel that their counsel is not followed or appreciated, I would ask if that is the exception or the norm. I have found in my time serving both in the Midwest and in Utah that the women who participate in councils hold true sway. I have never seen an EQ president “trump” a RS president, and every bishop that I have worked with has always valued the insight and counsel of the RS president. Likewise, more often than not it is the YW presidency that has more say than the YM presidency in discussions of activities that include both the YW and YM. Have I experienced the exception rather than the norm? I don’t think so.

    Furthermore, plenty of YM leaders and EQ presidencies have had their priesthood leaders have the final say on issues that were different from what they had wanted or counseled, as well. This is not a gender issue.

    Stephanie writes, “In the third case, I received confirmation from the Lord that I was right but that I needed to let it go. In each case, the priesthood leader got to make the final decision, and I had to go along with it – even knowing I was right, and even knowing the result would not be as good. That is NOT autonomy.” And this is also not a gender issue. It happens to men in their auxiliary assignments, as well. Like you, we also have to let it go. There is no rationale that had the priesthood leader been a women in any case that the answer would somehow be magically better or different. It might be, but it also might not. Why, because we are all just as liable to make the same mistakes, or not, regardless of gender.

    We all have our priesthood leaders, regardless of gender, all the way up to the prophet. And he has his, as well. Being told no or not having our counsel followed happens to both men and women. But, I suppose that when it happens to men, we cannot claim gender bias. Therefore, what I am coming to understand is that when it happens to men it just must not matter. We just have to let it go and accept it. We cannot find some other reason for what we perceive as a negative response to our efforts.

    Are there some wards where the leadership makes poor decisions? Absolutely. Might individual priesthood leaders discount the suggestions of the opposite sex unfairly? Sure. Not all leaders are magically equal when they are set apart. So some people have better experiences in some wards than others. Could that discounting still happen if the roles were reversed? Of course. None of this speaks to the Priesthood or the structure of the church ecclesiastical system. It speaks to us being mortal and flawed. Hence D&C 121 there to try and help us.

    Sorry, this went longer than I initially thought it would so I will stop now.

  43. JimD, “aspiring to power” is another strawman in my view. Let me make more clear what I am saying. Whatever are the blessings of what men have the opportunity to do with the priesthood – THAT is what some women also desire. As men, our desire for those blessings as associated with what we do with the priesthood is spoken about as the height of righteousness. When women desire *those same things that are good for me to desire* – it is called sin.

  44. Hi Christian J,

    I can’t think of a single blessing arising from use of priesthood that isn’t already available to women through the activities available to them.

    Of what (specifically) are you speaking?

  45. Another – pretty easy – example JimD,

    Blessing my 3 children was an extremely powerful experience for me. My wife desiring that same experience? “power hungry”. I’m sure you wouldn’t put it that way, but that’s a common response to women who desire the experiences that men have in the church.

    we are all just as liable to make the same mistakes, or not, regardless of gender.

    Mike, I would love to give my fellow sisters more opportunities to experience making those same mistakes that men get to make – and grow from.

    I really don’t think there is a debate at all that women have much less autonomy than men in the Church. Its best you start crafting an argument to why you think its ok.

  46. Christian J wrote: “I really don’t think there is a debate at all that women have much less autonomy than men in the Church. Its best you start crafting an argument to why you think its ok.”

    Speaking as a man who has, at times, held some positions in the Church, I never thought that I had much autonomy in those positions. This is because I always took any decisions to be made to the Lord, and then followed directions as best as I could. Since I don’t know whether you accept that the Church and it’s various leaders, from the top to the bottom, are guided by the Lord, I don’t know whether you will accept that explanation, but that doesn’t make it any less true.

    We have learned, by sad experience, that some do act inappropriately when placed in positions of authority, as they suppose. That is a problem with the individuals involved, and not with the Church.

  47. As for why I think it is ok, it’s simple. It’s the way the Lord directed that the structure be set up. Again, you can question that all you like, but you won’t be able to convince many folks who are in the Church that this is wrong.

  48. “For those women who feel that their counsel is not followed or appreciated, I would ask if that is the exception or the norm.”

    Does it really matter? It does not make it right. I was the YW Pres in a ward where my Bishop counseled with me regularly and relied on me heavily. And then I was the YW Pres in a ward where the Bishop wouldn’t even do PPIs and his counselor thought my job was to do what I was told. Does that somehow make my second experience less relevant because it is not “the norm”? Why do you feel the need to discount my second experience because it doesn’t fit neatly with yours?

    “It happens to men in their auxiliary assignments, as well. Like you, we also have to let it go.”

    Men and women are both auxiliary leaders. A woman will never hold a governing position in the church by virtue of the fact that governing positions require priesthood keys. There is a distinction there.

  49. Meg, before I give some examples, I would ask you: Can a man without the priesthood access the same blessing as his brethren , by participation in the activities available to women? ( I assume you’re not including anything related to child bearing or family, since that would exclude single sisters).

  50. Michael, I think ” It’s the way the Lord directed that the structure be set up.” is a reasonable response for someone to have. But, why then the need to flesh out different reasons, if that is the only one that matters?

  51. Ah, but plenty of single sisters bear children and have families. Have you not been reading my Faithful Joseph posts?

    But I digress.

    Women who are baptized and faithful can enter God’s temple and partake of the ordinances therein. While they may not be the ones physically performing ordinances, there is no ordinance they are unable to receive.

    Women are able to give healing blessings and blessing of comfort by the power of their faith in Christ. Usually we women defer to the men in our lives for these blessings, because we wish to give them the ability to serve. And because of this, many women might not be aware that women can give blessings.

    Women are able to receive the sacrament of God, renewing their covenants with God.

    Women are able to serve as missionaries and in all service opportunities. While they themselves don’t preside in meetings, they participate in all other levels.

    Women are able to dedicate their hearts and souls to the work of God, and receive the blessings that come from this dedicated service.

    Women are able to direct and conduct and teach and lead, although they do this ultimately under the priesthood authority of the one who presides, whether it be the President of the Church or someone at a more localized organizational unit of the Church.

    So aside from the fact that only one, ultimately, is saddled with the responsibility of being the prophet, seer, and revelator for the entire world, what blessing do women not enjoy?

    Men who have not received the priesthood are not able to participate in all the blessings because they haven’t received the priesthood.

    Women asking for priesthood authority is a bit like someone who can get admitted to the movie theatre for free feeling put out because they didn’t have a piece of paper they could have the ticekt taker rip in half.

    I agree there are certain individual tasks that are relegated to those holding priesthood authority, just as there are certain tasks relegated to that set of people who are female. But those tasks don’t map to blessings, per se. They do map to service. The blessings are for service, and women have ample opportunity to do that.

  52. From my perspective, that is the only one that really matters in the end. We are humans and have a striving to understand the why, and so I think a lot of the additional stuff is speculation on it, some of it might be better than others.

  53. “But, why then the need to flesh out different reasons, if that is the only one that matters?”
    Because when the reason,”Its the way the Lord directed that the structure be set up,” is given, a small and vocal group demands to know why! And so, because there isn’t a specific (to them at least) answer to that question, speculation is presented in hopes they will be satisfied considering they won’t accept the quick and direct answer.

  54. Has no one else here had God say “Shut up!” in response to a prayer?

    In fairness, He might have said “Be Quiet!” And I was yelling at Him.

  55. Meg, Let’s just start with the formation of a branch. My cousin helped open up Mongolia in the 90’s. Many of the first converts were women. This meant the elders were responsible for the branch presidency and in performing ordinances. The whole female population of Ulaanbaatar could have converted and they still wouldn’t be able to start a branch. However, just a few men could convert and they would be able to – no women are required to officially organize and perform baptism, conformation and the sacrament.

    So, exercising the priesthood for a man is fundamentally unique to what women have the opportunity to do in the church. And, we’ve been promised that those experiences in the priesthood are tremendous blessing. As I stated before, blessing your child, for example, is a fundamentally different experience than sitting in the congregation. Seeing the blessing come to fruition is available to the mother and everyone else really. But the act of receiving that specific revelation and promise for your child is only available if you hold the priesthood.

  56. I’m pretty sure I got a shake of a head and a chuckle at least once, followed with a “ok … get back to work now.”

  57. Aside from the “Shut Up!” episode, there are several times when He either refused to answer or said “No.” The most definite “No.” was associated with my prayer in fasting regarding a job opportunity. I argued with Him on that one, but He didn’t elaborate. Less than a month later I met the man who is now my husband. He was in his late thirties and had never been married. If I’d been busy with a new job, I would never have had the time to hold up my side of the courtship that eventually led to our marriage.

  58. Hi Stephanie,

    I do not think that I ever said regardless if your experiences were the exception or the norm that they were right. Nor do I recall discounting your experiences. If you felt I was, I am sorry that you felt that way. I do recall saying that these situations happen to men as well, and could happen if roles were reversed just as readily. I still believe this to be accurate. Why would your second experience not have happened if you had a female bishop? It is completely illogical to say that it would not be possible. So again, these experiences are really not a gender issue.

    It seems to me that your gender issue is this: “Men and women are both auxiliary leaders. A woman will never hold a governing position in the church by virtue of the fact that governing positions require priesthood keys. There is a distinction there.”

    Perhaps it is an issue of semantics, but I do not see all governing positions as having a requirement for keys. I will grant that there is a difference in positions with keys. Along with that, not a keys are equal. And regardless of what “governing” position you are in, there is someone to whom each must answer in their stewardship of those keys. No one is truly autonomous in that view. So my question would then be, why do you aspire to hold these keys? Is it a cultural issue, or is it an issue of a different sort?

    Christian J, you wrote, “Mike, I would love to give my fellow sisters more opportunities to experience making those same mistakes that men get to make – and grow from.” Two separate thoughts come to mind:

    1. How do they not already really have this opportunity? If you say it is because they never get to be a bishop, well the vast majority of LDS men do not get that opportunity either. Somehow they have to find another way to make mistakes. We all have opportunities regardless of if we recognize them. Are you saying that we can only learn if we have a specific governing calling?

    2. And what about the mistakes that men do not get to make because they are men and not women? Sometimes, it is just the way life is. We do not get to all have the exact same experiences. It is not part of the plan as far as I know. Frankly, I do not want every experience that everyone else has as it is. Occasionally I covet one or the other (generally in a more secular setting), but I usually realize that they are not for me. Everyone ending up the same is someone else’s idea. So I am OK with having different opportunities and experiences.

    In summary, D&C 121. Really has some good stuff that I still am pretty bad at but am trying to be better.

  59. Hi Christian J,

    While the branch example you raise is valid, how many of those women then turned to the men in their lives and helped them accept the gospel? Ultimately it isn’t merely a matter of getting to have a branch and the ability to take the sacrament. It is about bringing families back to God.

    I would suggest that in the Mongolia example, there was a severe discrepancy between the righteousness of the men and the women. But giving those women the priesthood would then have ensured that the men didn’t step forward. And ultimately this would frustrate the great plan of salvation.

    If you study lean six sigma, you may hear the story of Herbie. I believe this happened to Deming, but it might have been someone else. Anyway, the dude (Deming?) was on a camping trip with a troop of scouts and they were hiking. The line of boys got all strung out, and Deming had to call them together multiple times. Then he looked at it through his optimization/LSS lens. It turned out a number of the boys had asked Herbie to carry stuff for them. And Herbie was a bit stolid.

    Deming redistributed the gear so that Herbie, instead of being heavily loaded or even equally loaded, was lightly loaded. Then Deming put Herbie at the lead of the group. As a result, the pack of boys moved forward in a tight group, which enhanced their experience and their safety.

    In the Mongolia example, the men who weren’t joining were the ultimate Herbies. They would have been left behind, in the dust, still fully burdened with their sins.

    So though I again grant that some of those women (like my Grandmother in China, who believed for years before receiving even just a standard Christian baptism) were denied the blessing of Church membership for a time. But ultimately the entire population of that area of Mongolia will be blessed as men step up to be equal partners in believe, set in the lead of the pack so that the body of Christ in that area might progress together.

  60. Christian J, I don’t find the “branch formation” argument too compelling, and here’s why. In addition to what Meg said, I would ask whether or not those in OW who bring this argument forward believe that God is aware of this already. As near as I can tell, there has always been this problem in the Church in different places. If the Lord wanted to solve that problem through the ordination of women, he didn’t need the OW crowd to give Him the idea.

    OW claims that all revelation in the Church is precipitated by questions. They claim that we’ll never know the mind of the Lord on this topic unless the specific question is asked, as if our relations with God where nothing more than a game of 21 Questions. However, that’s not true in my life, nor is it true in the Church. We can start out with the First Vision for a prime example. Joseph wanted to know which Church to join. He had looked at a number of them and couldn’t decide among them. I expect that he was expecting nothing more than a nudge in the direction of the Methodists or the Anglicans. While his specific question was answered when he was told to join none of them, he got hit with a lot more than just that!

    Want another? Paul on the road to Damascus. Pretty big revelation, not a single question answered to precipitate it.

  61. Mike, I never said I do aspire to hold the keys. I was making the point that no woman is truly autonomous in her calling as the author claims. All callings held by women are under the direction of priesthood leaders who have ultimate authority for decision-making. The argument is valid that all callings answer to someone and ultimately leads to God. So, in a sense, no one in the church really has complete autonomy to make decisions. But, I think it is disingenuous to say that women’s leadership experiences are the same as men’s leadership experiences in the church. They are not. Being a Bishop or Stake President or Area Authority is a very different experience than being a Relief Society President. These governing callings do contain MORE autonomy. It is just not the same, and I am tired of that being put forth as an argument. As Christian J said, “I really don’t think there is a debate at all that women have much less autonomy than men in the Church.” That is true. Trying to say that the autonomy women have is the same as the autonomy men have is just not true. Other arguments for why things are the way they are would be better because that particular one doesn’t fly.

  62. This post has gone viral and has more than 1,000 likes on Facebook, which is the second most of any M* post ever. Good job Kyleigh!

  63. I have had two pentecostal revelatory experiences. The second one was in answer to a prayer about the Book of Mormon. The first one just popped up. I wasn’t looking for it and I wasn’t even wanting it.

    God is often inscrutable, but never passive.

  64. Meg,
    not only have I had God tell me to mind my own business, He has also laughed at me. I sorta took it as a compliment.

  65. JimD, “aspiring to power” is another strawman in my view.

    In point of fact, it’s what your compatriots have been explicitly demanding in this very conversation. But, sure; let’s move beyond that and address the points that you specifically have made.

    Let me make more clear what I am saying. Whatever are the blessings of what men have the opportunity to do with the priesthood – THAT is what some women also desire.

    What blessings are those? Can you articulate them, either in theological or practical terms? The closest you really come, is pointing to specific experiences that come by virtue of holding priesthood office. You mention the experience of being able to bless your children. Now, I hesitate to invoke the priesthood/motherhood equivalence; but the fact is that through biology God has apparently decreed that some experiences and qualitative relationships are to be tied to being female. So, the fact that other experiences and qualitative relationships are tied to being male is apparently not a per se injustice–or at least, not inherently displeasing to God.

    Now, if you can demonstrate that officiating in priesthood rituals is objectively (for both males and females) requisite to salvation, or that it teaches lessons/fosters spiritual growth that cannot be attained through any other means; then your argument is certainly strengthened. But the OP here doesn’t seem to think that’s the case; and until you can establish that foundation it seems to me you’re essentially arguing for sameness, not equality.

    Can a man without the priesthood access the same blessing as his brethren , by participation in the activities available to women?

    No; but only for reasons that are essentially tautological. Men are under specific instruction to seek and obtain the priesthood, and if they don’t do it, they are in contravention of the Lord’s will per se. The only “blessing” that a man loses by limiting his Church participation to the activities available to women, is the blessing of knowing that his service is in perfect accord with the plan the Lord has laid out for him.

    Michael, I think ” It’s the way the Lord directed that the structure be set up.” is a reasonable response for someone to have. But, why then the need to flesh out different reasons, if that is the only one that matters?

    Because for some people–even nominal Mormons–“It’s the way the Lord directed that structure to be set up” isn’t enough; even when it comes from an apostle’s lips.

  66. Steffanie, I disagree with your assumption that an Area Authority has more autonomy than a ward Relief Society President. This is only true if you believe that the Lord is not directing the Church. I know Area Authorities, and have had conversations that touch on this question. They rely on guidance and answered prayers much more than I ever did in any of my responsibilities.

  67. I didn’t bring up the branch example to demonstrate “what its all about”. I was simply illustrating that holding the priesthood or not has a tangible effect on those that hold it or don’t hold it.

    Also, Meg – I think the idea that men need the priesthood to motivate them to follow Jesus is a folk doctrine.

    I think the crux of what I’m hearing is that the fulness of blessings of the priesthood can be received without ever being ordained. But, that’s not what I hear 2wice yearly during the priesthood session. Instead I hear that holding it is a unique experience with unique blessings.

  68. I think the crux of what I’m hearing is that the fulness of blessings of the priesthood can be received without ever being ordained. But, that’s not what I hear 2wice yearly during the priesthood session. Instead I hear that holding it is a unique experience with unique blessings.

    Examples, please?

  69. Now, if you can demonstrate that officiating in priesthood rituals is objectively (for both males and females) requisite to salvation, or that it teaches lessons/fosters spiritual growth that cannot be attained through any other means; then your argument is certainly strengthened.

    It sounds like your definition of “requisite for salvation” would consist of baptism/confirmation – taking the sacrament once a week, receiving my own endowment and temple sealing and we’re done.

    Also, of course the priesthood “teaches lessons/fosters spiritual growth that cannot be attained through any other means”. I hear this exactly, every October and April.

  70. Also Jim, don’t assume that just because I have problems with this post and the reasons being given for why women should not desire the blessings of holding the priesthood, it means that I agree with anything at all being said or done by OW.

  71. Christian J, as Elder Oaks explained, the priesthood includes many different powers that are given to men and women in different forms. For example, women have the priesthood power of birthing children (creation), which men do not. This carries with it special blessings and promises. I do not begrudge women this incredible power. In fact, anybody who has ever gone to church recognizes that mothers are constantly celebrated for their willingness to exercise this power. I am not lessened because I don’t have this power and a woman does. Men and women are different and have different powers. It has always been this way and always will. (This does not mean that the powers God decides to give to people will never change — I am open to the fact that it will change, but that this change will come through the proper authorities of the church). I do not see evidence in your comments that you understand the over-arching nature of the priesthood. Your vision appears to be extremely limited.

  72. I would say that the sanctification unto the renewing of their bodies you speak of here is a reference to the keys of resurrection. Like the salvific keys, this appears to be something that is a future prerogative of the priesthood.

    However, again, while men will be sanctified to the renewing of their bodies and granted the keys to renew the bodies of others, it isn’t as though women will remain mouldering in their graves. They, too, will be renewed. It’s just that they won’t be running around doing the renewing.

    You say giving men priesthood to motivate them, to help them achieve salvation, is folk doctrine. Can you cite research that demonstrates that men thrive in an environment where all gender privilege and primacy is removed? For example, in western schools?

  73. This debate brings to mind this Monty Python bit:

    JUDITH: I do feel, Reg, that any Anti-Imperialist group like ours must reflect such a divergence of interests within its power-base.

    REG: Agreed. Francis?

    FRANCIS: Yeah. I think Judith’s point of view is very valid, Reg, provided the Movement never forgets that it is the inalienable right of every man–

    STAN: Or woman.

    FRANCIS: Or woman… to rid himself–

    STAN: Or herself.

    FRANCIS: Or herself.

    REG: Agreed.

    FRANCIS: Thank you, brother.

    STAN: Or sister.

    FRANCIS: Or sister. Where was I?

    REG: I think you’d finished.

    FRANCIS: Oh. Right.

    REG: Furthermore, it is the birthright of every man–

    STAN: Or woman.

    REG: Why don’t you shut up about women, Stan. You’re putting us off.

    STAN: Women have a perfect right to play a part in our movement, Reg.

    FRANCIS: Why are you always on about women, Stan?

    STAN: I want to be one.

    REG: What?

    STAN: I want to be a woman. From now on, I want you all to call me ‘Loretta’.

    REG: What?!

    LORETTA: It’s my right as a man.

    JUDITH: Well, why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?

    LORETTA: I want to have babies.

    REG: You want to have babies?!

    LORETTA: It’s every man’s right to have babies if he wants them.

    REG: But… you can’t have babies.

    LORETTA: Don’t you oppress me.

    REG: I’m not oppressing you, Stan. You haven’t got a womb! Where’s the foetus going to gestate?! You going to keep it in a box?!

    LORETTA: crying

    JUDITH: Here! I– I’ve got an idea. Suppose you agree that he can’t actually have babies, not having a womb, which is nobody’s fault, not even the Romans’, but that he can have the right to have babies.

    FRANCIS: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the oppressors for your right to have babies, brother. Sister. Sorry.

    REG: What’s the point?

    FRANCIS: What?

    REG: What’s the point of fighting for his right to have babies when he can’t have babies?!

    FRANCIS: It is symbolic of our struggle against oppression.

    REG: Symbolic of his struggle against reality.

  74. If you say that this specific blessing is also available to women in the same way that the Lord means it for men in the priesthood, then it essentially defangs the whole promise.

    Well, first off, I’m not saying the blessings are available in the same way. I’m saying that the net effect of them is equal.

    And more specifically with regard to Pres. Uchtdorf’s talk, I think you may be missing his intent. In the context of making a full effort, he goes on to state that “The Lord’s promise to His true priesthood holders is almost too grand to comprehend.” The emphasis isn’t on holding the priesthood; it’s on living up to whatever duty the Lord has given us. And, yes; the blessings Uchtdorf mentions are available to anyone who fulfills their responsibilities–male or female. Surely you aren’t trying to suggest that women, because they don’t hold the priesthood, will never be sanctified or see their bodies renewed or become heirs to the kingdom of God?

    Also Jim, don’t assume that just because I have problems with this post and the reasons being given for why women should not desire the blessings of holding the priesthood, it means that I agree with anything at all being said or done by OW.

    Naturally. By the same token, please don’t assume that my comments here are a particular reference to you specifically, unless I’m specifically directing them to you. 🙂

  75. “. . . as Elder Oaks explained, the priesthood includes many different powers that are given to men and women in different forms. For example, women have the priesthood power of birthing children (creation), which men do not.”

    Actually, his talk did not mention making babies at all, only that “there are other priesthood keys that have not been given to man on the earth, including the keys of creation and resurrection.” This does not follow that the keys of creation had been given to women.

  76. Michael, there isn’t even a complimentary position in the church to Area Authority for women. Women have very specific leadership responsibilities within auxiliaries. They do not hold church governance positions. I am not sure why you keep arguing that point. It is a fact. Open up your Conference Ensign to the middle sometimes and count how many women are on the page.

  77. The keys (notice the word “keys”) of creation and the power of birthing children are two different things, Frank.
    My point is simply, as I said, that “the priesthood includes many different powers that are given to men and women in different forms.”

  78. Geoff, what kind of a question is that? Let’s start at the beginning with the original post:

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

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

    I shared that as a YW President, I had three specific instances where I was overruled by the presiding authority over me. That is not “doing whatever I feel is best in my calling with nobody telling me what to do”. That is someone in a position of priesthood authority over me telling me that whatever I feel is best is not what they feel is best, and since they have ultimate authority to overrule what I think is best, they are going to do it. That is not autonomy. That is my point.

  79. Stephanie, perhaps we can have more clarity here if you would explain why you think it is necessary for women to occupy positions of authority within the hierarchy of the Church? What do you anticipate would be accomplished by that?

  80. OK, thanks for the explanation. My only point is this (and sorry if it seemed a bit harsh): there is a very large strain of the OW movement and other Mormon feminists that seems to feel that the bishop or the stake president is the “boss.” This is a complete misunderstanding of how things work in the Church. The bishop or the stake president is the “servant,” not the boss. Yes, they will sometimes make decisions, but somebody has to, and in my experience (serving on the High Council and in a bishopric) they usually defer to other leaders and DO offer them autonomy (I cannot speak to your specific example, but it seems to me you might want to just forgive and move on).

    There is a very alarming strain of desire for worldly power within the OW movement which is completely at odds with the Savior’s example. The Savior was the greatest of all but at the end of the day allowed himself to be completely powerless. The greatest is a servant, not a boss. The OW movement completely misses this point.

  81. The thing with the whole structure as portrayed on the centerfold of the Ensign is that it’s easy to modify that. But would we want to?

    The priesthood has a hierarchical structure. The Relief Society has a relatively flat structure. Hierarchical isn’t necessarily better – in fact most organizational theorists opine that flat organizations have many benefits over hierarchical organizations. They are more agile, etc.

    It is as though the priesthood consists of the sinews and blood vessels of the body. Relief Society is much like the central nervous system (no jokes, now). Or you could decide the flip this analogy. The point is that most people are highly aware of the blood and it’s function in the body. But if you have a chance to carve up a cadaver, you’ll find that the central nervous system is in many ways analogous to the size and power and breadth of the circulatory system.

    People got upset because women aren’t represented on the centerfold. So the Church put up pictures of women. Then those who had been unhappy proclaimed that it was patronizing for the Church to put of the pictures of women. Oy!

  82. Err, Frank, because the prophet says it is? You know, that guy who speaks at General Conference every six months…

    I can guarantee you that if the prophet came out and said his next first counselor is a woman almost every active Mormon would say they are OK with it. But for now, that ain’t gonna happen, and we as Latter-day Saints should be OK with that.

  83. Frank … I’m not the one advocating change, I don’t have the same burden to defend that status quo as someone who wants to come in and make major changes. The burden is on the person requesting the changes to answer questions about their own proposals.

  84. Geoff, I could guarantee the same. Didn’t the thread already go through over “because the Prophet says so”?

    My point is, if people are going to start asking questions like Michael’s, they should be ready to answer the converse (inverse?) question.

  85. Hi Stephanie,

    Sorry, I did not necessarily mean you specifically with regards to aspiring to keys, but more of a general statement. But if you are saying that you (or others) want the “MORE autonomy” of “governing callings” that you associate with keys, it does sort of sound like it to me.

    “But, I think it is disingenuous to say that women’s leadership experiences are the same as men’s leadership experiences in the church. They are not. Being a Bishop or Stake President or Area Authority is a very different experience than being a Relief Society President.” Are all callings the same? Of course not. But if you equate value or importance to any given calling, then I think that there is a much different issue that you should be considering. It seems to me that you are saying that people can only be fulfilled in their church service if they achieve certain callings with an associated level of autonomy. (And I take issue with my use of the word achieve there, but it seems to fit with your argument.) I disagree with that assertion. You can decide what arguments won’t fly in your mind. But when it comes to autonomy, I believe that we all choose our own level of autonomy. We do not like to admit to it, but we do. We are given full agency and autonomy in this life to see if we will ironically choose to give it up. Again, the whole “my will” versus “Thy will” concept.

    Look at Nephi in the Book of Helaman. You would think that he had more autonomy than anyone else that ever existed. After all he was promised that a whatever he commanded would occur. But if you read carefully, he actually had very little, as he had chosen to align his will perfectly with The Lord’s. You might think that President Monson has the most autonomy in The Church. That is what I surmise at least from your postings. I would postulate that he has chosen to have far less than the vast majority of us.

  86. I think I gave an example of the eternal purposes served by requiring priesthood reside with men. But then again, I have been accused of being matronizing…

  87. Michael, the burden to change may not be yours, but it wouldn’t hurt whenever you are tempted to ask “why should we”, to ask yourself, “why not?”

    This Church is not about the status quo. It’s about change and looking forward to even more change. Even if we disagree, we should try to take a look at the questions others have about how it could change, rather than dismiss them because they’ve not immediately convinced us.

    I’m not an OW supporter. If I’d had my way, I would have formed a line barring them from even going on Temple Square. I do, however, enjoy wondering what might be, and seeing what I can do, in my own small way, of making things better.

  88. Similarly, Frank, we were having the discussion over in the recent “Keys” thread about what roles can be opened up that are currently not. Apparently, for example, there are some places in the Church where it would be a shocking proposal to ask the young women to assist in handing out the sacrament meeting programs. Other places have the habit of conducting meetings as though a prior Handbook of Instructions was in play (e.g., one that required the final speaker and final prayer be delivered by a man).

    First let us exploit those areas that have already been made possible. Then let us intelligently and faithfully submit where additional change might be possible, along with doing the mind experiments about what the result of such changes might be.

  89. Frank, I answered your question up above, but it’s a long thread. Short answer … it’s the way God set it up. I don’t understand all the reasons for it. Elder Oaks indicated that it was a doctrinal question, not a policy one. He had lots of other things to say, you should read it if you haven’t, but you might as well ask me why we don’t have Church on Tuesdays. I’ll have the same answer.

    There’s nothing wrong with answering that question. The problem is that the OW side never directly answers my question. They avoid it, and from my reading they avoid it by design. The reason for this is that if you read what Kate Kelly, Margaret Toscano and probably north of 2/3rds of the profiles on the OW site, the reason they want the priesthood comes into clarity. It isn’t for the blessings, it isn’t for equality. It isn’t for the feel-good emotional reasons. It’s so that they can have influence over changes in doctrine to remake the Church into something that is more friendly to their worldview. They don’t want girls to be taught that the greatest work that they’ll have the opportunity to do is to be mothers. They absolutely want to abolish any differentiation between little boys and little girls and what their roles ought to be. Not every OW supporter or sympathizer would agree, and perhaps most wouldn’t, but if you just read what they have on the website, it comes pretty clear.

    I asked Stephanie this question because she isn’t OW and I wanted to know her reasons. The only reason I would have to ask Kate Kelly that question, for instance, would be to see how or if she would differ from her own previously published words on the subject.

  90. I do not need the priesthood to find satisfaction in my life. If you know the church is true then that explains why I am happy the way it is. It is sad to know that their are those who are unhappy and they may always be if they go against the church. Time will tell where they will find themselves with the church. History does repeat itself. For me, I will follow the SAVIOR and the PROPHET!

  91. “Stephanie, perhaps we can have more clarity here if you would explain why you think it is necessary for women to occupy positions of authority within the hierarchy of the Church? What do you anticipate would be accomplished by that?”

    Well, I never said I think it is necessary. But I also don’t think it is unnecessary either. That said, let’s start at the beginning. What are priesthood keys? See this.

    1. “Priesthood keys are the right to preside over and direct the Church within a jurisdiction. Keys usually apply to a geographic area, like a ward, stake, or mission. They also usually include authority over specific ordinances and activities (for instance, baptism, the sacrament, missionary work, and temple work) . . . The keys necessary for governing the Church in the latter days were restored to Joseph Smith by heavenly beings”

    Priesthood keys are the means by which the Lord governs his church.

    2. “Members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles hold all the keys necessary for governing the Church. Only the President of the Church has the right to exercise all of those keys. He delegates these keys to others who preside in the Church—temple presidents, mission presidents, stake presidents, district presidents, bishops, branch presidents, and quorum presidents, including deacons and teachers quorum presidents.”

    These are the presiding callings of the church, and the people who are called to those callings are given the keys to preside.

    3. “Having a calling means having responsibilities; holding keys means presiding over and directing the work of the priesthood.”

    It takes keys to preside. Women do not hold any callings with priesthood keys, and therefore do no preside in any capacity.

    Does that bother me? Yes, at a basic level, it does. Enough to protest in this manner? No. Enough to sincerely seek answers through prayer and study? Yes. Enough to vigorously defend the status quo? No. I don’t see a compelling reason for the status quo other than this is the way the Lord wants it to be at this time. Do I believe that? Yes. Do I think it means it will be that way forever? (Forever limited to mortality because families are the governing structure in the eternities) Likely. I don’t see enough evidence in any bodies of scripture that the Lord intended it otherwise.

    I used to think that maybe some callings could be changed to allow women to have some sort of governing authority, but after understanding priesthood keys, I see that it really can’t be that way unless women are ordained to the priesthood (hence why women are advocating for it). So, yeah, it does bother me. There is nothing inherent about men that makes them better leaders. Women are phenomenal leaders. We don’t teach YW to be leaders in the same way YM are taught to be leaders (I have spent many years as a YW leader, and I have teenage sons. I know the curriculum for both backwards and forwards) because as a church, we are not raising YW to be leaders – we are raising them to be mothers and give church service. YM are raised to be leaders to prepare them for governing positions in the church. I think we have a lot of untapped potential for leadership in our women and YW because we don’t teach them and they don’t have the same opportunities. That does bother me. Does it mean I think the church needs to change? Not necessarily. I don’t feel I have the stewardship to make that decision. Would I complain if it did? Nope. So, I guess it comes down to leadership skills and potential to me. I wish women had more opportunities for both. “But women are RS presidents and primary teachers, etc. etc.” I know, but as established, women do not have presiding positions. It is different. I am a little sad that women do not get those opportunities or the growth that comes with them. I don’t think that makes me power hungry or ungrateful. It is what it is, and I am not going to apologize for pointing out what it is (according to church teachings) and admit that it makes me a little sad. There are experiences women (including myself) will not have because of the way it is. “But, but a man can never have a baby!” [rolls eyes] I know. You can be sad about that, too.

  92. I, for one, am super glad I cannot have babies. Having to pass a kidney stone is the closest thing to that I EVER want to have to experience. 🙂

  93. Is the skill set developed by presiding over the Relief Society or the Primary, really that different from the skill set developed by presiding over a ward or a stake?

  94. Yes, I think so, and I admit there are some experiences I will be glad not to have (counseling in the case of an affair, for example). A lot of what Bishops, Stake presidents,etc. deal with is icky stuff. Still, those stewardships are very different than auxiliary responsibilities (YM leaders included).

  95. In my experience, I have felt marginalized by woman with more frequency than by men. I have served as both a Primary and Young Women’s President and the bishops I had the privilege to serve with never made me feel cut rate or less than equal to other presidents of organizations in our Ward. When I was released from being the Primary President, I was asked for my opinion as to who the new president should be. That was not the case when released from YW, but in that instance, I didn’t feel less respected because my opinion was not asked for.
    Another thing makes me laugh. It is said that women should be able to pick RS Presidents and set them apart. So would all women have the priesthood, or just some women? I think women picking women would lead to a popularity contest, but I could be wrong. I know there have been times that a certain person (a male or female person) was called to be the president of an auxiliary and I thought it was an interesting choice; someone I’d never in a million year would have thought would have that opportunity, but they ended up being great. That is how I’ve know that callings come through inspiration, and who is to say that a Bishop didn’t counsel with a female before receiving that inspiration?
    It also raises another question, which is, why would we even need Relief Society? If women hold the priesthood, won’t we all go to Elder’s Quorum and High Priests Group? I know that despite all that is said, some of these women aspire to be Bishops, Stake Presidents and more. I know several (in and outside the church) dyed in the wool feminists that simply thing they can do “it” better, regardless of what “it” is. Will men one day be Primary Presidents and Young Women’s Camp Directors? I think if some of them really had their way, we would have a 100% takeover of leadership, drive the men out and replace with women. And where will it end? When will we really be “equal”? Will we have to add a “Father’s Room” to every meeting house? Will women set up the chairs for meetings and re-roof houses for free?
    I’m grateful that as I continue to read things that are published on this issue, including the comments, I can see that I’m not alone in feeling happy, content and proud to be a women, to fill the role that God gave me on this earth and in his church. I know that even though some people would tell me that I need to feel oppressed or downtrodden, I don’t have to feel bad that I don’t.

  96. And I am glad to not feel so contentedly self-righteous that I am unable to empathize or understand another’s point of view.

  97. I want to thank the majority of those commenting here for the moderated emotions while still making stands for their ideas and ideals. Many times I will stop reading because it becomes more of a bashing of people than a sharing of ideas or attempt at understanding, and I think this has been closer to that ideal than any other set of comments. Kudos to you all! I’m frustrated too by the OW movement for the very reasons stated in many of these comments above and can’t understand why their being told “No” either last year or this year has had no effect on their purpose. I guess that should say something about their purpose and the way that they are approaching their cause. I do still love them and hope that they can humble themselves to be able to find their answers individually instead of by inviting the media to witness it.
    In the end though, I just had to share an idea my husband had that may seem a bit crass, but that goes to the heart of the subject for me in regards to the OW as well as many feminist movements.
    It seems not a matter of equality but of sameness that they want, which can never be because it goes back to the basic physical nature of us all. We ARE equal, but not the same. We all have bathrooms with our orientation blazoned on the door, but do women protest at restaurants for the equality of a urinal? Men have sometimes wished for the equality of stalls, but they don’t picket the local supermarket for them? We each have bathrooms that are suited to our needs and makeup…why do so many ask for what’s the same instead of realizing that they already have what is equal?
    Hmm. Thanks, hon!

  98. Awesome! I feel 100% the same. I feel so much frustration with OW. Thank you for your insightful and articulate article!

  99. What an ugly way to talk about your sisters in Zion. I do not support the OW movement, but I value the hearts of all women, especially those who feel judged and unwelcome in their own homes which is precisely how the so-called “majority” of LDS woman are doing to these sisters who are part of OW. As an adult convert, I take the ninety and nine very seriously. And it is so much easier the care for a flock when you aren’t actively striving to drive away what you perceive to be “the strays.”

  100. I’m surprised that I read through most of these comments (I admittedly skimmed the bottom half). It is a lively and entertaining debate. I’m going to pick out one or two points to comment:

    There has been discussion regarding autonomy and equality in governance. Some have made the point that women have less autonomy. Others have countered that their complaints will always exist in a hierarchical system, and that no one truly has autonomy because even the prophet is subject to god.

    I would simply ask how many positions exist in the church governance where a women is in direct authority over a man? If there are any, there aren’t many. Whether right or wrong, surely any man or woman can understand how a women could feel slighted because of this.

    I also question the wisdom of men chiming into the discussion in support of the current state. This is a discussion about women who feel they don’t have equal authority/opportunities compared to the men. For a man to make a statement in support of the current state might give the impression of him being chauvinistic. I suggest that this is primarily a discussion for women. Men should try to stay neutral, simply offering their love and support or general advice to women on both sides of the discussion.

  101. As for my own advice to the OW movement, this will be unpopular but I will say it anyway. If anyone in the church feels that woman are being oppressed and they don’t have true gender equality with the men, then the best way to demonstrate that is to boycott the church. Let’s examine the consequences of this based on the following scenarios (purely based on my own logic, of course).

    (1) God does want full gender equality but the current/past male leadership has been ignoring him because they want dominion over women. If this is the case we can’t trust the church leadership, and a reasonable god wouldn’t fault a woman for not attending church.
    (2) God is a chauvinist who does not want full gender equality. To be frank, if this is true, god is a liar and one would have to question whether he is a true god or a false god (or in other words, an advanced, powerful other worldly being) who simply wants our worship. Obviously, if he is a false god, then one should not feel any obligation to attend church. If he is the true god but is a liar, then we are all screwed, but we still shouldn’t feel any allegiance to him.

    Now, I realize that probably sounded downright offensive, but here is my point: The church purports to be the one true church which is actively directed by the one true god. The OW movement purports that there is a serious issue with the way women are treated in the church. If they are correct, it suggests that the church is not (completely) true and one of the above scenarios (or a similar one) is true. Therefore, they should own up to their beliefs and stop attending church.

    There is, of course, the risk that they are wrong and they simply misunderstand the way things work in the church. If that is true, how bad would it be to stop attending church? Consider this thought exercise. Pretend you are a god judging two people. One woman attended and obeyed a church she believed was oppressing her because she was afraid of damnation. The other woman, who is otherwise a good person who treats everyone with dignity and respect, risked damnation by standing up for her beliefs and stopped going to the church which she believes was oppressing her. Which woman do you respect more?

  102. I have never felt that the church sees women as less than men. Women and men are supposed to have a partnership through marriage. It was great seeing the apostles and prophets at conference with their wives and daughters on the stand and them walking off stage with them hand in hand. Respect for women is always something that is spoken about by the prophets and apostles. In our world now, men are constantly being portrayed in TV shows and movies as doing nothing but sitting on the couch and watching sports. I feel that the priesthood gives my husband direction and responsibility in his life. Women are naturally nurturing and comforting. A dad may give the priesthood blessing when a child is sick, but the mom is also there, comforting and caring for them. How many times have you heard the prophets and apostles speak of their wives and most times so emotionally you can feel their love and respect? In a true marriage partnership, you counsel with each other and make decisions together. Sure, it is not always like that, but no one is perfect and as even Joseph Smith said, he is still just a man, just like everyone else, still makes mistakes. Just like bishops, stake presidents, etc. As for the OW being respectful, marching and protesting on temple square is not respectful, and we would be upset if any other group was doing that as well.

  103. @ IAmAMan
    You expressed my own feelings in this matter.
    If this is truly God’s Church, then He is directing how it is run.
    To oppose how the church is run, is to say that it is not being run the way that it should be.
    If the church is being run by God, then how can the way that it is being run be wrong?
    If the church is not being run by God, then it cannot be God’s True Church.
    If the women in the OW movement believe that the church is not being run the way that it should be, does it not follow that they do not believe that it is being run by God?
    If they do not believe that God is running the church, why do they even want to belong to it? Should they not instead try to find (or even start) a church that teaches what they believe it should teach rather than try to change a church that they do not believe in?
    I know that if I disagreed with the teachings of the church, that I would leave it in a heartbeat. Nothing would be worth the aggravation of belonging to something that I disagreed with as strongly as these woman seem to disagree with the church.

  104. Various leaders in the Church have some level of autonomy. Most don’t have the autonomy you believe them to have.

    From my perspective it is more a matter of presence at different levels. Women are present at some important levels to counsel. When you understand how the Church works, or is supposed to work, it is by counseling together. Then the one who presides makes the decision, but that individual is often constrained significantly as well.

    Christ washed his disciples’ feet. He became the servant of all. That is how He presided. Not that serving us meant he was just a glorified butler, but it’s still a very different model from what happens in secular society.

    There are leaders (men and women) in the Church who use that position at times unwisely. We are all imperfect, therefore such things will happen.

    However the strident insistence that the Church must necessarily grant all the keys of priesthood authority, and there is no other possible way to be “correct” seems an odd position for someone to take who considers this to be the organizational method by which God is effecting salvation. If the Church isn’t God’s vehicle for salvation, then it isn’t. Enjoy coming to our meetings and potlucks as it pleases you, but admit you aren’t aligned with the stated purpose of the Church.

    If the Church is God’s vehicle for salvation, perhaps there could be some humility in letting Him guide His vehicle. If the leaders were to err (they do err from time to time) then it’s advisable to review D&C 64.

    Again I will state that I do not seek or oppose priesthood ordination for women. However I continue to be unimpressed by the way OW is attempting to effect their stated goals. I’m similarly not impressed by demands that we shut up and stand down if we disagree.

  105. So many people thirsting after POWER. So sad to see that so many misunderstand the nature and essence of the Priesthood. First off, the Priesthood is the authority to act in the name of God. By definition, the bearer of the Priesthood holds no power at all of his own, but only permission to act when needed in the name of God. Secondly, as to complaints about autonomy in callings, um… who DOES have autonomy in their callings? Everyone has somebody they answer to and everyone gets shot down. I can’t even say how many times I’ve been shot down in decisions I felt were right in my calling (and I’m a man!!! How is that allowed?!*sarc) and I don’t know anybody who has ever held a calling in the church who hasn’t been shot down at some point or other. We may not hear a lot about it, but I’m sure even the prophet gets shot down every so often. I know Joseph got the reaming of a lifetime over his “autonomous” decision regarding giving what he had translated so far to Martin Harris. Yeah, he learned just how much autonomy he really had in that little life lesson.

    Finally, what really seems lost on everyone is that the Priesthood isn’t really about power, it’s about responsibility. Yes, as a priesthood holder, I have stewardship over my family but that doesn’t mean I have power to command any of them, it means I have a responsibility over them. In the end, if my children are not properly taught and raised, then when Judgement day comes, while both my wife and I will be held liable for that, the main brunt of the responsibility falls on me. I’m the one who will take the biggest hit. Where my stewardship over my wife is concerned, let me explain it like this: if she does everything right to deserve the Celestial Kingdom and I don’t, then she’s fine; she gets her reward and I don’t. If I do everything right to deserve the Celestial Kingdom and she doesn’t make it, then neither do I because it is my responsibility to make sure she makes it there. If she falls behind, it is my Priesthood duty as her husband to help her to make it in every way I possibly can. If I fail in that, I fail period.

    And just for the record, my wife and I are NOT equal. That doesn’t mean I’m better than her or that she’s better than me, it just means we’re different and you know what, that’s perfectly OK. What she has, I lack and what I have, she lacks. Coming to that realization and learning to depend on each other and learn from each other is the definition of becoming one in a marriage. Men and women were never meant to be equal or we would have been created to be asexual creatures. It never ceases to amaze me what kind of issues are a big deal in the world and in certain parts of the church today and when the Proclamation on the Family came out… just before all these things really started. Certainly couldn’t have been any revelation involved there, right? And you know, I’ve lived all over the world, and seriously, this is mostly a Utah and Idaho problem which is representative of only a very small yet highly concentrated portion of the church as a whole. This nonsense is a perfect example of why I will never live in Utah or Idaho and tell every college-age Mormon I know to stay away from BYU.

    If you ask me, women have it pretty good. Ask yourself, what kinds of talks do you hear on Mother’s Day? Usually lots of glowing stories about how wonderful women are and what a great influence they are. What kind of talks do you hear on Father’s Day? More often than not talks about the responsibilities men need to do better on and how to be better fathers and husbands. Nobody attains any calling in the church and nobody wields any real power in the church and those who think otherwise may not be stupid, but they have a very poor understanding of the Priesthood, the nature of stewardship, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a whole.

  106. @ That one guy who did that one thing that one time

    I pretty much agree with most of what you said, and others have talked along the same lines. I think that in many ways women do have the better end of the deal. I think that a woman’s influence within the family is far more important than the perceived power and authority people get with the priesthood or in leadership positions. I echo what you and others have said about autonomy.

    But to expand upon what I said earlier, all of this kind of glosses over something that I feel is a key component to why the OW movement feels the way they do. Repeating my question from my first comment, “how many positions exist in the church governance where a women is in direct authority over a man?” It doesn’t matter whether we use the word authority, autonomy, power, service, responsibility, stewardship, or any other relevant word when talking about leadership positions. The fact of the matter is the ratio of women to men within leadership positions is severely unbalanced, and there aren’t many, if any, positions where a women has responsibility/authority over a man. I’m not trying to offer an opinion as to whether this is right or wrong. I’m just saying that ignoring this point and talking about how it shouldn’t matter that women can’t serve in many leadership positions only serves to marginalize the feelings of women who do want to serve in more leadership positions.

    I personally don’t understand why anyone would actively seek any leadership positions (other than with the young men since you get to go camping :), but I completely understand how a woman would feel that the church (or god) doesn’t see them as equal to men given the current structure of the church governance.

  107. I’m sorry to keep commenting, but I just had a thought that I want to share, even though I have no hope of this ever being implemented and most of you probably won’t care. Imagine that every position from the bishop up was a co-position held by a married couple. In such an arrangement, it could be said that the woman doesn’t need to be ordained with the priesthood because she has access to it through her husband. They would share the responsibilities of the calling as much as possible, but some things would be more in the domain of the woman and others the man. The bishop’s wife would have responsibility over the relief society president for example.

    The downside is this could take the woman away from her children at times, but it would emphasize husband and wife being equal partners.

  108. Quick question: Why, after all the work you did on your mission to convert people, were YOU not able to baptize your converts? Also, I invite you to take notice…the next time you’re in a RS, YW, Primary leadership meeting of some sort, how often will do hear this phrase (or something like unto it): “I’ll take that to the Bishop for approval”.

  109. Posts like this remind me of the women who were against the women’s suffrage movement. I’m sorry you feel that way. 🙁

  110. Thank you. Conni and Maria and amen to everything you said. Also thank you Geoff B. and Kyleigh for standing up for the truth. Man and women are equal. We need each other. Conflict only drive families apart.

  111. Something my father used to say when he was upset with his leadership was that the Church is perfect, but sometimes the people who run it are not. And that’s becuase we are human. I’ve had some bad experiences with priesthood leadership, but I had to remember that the comments that this bishop made were not from God. They were from his human mouth. And while I obviously couldn’t go against it, I was mad at him, not God. I don’t agree with OW, but I do feel like we need to have more open and honest communication about how women can be involved in leadership, and how bishops and other priesthood leaders can learn to trust the decisions that a YW president might make, or a RS president. And that issue is not because the church is wrong. It’s because of human error. Giving women the priesthood wouldn’t change the view that many leaders have about women in leadership. Discussion changes that.

  112. How many women prophets have there been?
    Why does God not seem to think women are able to hold that position?

  113. Nick,
    I don’t know, why don’t you pray about it and ask Him? Why do men have nipples? Why are women more predisposed to judge off of emotion than men? Why do men generally value personal strength more than women do? Maybe you just don’t know God’s mind or purposes and for some crazy reason He just doesn’t see why He needs to explain Himself to you. Maybe it’s just me, but I think He’s a few paygrades higher than you and I don’t think He really owes you anything, rather you are the one indebted to Him. That’s what is so crazy about all of this, a bunch of people whose pride and self importance has gone straight to their heads trying to tell God how to do His job. If you really believe that it isn’t God who is doing this but that the people leading the church are the ones making the decisions then maybe you should leave the church because you obviously don’t believe it is the true church of God.

    One thing is pretty clear though, this has been the model in use since Adam and Eve. If people really think that now they’re going to make God change his mind, go right ahead and try to convince Him but don’t get your hopes up.

    Seriously though, the real question everybody needs to be asking here is this: is whether or not women hold the Priesthood really vital to my personal salvation? If the answer is no, then you’re just wasting your time trying to get it changed. The women who are chasing after this are not trying to glorify God or His work, they’re trying to glorify themselves and satisfy their own pride. Last point, I have never met a Bishop or Stake President who really wanted the calling or found it convenient in the least for them. It’s pretty telling that when they’re released they’re not quite so much disappointed at their loss of power or position as much as that they are relieved that it’s over and somebody else’s job now.

  114. Whose Priesthood is it? Jesus Christ’s.

    What gender is He? Male.

    Why? I don’t know why the Savior of Mankind had to be a male. But He is.

    Why don’t women hold offices in the Priesthood? Well, in my (female) opinion, it’s prideful movements like OW that solidify the fact we aren’t ready. Priesthood offices aren’t intended to be held by those who WANT them. Dare I say the worst bishops, stake presidents, EQP’s and the like are the ones who feel they are most deserving of the office? Likewise, women who deem themselves most worthy of leadership positions also prove to be terrible at it. We can all recall a pushy, know-it-all leader who seemed to make attending church a living nightmare, and I’d argue that all of them feel this way about themselves. They’re memorable in that unfortunate way because they aren’t humble enough to submit to God’s will, listen to others’ input and guidance, make tough changes and accept blame when things go wrong. It’s not a gender thing. It’s a human thing.

    When it comes down to it, who do you want as your Judge in Israel? A person who, upon receiving the call to be a Bishop, says “I’m so unqualified, Lord, but I am ready to serve this congregation and will do whatever is asked of me,” or a person who says, “That’s right; I stood in so many protests and wrote hundreds of letters to get this job … I’m so ready to take this ward by storm!” Who do you want listening as you confess your sins? Makes me think of the two distinct responses given when God asked, “Whom shall I send?”

  115. Jenna, your comment is very sexist and I have to assume that you don’t realize what you are implying. Men are ready for the priesthood, but women aren’t? NEWSFLASH: there are bishops who have used their positions of priesthood authority to carry on affairs with members of their congregations. There are priesthood holders who abuse their wives and children. And somehow these people are “ready” for the priesthood because they are men, and women de facto aren’t ready just because they WANT to be equal?

    You think men don’t WANT the priesthood? Really? They are told from a young age that they should want it, that it validates them as members of the church. Women are told that they have corollaries in wifehood and motherhood. Well, guess what. Not all women can get those. But all men can get the priesthood. It’s inherently not equal.

    Equality is NOT a feeling. Even if you don’t feel personally disempowered by the church, which is great, good for you, you still do not have equal standing or equal voice. Women in the church ARE NOT equal, except of course in the eyes of God and Heavenly Mother. We do not get equal speaking time in meetings. Priesthood authorities (men) have to sign off on major decisions. Church disciplinary councils are manned entirely by men, who get to make the decisions.

    I support OW, and I stay in the church because I love the gospel, and I believe that change will come. Saying that OW supporters are unintelligent or don’t understand the gospel is absurd and self-aggrandizing. Anyone who claims to understand the gospel better than anyone else should focus less on comparing themselves and more on their own actual studies.

    Also, it is offensive to say that women from OW should just be “more polite.” It’s invalidating. It would have been more “polite” and less “combative” for Rosa Parks to move to the back of bus and then write a respectful letter expressing her displeasure to the government, but do you think anything would have changed then?

    It’s fine for you to think that women don’t need the priesthood. That’s your prerogative, and I don’t think it makes you a less faithful or a more stupid member of the church. It’s NOT fine to question the faith of others because they want something different than what you want, and to say that you are “bored” by them. This church is for everyone, including me. Jesus wanted everyone to feel welcomed and heard.

  116. Hi Grace,

    “Quick question: Why, after all the work you did on your mission to convert people, were YOU not able to baptize your converts?”

    Long answer: I am actually qualified to answer this, since I did not baptize any of the investigators that I worked with that did enter the waters of baptism. They always chose my companion or some member of the ward that had befriended them (which was great when that happened). So, that’s why. And I was just fine with that. But, just to clarify for you. I did not feel that my mission was any less fulfilling. It could be because I realized a couple of things.

    First, there was no scorecard that I was keeping about how often I personally baptized anyone. I was just happy that they were getting baptized. It was about the investigator, and whether or not I baptized them did not really matter. My sisters that served missions never told me that they felt any differently about it either. They were happy to serve and see people come unto Christ. But, clearly there are those that feel differently.

    Second, I did not convert anyone. At least I hope that I did not. I would hope that they were all converted through the Holy Spirit and I was just around to help facilitate that. Again, I have found that most missionaries feel that way, too, in my limited experience. From the way that you phrased your question, one might surmise that you never served a mission and have a different perspective on missionary work. That is fine, but you may want to talk to some missionaries about missionary service in that case.

    Grace, neither the Priesthood nor church leadership is about power as the world sees it. Are there leaders that fail to grasp that? Of course, but I view that as a failing of the individual rather than the structure. Again, I would refer you (and everyone) to D&C 121 to consider methods and motivations.

    By the way, the whole “I’ll take that to the Bishop for approval” thing happens in YM and EQ, too. It doesn’t just belong to the Primary. By the way, how come men can be Primary teachers (been there, one of the great callings IMHO) but not serve in the Primary presidency? Not that I am advocating for it, but no one seems to care about that.

  117. My father gave my brother an expensive sports car and he gave me and my sister Toyota Camrys. Of course, this has always bothered me. My brother has told me lots of things like:

    – Just because Dad gave me a car three times more expensive than yours doesn’t mean he loves you any less.
    – You don’t really need a sports car, your Camry serves your needs just fine.
    – You know, in some ways, your Camry is actually better–it’s more practical, gets better gas mileage, and has more seats.
    – Men tend to be better drivers–you would probably crash the sports car.

    Those statements may each be true, but hearing them from my brother who has a sports car sounds pretty disingenuous, and even though the Camry does serve my needs fine, and I don’t need a sports car, I certainly don’t feel like my father sees us as equals.

  118. Nobody,

    Sounds like you should be taking this up with your dad and leaving your brother out of it. I don’t see where he had any impact on your situation at all. You ought to give your dad a call.

  119. @Nobody,

    If you think that the Priesthood is analogous to a sports car then I don’t think you understand what the Priesthood is all about. But, that misunderstanding is likely to lie at the heart of a great deal of the controversy over this question.

  120. I’m nt sure why woman are making such a big deal about this now, you probably should have started this sometime ago being in the church this long and you now see inequality? Its been like the his forever woman are not meant /allowed to have the priesthood but within the temple we are all priestesses come one how was this fair, well if it is that much on a worrie start your own just like woman before you who have fell apart from the church stop your whining and either get with the program being men will always hold the priest hood or move on

  121. I am so happy somebody put this into words! This is what has bothered me about the OW movement. I’m sad that they under-appreciate their value as-is, without the need to mix duties.

  122. @Nobody… You should probably reconsider Elder Oak’s statement wrt to those who worry about their rights and entitlements rather than their responsibilities…
    Whining about “what kind of car Daddy bought me” surely counts as one of those “first world problems.”

    However, if you were going to use a less-vain analogy. Let’s use food instead. Let’s say that in High School, your mother provided lunches for both you and your brother. Let’s pretend that he was on the Football team, and let’s pretend that you were on the liberal-debate team. Would you write a protest letter to the newspaper because your mother didn’t include the same calorie count between your brother and yourself? Let’s say you weren’t smart enough to figure out the reasoning on your own, would you hold a protest on the lawn, and invite the news media in to embarrass and condemn your mother? Fairness does not mean sameness. In your own example you demanded “sameness”, in the most puerile example I have read from the OW movement, and most of their examples are pretty childish.

  123. Thank you so much for this article. I whole heartily agree! I have a quote by Marion g. Romney that I feel applies to this: “I desire to call your attention to the principle of loyalty, loyalty to the truth and loyalty to the men whom God has chosen to lead the cause of truth. I speak of ‘the truth’ and these ‘men’ jointly, because it is impossible fully to accept the one and partly reject the other.

    “I raise my voice on this matter to warn and counsel you to be on your guard against criticism. … It comes, in part, from those who hold, or have held, prominent positions. Ostensibly, they are in good standing in the Church. In expressing their feelings, they frequently say, ‘We are members of the Church, too, you know, and our feelings should be considered.’

    “They assume that one can be in full harmony with the spirit of the gospel, enjoy full fellowship in the Church, and at the same time be out of harmony with the leaders of the Church and the counsel and directions they give. Such a position is wholly inconsistent, because the guidance of this Church comes, not alone from the written word, but also from continuous revelation, and the Lord gives that revelation to the Church through His chosen leaders and none else. It follows, therefore, that those who profess to accept the gospel and who at the same time criticize and refuse to follow the counsel of the leaders, are assuming an indefensible position.” (In Conference Report, Apr. 1942, pp. 17–18.)

  124. Same logic applied in another context: “I will never join the suffrage movement, because to do so would be to admit that I am somehow less important because I don’t have the right to vote.”

  125. Last I heard, “Neither the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man. ” We are complementary in our roles and the church does not teach anything contrary to that. A wise person once said, “Being fair does not always mean equal.” I don’t need the priesthood to feel I am equal. When I hear words of a sealing, or attend an endowment session, it is very clear the Lord holds women in high regard. These are teachings of Christ’s gospel.

  126. Meg,

    Of what use is the Relief Society, “the world’s largest women’s organization,” if it’s never taught me that? Rethorical question. I’m 60 years old, past RS president, wife of a former bishop in a choice, full-of-history, Salt Lake ward. Perhaps if the RS was actually writing their own curriculum, they might teach this. But it isn’t taught because, although some women give blessings, they do so against official church teachings. How interesting that the same women who throw their OW sisters under the bus and portray them as rebellious, themselves participate in unorthodox practices? If women giving blessings in today’s church was an accepted practice, the Brethren–not just only a few fringe women like yourself–would be talking about it.

    Might be a good idea to read up on President Packer. Particularly his “The Temple and the Priesthood” GC talk from 1994.

  127. Well thought out & written. Worth reading. I agree with several of your points, but I also think we should consider the feelings of the women that are part of the OW group & why they feel slighted. We can have empathy & act with respect to let these Sisters know they can count on us for the support they need. Perhaps it is something in their personal lives- a family situation not in harmony with church teachings or a negative experience with a Priesthood Leader acting outside authority. Let’s not pretend these things don’t happen in the Church. I’ve seen it more than I care to admit. From abusive husbands/fathers to self-righteous Priesthood leaders, these problems exist inside our Church as well as outside it. These often mask themselves under religious or cultural values, so we need to always be on guard for unrighteous dominion rearing it’s ugly head. Let us also remember that unrighteous dominion isn’t just a concern for Priesthood leaders. Women can be just as guilty of this offense and in countries and times where women have more opportunities available to them, we must guard ourselves against it also. We have a Divinely appointed responsibility to defend and protect marriage and family and we need to be unified in our defense.

  128. Brent,

    I do not see any “logic” in comparing OW to Suffrage. I see that comparison attempted occasionally, but their is no logical comparison there or to any similar civil rights movement. And to equate the value of people in the eyes of God to how they are valued in the eyes of the world is even more specious.

    First, let me reiterate what has been stated before. I do not have, nor do I believe that any other man that posts on this site would have, a problem with women being ordained to the Priesthood if the Prophet revealed that it was to be so. If there is an exception to that, I have not noticed it. However, I do have an issue with it being treated as a civil rights issue including agitating for it in manners contrary to requests by Church leadership.

    Now, comparing the workings of the political systems of the world to the workings of the Kingdom of God is farcical at best. Feel free to mingle in the philosophies of man as much as you want, but they always fall short. The right to choose political representation must be open to all, as we all live under a compulsory form of government. Civil rights are an attempt to alleviate, but does not eliminate, this burden of compulsion. The Church is voluntary. No one is elected. We can choose to sustain, but no one elects. There is no compulsion to participate in the Church that is comparable to the compulsion of government. There are no jails, fines, or confiscations of real property should you choose not to participate in the Church. The Priesthood just is not a civil right. We do not elect our leaders, our platform, or what course we follow. The children of Israel agitated to return to Egypt. It was the will of the people, but Moses said that it was not the will of God to do so.

    The rights of the Priesthood have nothing to do with worldly philosophy. “The rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.” When we try to assign the Priesthood worldly attributes, it then lies outside of its source of power. I have posted this so often that even I am sick of it. But really, review D&C 121. Particularly versus 34 to 46. That scripture is so applicable to everyone (yup, especially me), regardless of gender.

  129. I find this topic of OW troublesome. I say this because it does bring negative attention to the church when we are in a time that all members of the church need to be united not dividing themselves over something so trivial as OW. With our country going quickly down the tube I have so many more concerns than OW. I want my family united and my food storage in place. I want my spiritual house in order. I want to be on the right side of the Savior. The notion of women whining because they can’t hold the priesthood is beyond my comprehension. With ALL the responsibilities women inherently have WHY IN THE WORLD DO THEY WANT TO PILE ON MORE??? To me, the priesthood is not about power. Yes, it is the power to act in God’s name but it’s not about who has more power: men or women. There are men who practice unrighteous dominion with their priesthood and that isn’t what it’s designed for. ANY man who tries to use this sacred ordinance for power over another, possibly shouldn’t have it. Any person who wields power over another is in the wrong. I am a very autonomous woman, but I respect the position that my husband holds in the priesthood. In certain important matters I totally rely on his wisdom and discernment and so appreciate what he can do that I can’t. I’m sure this issue isn’t going to disappear any time soon. Satan is in his glory and working harder than ever before to lead God’s children astray. If God has not instructed his leaders on the earth to grant women the priesthood, give it up, get over it and get on with more important, productive activities that will help much more than complaining about something that isn’t going to be changed.

  130. As a woman, I can also see a benefit to keeping men and woman separate. Do you know how much time the bishop spends with his counslors? What if one of those counslors was a female? What if your husband was the bishop…he is gone all the time while you are home with the kids…then he comes back late and talks about how great his sister counslor is…oh, no thank you.
    Plus, do you know how time consuming being a bishop is. I don’t have time for that. I have four little kids. I don’t need to being going to the church right when they are going down for the night.
    It just seems like, people complain and don’t think things through. A lot of good has happened because of the feminist movement….however, at the same time a lot more burden has been placed upon the shoulders of woman.

  131. All of you men missed the point of the metaphor, so I’ll be more direct. When a man, who has the priesthood and has opportunities to serve in many leadership positions, tells a woman that she doesn’t need the things he has and shouldn’t even want them–can’t you see how that would come across to the woman? This isn’t about whether you are right, its about having some respect and empathy. Let this issue be debated by the woman. The comments that many men are leaving here–no matter how true or well-intentioned–don’t change anything and only serve to antagonize those who do feel unequal for not having the same opportunities you have.

  132. If nobody tells you to shut up, is there a reason to comply?

    I don’t think any of the men or women here misunderstood the metaphor, we just found it to be flawed.

    Also, if gender equity is so important, why don’t you value male voices in this debate?

  133. “If nobody tells you to shut up, is there a reason to comply?”

    Thank you Michael, that was very clever.

    “Also, if gender equity is so important, why don’t you value male voices in this debate?”

    The truth is, there isn’t really any debate. Most of us on here know that the church isn’t going to start giving women the priesthood or allow them to be bishops. We can go round and round debating the reasons for this and it won’t change a thing. Those of the OW movement have a choice to either come to terms with this, or leave the church.

    So I’ll ask you, Michael,and the other men on here, are you helping them to come to terms with this, or are you encouraging them to leave the church? I’m suggesting that the women of the OW movement, because of how they feel, are going to feel even more oppressed by what many of the men are saying on here. I’m not telling the men to shut up completely. I’m suggesting they try to have some empathy and consider how their message will be received.

    But then again i’m nobody, so maybe I’m the one who should shut up.

  134. “The truth is, there isn’t really any debate. Most of us on here know that the church isn’t going to start giving women the priesthood or allow them to be bishops. We can go round and round debating the reasons for this and it won’t change a thing.”

    If that is the case, why would people empathize with OW agitating just for that then?

    Wouldn’t we be better off empathizing with and dealing with the issues that Katie raised instead? I believe that the vast majority of active LDS men are far more concerned about women in the situations she described than worrying about if women should be ordained as bishops. But that is not the message that we hear from OW. Their message (or at least its delivery) seems to be one that is contradictory to the counsel of section 121 rather than asking us all to be better at embracing the teachings found there, as Katie did instead. And I think that this is the thrust of Kyleigh’s initial post as well. Can we do better? Of course. But the way in which people strive to make those changes speak to their motivations, as well.

  135. I have read this article but haven’t read the whole comments thread; I think it’s fair to say, we all come from some place different, and maybe have had both good and/or bad experiences within the church. I think we need to be careful not to let anger/hate take over on either side of this issue. Which is so easy to do. Since everyone has his or her own story to tell, I will tell mine. I married a wonderful returned missionary in the temple…

    …Early into our marriage my husband wasn’t interested in going to church anymore. I made the choice that I would still go and have brought our 4 kids to church for 19 years. I love this man, but I have not had “the priesthood” in my home. Or haven’t I? I have taught my children to pray, and that they have a loving HF. In my very hour of need, I can go straight to the source whenever I want. I have access to my HF, my creator. I take this as personal access to the priesthood.

    In my own story this is where I can see that my husband could really benefit from exercising the priesthood he holds, but has not honored. I could also see, how I could just kind-of not care about having to take over being the spiritual leader in my home; not even really care that my husband be part of the holding the priesthood anymore. I mean he doesn’t seem to want it, so why do I care? I can answer that, because this is my story. I care because I love him and our family that we have created together. I would love for him to feel like he too can receive his own revelation; for his family, and others. Honoring his priesthood could help to direct his heart and spirit, could help him focus on more than himself and providing for a family. I also think out of the two of us, I happen to possess more of the nurturing qualities, not to say he doesn’t have that in him, I think it just comes a little more naturally to me. You could say I’ve done a pretty good job so far on my own, and maybe I’m even doing a better job than he could do…just maybe. I like playing devil’s advocate sometimes, but I understand the Lord’s plan; it makes sense to me, to want all men and men like my husband to hold this authority, because maybe they never would care to otherwise, or maybe all the spots would be filled.….again, my story.

    I am the spiritual leader in my home, work as a teacher in my community, have served as a YW’s president and currently as a RS president. I have served with 2 amazing Bishops whom I respect and I feel respected. They recognize that I am not only a leader among the women I serve, but also a leader in the ward. I know I influence and have pull within my calling, although, it’s not all about me. It’s about the Lord’s church and how he wants it run. I have faith that our current prophet and leaders are under his direction. My bishop has called me his third councilor, not that I care all that much. I have also received many sacred experiences in the form of personal revelation: for myself and others, to help serve my sisters in my calling better, to me; they have been a reminder as to how God loves his children, specifically his daughters. That is my story and I’m sticking to it!

  136. It all boils down to this. God calls the shots. He created us and will tell us what our roles are. You either have a testimony of prophets or you don’t. Kick against the pricks or humbly follow the will of a Father who knows what will bring us ultimate happiness. God’s ways are not “our ways”. Faith required in the meantime until all the mysteries are revealed.

  137. Good points. By taking their grievances to the media these women are trying to leverage a change in the structure of the church. What good is that? They might as well start a new club because the change won’t be of God. It will be their own creation so it would have to bare a different name. The church of the ordained women. The truth is that priesthood is for service and everyone has sufficient opportunities to serve and in our callings we all have authority to serve and make a difference with the same sustaining power of the Holy Ghost.

  138. Hi Martine,

    Regarding women being permitted to voice blessings by the power of their faith in Christ, this is something I was taught in the MTC and have since had confirmed by my bishop. But the operative bit of that is “faith in Christ.” I find that I rarely have cause to voice a blessing. Rarely meaning two times. In the case I’ve mentioned regarding my son, the blessing I gave was actually prompted by my dissatisfaction with my husband’s blessing, wherein he failed to ask that our son’s life be preserved. Given my subsequent experience with blessing Arthur, I now have greater faith that my husband’s words were in fact inspired. God’s will was not that Arthur remain with us. So I would classify my experience voicing that blessing as akin to the experience Oliver Cowdery had attempting to translate the plates. Ultimately my experience led me to have more faith and trust in my husband, as Oliver’s experience led him to have increased respect for Joseph’s gift.

    As for eliminating gender differentiation in the Church, I think it would be useful to consider what happened to baseball when the professional teams became integrated. Few people talk about the robust history of the Negro Baseball Leagues. As the website for the NLBM states, “The Leagues maintained a high level of professional skill and became centerpieces for economic development in many black communities.” Once there was no segregation at the professional level, these negro leagues fell apart. I’m not arguing that segregation was all good, but the the Negro Leagues did provide substantial benefit. And then that benefit went away.

    Thus if gender differentiation were to end in the Church, there are structures, such as Relief Society, that would almost certainly have to end. Similarly, it’s not clear that youth organizations would continue to separate young men and young women. Arguably this would increase the need for married couples to serve as instructors, to present both male and female points of view and protect youth from predatory teachers (it happens). This has potential to further minimize the acceptable roles for those who are not married, an outcome I don’t think anyone wants to see occur.

    Change, if it occurs, will be welcomed by the faithful. The necessary structural changes will also be enacted to support that potential change. Not everyone will be happy with the result. I’m not certain those who currently support OW would be pleased with the result were their demands to be effected.

  139. Well said! Thank you for this! It’s important for people to know that the OW gals are in the minority. Most women in our church understand our roles and responsibilities and realize that we have unlimited power and potential as daughters of god. As women, we are sacred and revered, essential to the family and the kingdom of God. Anyone who doesn’t understand this, doesn’t understand the tenets of our faith!

  140. Dear Sister,

    This article makes me so sad. The quote about women being powerless and not having autonomy was given in specific reference to church governance. Of course woman are powerful and do wonderful things with there autonomy, but OW is right in areas of church governance. It is because of the wonderful things you speak of about women that a change would be a wonderful and welcome one regarding female involvement in church governance. Also, it makes me feel so sorrowful that you would call reverent seeking of answers to God and the Prophets the work of Satan. I know personally at least a dozen people who would have left this faith but for women like those if OW that have given many hope that God and the Prophets will hear and heal the pain going on in the body of the church. Where I live the OW movement has been really good publicity for the church, not the other way around. Continuing revelation and the ability to ask and seek more knowledge from God and our leaders is a strength of our doctrine. I hope we will all hear and succor each other’s pain in love. I’m sorry that OW has caused you pain in this way. Setting a broken bone can be terribly painful, but after it is set right and given care it will be much stronger and more capable.

  141. As a nursery leader in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints I have the power to influence the spirituality and the lives of the 10 little boys in my nursery I don’t even have any girls in my nursery that even come regularly as primary teachers we influence and educate them in the gospel especially as mothers we influence our sons and raise them in the Gospel as the women of the church have the most profound influence on the men of the church right from birth. My 16-year-old daughter read an article about this and she said mom we organize everything in the church what we have to be the leaders to don’t we do enough I think that’s pretty much said all

  142. Dear Sister,

    This article makes me so sad. The quote about women being powerless and not having autonomy was given in specific reference to church governance. Of course woman are powerful and do wonderful things with their autonomy, but OW is right in areas of church governance. It is because of the wonderful things you speak of about women that a change would be a wonderful and welcome one regarding female involvement in church governance. Also, it makes me feel so sorrowful that you would call reverent seeking of answers to God and the Prophets the work of Satan. I know personally at least a dozen people who would have left this faith but for women like those if OW that have given many hope that God and the Prophets will hear and heal the pain going on in the body of the church. Where I live the OW movement has been really good publicity for the church, not the other way around. Continuing revelation and the ability to ask and seek more knowledge from God and our leaders is a strength of our doctrine. I hope we will all hear and succor each other’s pain in love. I’m sorry that OW has caused you pain in this way. Setting a broken bone can be terribly painful, but after it is set right and given care it will be much stronger and more capable.

  143. As a 27 yr old woman who was born and raised in the LDS church, surrounded by a very faithful family I can honestly say that ALL I EVER WAS TAUGHT was to keep myself holy & pure, prepare to meet and marry a RM and become a mom & homemaker. It was never encouraged to wait to get married, get an education, have a career..nothing!
    I officially “come out” to my family as an Atheist 2 years ago. So as a person who knows about the religion and has seen it on the outside as well it’s funny that no one realizes that if God did exsist he is a total sexist. Jospeh Smith was a sexual deviant who sent married men on missions while he stayed home and “took care” of all the wives and daughters. There are court documents of Joseph Smith pleading guilty to fraud & theft by telling people he could find treasure with magic stones. Only to created the LDS church 18 months later with the power of magic stones.
    Women of the church are brainwashed..I was brainwashed. Men of the church don’t want women thinking and questioning. Emma Smith did that and Brigham Young took over, so she started her own church. The simple fact the church has had mutiple breakoffs like FLDS etc should make some of you THINK hmmm…this really doesnt add up. But it is easier to stay ignorant and not question GOD and the rest of the men in charge of you all. And just another thing to THINK about is that in order to go to the Celestial Kingdom women MUST be sealed to a man, you have to be a full tithe payer to have a temple recommend ultimately meaning you ARE PAYING GOD TO GET INTO HEAVEN! WHY DOES HE NEED MONEY? WHY DOES HE REQUIRE HIS BELIEVERS to PAY in order to get into his holy house? At least the OW are striving for some equality instead of choosing to never question the men in your life..to never think to ask questions.

  144. You do realize that your comment presupposes that something is broken that needs to be set straight? I think you’ll find that the rest of us are more than willing to follow were change to occur. However we don’t agree with the strong-arm tactics OW is using. That does not mean we are unaware of the pain jerks inflict, sometimes clothed in the mantle of the priesthood. We are merely unconvinced that steadying the ark with appeals to the press is the right way to address the issue of jerks.

    Mormons don’t often use the phrase “God’s will be done.” But we who honor the order laid out in D&C 28:2 and trust God will provoke the one at the head of the Church to implement those changes required. OW appears to be taking the sword in their own hands, as Teancum did when he killed first Amaleckiah and then Ammoron. Some see OW’s initiative as bold and laudatory. But not everyone feels it is appropriate. You will note that the homily for Teancum leaves space for us to infer that some thought he was stupid for having gone in, likely against orders, to kill Ammoron. Likewise some of us see OW driving the wrong way on the street, emperiling themselves and others in the process.

  145. Thank you for these wise words. I have never felt powerless. Quite the contrary. My position as mother is my most important duty and it’s certainly the absolutel best! In the world I am a CEO. As a CEO of a large organization it is imperative that people have different duties. I have 4 senior vice presidents that each do ENTIRELY different things. Some are overt leaders and some internal. Some seem to get more accolades from the world and others do not. None are subservient to another, but rather have different responsiblities to maintain order. I love my role as a wife and mother and find it exhilerating to to be a support to my husband as he is to me. I feel blessed that we complement each other so well. I personally do not feel a need to have an identical role as my husband and love watching my sons magnify their priesthood. I have faith in the leaders of the church and certianly beleive in continuing revelation, but for now I feel complete peace in the Lord’s guidance to the leaders of the church.

  146. Hi freethinker101,

    I apologize that you were born into a situation that so ill-served you.

    If you would like some additional fodder for thought, you might want to check out some of the posts in my A Faithful Joseph series that talk about the documented sexual deviants (not including Joseph, BTW) who were operating in Nauvoo. I’m not saying that it is impossible for Joseph to have been a deviant, but I invite you to consider the possibility that Joseph was trying to deal with a massively screwed up situation without exposing the individuals (victims and also misled individuals) to life-destroying public exposure. I haven’t recorded the posts dealing with admitted sexual coersion and venereal disease yet, but the links work.

    I will say I’m sorry your experiences have not included direct contact with deity. But to claim there is no God merely because you haven’t sighted Him/Her/It is a bold step that isnt logically sound. Impossible to prove a negative and all that. Those of us who claim to have experienced the divine might all be lying, of course. But we aren’t a rare breed, who claim to have experienced God. And I’m not just talking about Mormons.

    That said, some of the best people are those who, like you, think there is no one out there to “save” us. So my best wishes in your future as you work to make the world a better place in absence of hope for a glorious deus ex machina.

  147. When did the Priesthood become an ambition? When did callings become goals? The LDS church is a church that separates men and women distinctly, while holding their importance and power equal. The priesthood is a responsibility given to men. It does not add weights of importance to the male side of some imaginary scale. Men and women are equally important and are called to equally important callings and given equally important responsibilities to serve, not to govern. An aspiration to acquire the priesthood is an astonishingly profound misunderstanding about what the priesthood is. The priesthood is given, not acquired.

  148. Meg Stout –
    I was not implying that my childhood experience was horrible because of this. Simply that I grew up in a faithful & loyal family. I was a faithful young women who was beehive & laurel president, aseminary graduate, and attended BYU-Idaho. I never questioned anything because I trusted the priesthood holders in my life.
    But when questions I had could never be answered except with because that’s the Lords commandments or pray about it.
    That’s not ok to me..leaders of the church should KNOW because God speaks to them right?
    And God who is so loving and merciful allowed faithful jews to be captured & murdered in WW2. There is world poverty and innocent children being abused in every way by men in power. He does nothing to take care of his children. How is he so loving and merciful when all that seems to matter in ANY religion is that you follow him without question. Also the fact that He cares so much about his followers sexual habits is strange. That young men and women, and adults are suppose to confess theirs sexual sins to a bishop with absolutely NO education or training to be counseling people is wrong.
    And just because I don’t believe in deities doesn’t mean I believe no one will save us.
    Did it every occur to you that you have the power yourself? That the feeling and answers of the Holy Ghost is actually YOU!
    But religion wants you to think the ONLY way to be saved is through obedience and faith in something that has NEVER EVER been proved real. I mean when Gods were first worshipped it was how they explained natural disasters and they still thought the world was flat. We have come a long way and there is more evidence pointing that he doesn’t exist than he does.
    My entire point is if you have done full research, which means non church material & church material, and still found it to be 100% true..Good for you.
    But most memebers were born and raised, never questions, and blindly continue to follow because that’s what they have been raised to do..
    I find it incredibly sad that individuals are more content to use the arguement that it’s not your place to question the male leaders of the church because how can they not be right?
    We are taught that we know and have nothing if it weren’t for Him. That we as individual human beings aren’t capable of survival without the help of Him..
    Mostly that we are incapable of thinking for ourselves.

  149. Thank you so much for sharing this! It is exactly how I feel and what needs to be said! Thank you, thank you!!

  150. Freethinker 101, it is highly ironic that your viewpoints are the consensus view of your generation yet you think you are some kind of “free thinker.” You are simply parroting what most people in the wealthy North think these days when considering religion. There is not an original thought in your comments.

    If you really want to be a rebel, be a Mormon. Now, THAT is being a free thinker!

    You have to take your own road. Keep on reading and studying and hopefully praying to know the truth and hopefully good things will happen during your earthly journey. May the peace of the Savior find its way to you, especially as we are approaching Easter time.

  151. Geoff B –
    If it’s the same thoughts that many others have stated doesn’t that show that many others have come to the same conclusion as I have?
    Just like you are part of a history of people that are quoting the exact same thing that you’ve learned your entire life? Nothing you say is orginal either..only what you quote from a book that has no evidence, just stories. And from what the leaders of the church tell you.
    I’m not a rebel..and your comment about becoming mormon shows the condescending attitude that you possess believing you’re better than me because you do believe what others teach you instead of learning for yourself. And enjoy celebrating Easter that invloves a bunny that gives eggs, candy, and gifts along with worshipping the story of the resurrection of Christ who was murdered by religious fanatics because he was a fraud.
    Makes sense I guess.

  152. Hi freethinker101,

    I don’t think you read my post or you would have realized that I was questioning the gospel and everything for more than a decade before you were even born.

    As for there being more that indicates there is no God than that there is a God, it’s like saying “I just did 50 pregnancy tests, and most of them come out negative.” Sorry, but if a couple of dozen come out positive, you’re likely preggers, despite the couple of dozen that say nay.

    The standard religious answer, that God is omnipotent and omniscient, and merely deigns to leave us to suffer, is hard to accept. But the Mormon answer, that an omniscient and omnipotent God so respects us that He won’t force us, that this life is a time of testing to prove to ourselves, His literal spirit children, what we are, is a valid and powerful response. If there is evil and we had it in our power to stop it and we did not do so, then our agony at judgement will be such that we’ll wish we hadn’t existed. But the grace that is possible when we forgive one another and point out the glorious honor that happened despite the blackest of hateful evil is something not possible in a protected greenhouse-like world where all harm is kept at bay.

    I’m amused that you question why a deity would concern itself with sex. I remember times in my past when desire nearly caused me to overthrow everything in pursuit of a sweaty ten minutes between the sheets. Polyamory is something many who are young think is so cool, but from my perspective of years, honor is more powerful than having been continually titillated. Even if there were no God, this would be true.

  153. Yesterday, during Sacrament Meeting, two brand new 12 year-old Young Women spoke to us; teaching the doctrine of the gospel, reading scripture and sharing their beautiful testimonies. The Spirit was strong. The thought came to me that there aren’t too many churches out there that would allow time for their congregations to be taught by 12 year-old girls.

  154. Meg
    I’m not a child..I’m almost 28, have been married almost 7 yrs and have a child of my own.
    So assuming just because you’re older that you understand better than I do is ridiculous. I’m not ignorant to what LDS members believe..I’ve read the book of mormon, did all 4 years of seminary, and have lived in Utah County my entire life.
    And my entire family is still very faithful & active members.
    My comment about sexual activities is a valid point and had nothing to do about “giving in to a sweaty tumble in the sheets”…more in regards as to why individuals and couples sexual activites have anything to do with being a faithful follower of God? Sex is private and personal. And it has nothing to do with ones beliefs. Yet it’s something bishops and stake presidents etc have a right to judge and punish those who don’t follow Gods commandments about sex.

    In fact I use to think exactly like you do.

  155. It is always entertaining to hear from young people questioning the Gospel who have been raised in religious homes. They always have similar stories. They are “free thinkers” who are “rejecting the antiquated ideas of their parents.” They never stop to consider that this story has happened over and over again since the time that Cain rebelled against his parents. None of their ideas are original or new, they are all the same re-hashed arguments. Freethinker, I don’t know you but if you are honest with yourself you will realize you have some Mommy/Daddy issues and are rebelling against your past in the same way that literally billions of people have done before.

    The Holy Ghost gives you new ideas, truly original ways of thinking that have nothing to do with the tired old anti-religion arguments that have been used over the millennia. I predict you may find this out again later in life. Most rebels realize they are rebelling at some point and come home to the Truth. I hope this happens to you sooner rather than later Freethinker because there are years of suffering you could avoid — if you choose to make some change now.

  156. My current understanding of Priesthood in the Church is defined by Orders. There are three Orders of the Priesthood, that we know about: Patriarchal Order, Melchizedek Order, and Levitical Order, and only two are found in the Church: the Melchizedek Order, Levitical Order (D&C 107:1). As Elder Oaks taught in Conference, “All other authorities or offices in the church are appendages to this [the Melchizedek] priesthood” (D&C 107:5).

    The Levitical Order is the Order of Ministering Angels, who speak by the power of the Holy Ghost. This order holds keys for the physical ordinances of the gospel (D&C 107:14). The priesthood contains four offices: Bishop, Priest, Teacher, Deacon. “The power and authority of the lesser, or Aaronic Priesthood, is to hold the keys of the ministering of angels, and to administer in outward ordinances, the letter of the gospel, the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, agreeable to the covenants and commandments” (D&C 107:20).

    The Melchizedek Order is the “Holy Priesthood, after the Order of the Son of God. But out of respect or reverence to the name of the Supreme Being, to avoid the too frequent repetition of his name, they, the church, in ancient days, called that priesthood after Melchizedek, or the Melchizedek Priesthood” (D&C 107:3-4). Offices in the Melchizedek priesthood are: High Priest, Elder. “The Melchizedek Priesthood holds the right of presidency, and has power and authority over all the offices in the church in all ages of the world, to administer in spiritual things” (D&C 107:8).

    These are the two orders of the Priesthood that are active in the Church, and the two orders that are used in the Temple Initiatory and Endowment. The Melchizedek Order is the Order of Salvation, and in this Order are all of the ordinances required for salvation. “The order of this priesthood was confirmed to be handed down from father to son, and rightly belongs to the literal descendants of the chosen seed, to whom the promises were made. This order was instituted in the days of Adam,…” (D&C 107:40-41).

    The Patriarchal Order is the order of God the Father. The ordinances of this Order are found in the sealing of husband and wife, and of children to parents. “In the celestial glory there are three heavens or degrees; And in order to obtain the highest, a man must enter into this order of the priesthood [meaning the new and everlasting covenant of marriage]; And if he does not, he cannot obtain it. He may enter into the other, but that is the end of his kingdom; he cannot have an increase” (D&C 131:1-4). This is same for women. In the Temple, men and women enter into this Order when they are sealed, but the keys of this priesthood are not conferred upon them at that time. In the Temple, men and women are ordained “only to become such” if they are true and faithful to their covenants. I cannot and will not speculate how the keys of the Patriarchal Priesthood work or are distributed. Regardless, it is beyond the scope of this discussion because this Order of the priesthood is not used in Church Administration, but in Family administration.

    Elder Oaks’ talk in conference is doctrine which the Church has failed to fully teach, which is why he addressed it. I feel it is unfortunate that it has taken this process for the Church to more fully teach these doctrines. For me, understanding the difference between priesthood Keys, Authority, and Power is central to understanding how each member of the Church can access priesthood authority and power in her or his callings.

    A woman set apart as Relief Society President is authorized to use the keys of that office, which keys are held by the Bishop of the Ward. A man set apart as Elders Quorum President is authorized to use the keys of that office, which keys are held by the Stake President. The man does not have authority because he holds an office in the Melchizedek Priesthood and a woman does not lack authority because she is not.

  157. Geoff
    I am so glad you know my life story to assume that I have mommy/daddy issues and am simply being a rebellious child.
    That know it all and condemning attitude is why LDS members have such a bad rap. Thanks for continuing to show the christ like love for all his children.
    And saying a lifetime of suffering is in storecondescending, without the gospel really makes me laugh. Because the truth of it is my enternal suffering ended when I left the church. Life holds more meaning to me now than it did worrying about where I’d end up after I died. And I see what true beauty & evil looks like.
    But good try trying to scare or guilt me back into thinking I need an invisible God and the Holy Ghost to help me be a better moral person.
    Luckily I don’t need other people to help me know the difference between right and wrong, good and bad.

  158. Hi freethinker101,

    You write “In fact I use to think exactly like you do.”

    You have not studied my thinking. And it’s here on this site, so I invite you to read what I’ve written and tell me if you were ever taught these things. You were not. You could not have been. You grew up believing the sanitized hagiography. That is not what I believe. But no one else has written what I’ve been writing.

    I didn’t say you were a child. I just said that I was questioning everything, e.g., telling my seminary class that I had no testimony in the late 1970s, which would be about ten years before you were born.

    Imagine you are in a small town. You find out there are men seducing dozens of women in town. These men have attacked a 13-year-old girl. Several of these men are also infected with a venereal disease that causes miscarriages, infant death, and is highly contagious. For decades after this episode you are unsure whether the evil has completely been rooted out, so you exert strict oversight on everyone getting married. Time and again you uncover little bits of residual corruption. Decades later you find that one of your own highest officials has been continuing these sexual excesses under the presumption that “it ain’t sex if the girl can’t get pregnant.”

    This is the kind of milieu that helped form the current Mormon folkways regarding response to sexual activities outside the bounds of traditional marriage activity. There is sex that is private and personal (e.g., non-abusive sex between individuals who have covenanted before society to care for the products of their sexual activity) and then there is all the other sex (abusive, irresponsible wrt offspring, irresponsible wrt partners’ health). I don’t think it’s reasonable to claim that abusive, irresponsible sex should be accorded protection of being private and personal.

  159. Come on Geoff, you know that the peace in the Gospel is the effect of a frenzied mind; and this derangement of your mind comes because of the traditions of your fathers, which lead you away into a belief of things which are not so. I mean some random, anonymous 27 year old told you so. Must be right, huh?

  160. Freethinker, it seems pretty clear to me I hit close to home. Just remember that as you go through your life you can always come back to Christ. He is standing there with His arms open waiting for you. He has perfect love. I don’t claim to have that.

  161. I find this whole discussion very interesting and I have not determined exactly where I stand on the issue.

    What I do know: While I understand and even support some of the opinions of OW, I do not agree with their method of making their feelings known and don’t feel that we need to have priesthood ordination in order to achieve more equality. That being said, I don’t know what the best method is.
    I do know that some changes were and still are necessary to make women more equal in the church and that being ordained to the priesthood isn’t necessary to accomplish this. I rejoiced when a woman gave a prayer in General Conference. Do I think it was a coincidence that this happened at the same time that OW had become vocal? I do not. The same thing with changing where the women sit at General Conference and and the Women’s Session. While I would love to believe that everything that happens in the church is divinely inspired, I know that is not true. When it comes to many of the practical issues of running the church, I believe that the Lord gives us some autonomy to govern things with the intelligence that we have been blessed with. I also believe that unless someone speaks up to let priesthood leaders know how they feel, that necessary changes will not occur.
    Some other changes that I would like to see:
    – review of callings to determine if priesthood (or just being a male or female) is necessary to fill them (SS presidency, clerks, executive secretary, primary presidency are some that come to mind)
    – more prominence of women in General Conference (utilize the general auxiliary boards as well as the presidencies – especially board members who are not from Utah and can represent the members from around the world).
    – more prominence of articles written by female leaders in church magazines
    – more equalization of assignments: stop assuming that when refreshments are needed that you call the RS
    – more representation of sisters at leadership meetings (ward or stake council meeting is not enough in many cases – I have been a primary pres, YW pres and am currently RS pres so I speak with some experience) Many years ago we had a stake president that had a meeting he called Women’s Council. He was told he couldn’t continue it, but it was such a wonderful meeting. All 3 auxiliary presidents met with the Bishop/Stake President each month.

    The 2 auxiliary presidency members that had the most impact on me were Chieko Okazaki and Sheri Dew. Why was that? Because they showed me by who they were that an LDS woman can be strong, successful (and not just in motherhood!) and faithful. These are the examples that I want for myself and my daughters. Now if we could have more of these types of women (especially from around the world) on the general board we might see some of the changes that are necessary without priesthood ordination.

  162. Wow. You men are so superior to me! Closeminded, judgmental, arrogant pricks. The LDS church is so lucky to have you as members.
    And Geoff.. if He is real I bet he’s pretty disgusted with you, and what man has made and justified through Him. You haven’t said anything in regards to your beliefs…just told me that I am just a poor helpless soul.
    It’s ok..karmas a bitch. And anything you say or think is irrelevant to life. And once again comfirms how members of the church believe they are better.
    Meg- read your bio…just because you’re family history has interesting lines connecting back to Joseph Smith doesn’t validate anything. Or how that affect your thoughts about the church. My family traces back to indiviuals who were some of the first to reach Salt Lake to start getting it ready for the rest of the members. Big deal. I thought you meant some kind of hardship you endured growing up that you overcame to strengthen your belief.
    And I don’t know your thoughts..just like you don’t know mine.
    This is all off topic anyways..I simply was giving the OW a high five for being brave enough to make a statement.
    If you all feel ok assuming I’m going to hell for not believing..I feel ok telling you all that you’re adults with an imaginary friend who you rely on to guide you through your life.
    Which is ok..some people need others to tell them what to do. But luckily for me the power of knowledge isn’t going anywhere and as time passes religion will slowly disappear altogether.
    I commented for amusement and to see how rude/ insulting you’d become and you did exactly that.
    Thank you for confirming the stigma.

  163. I like what you said, Sherry. I think it would be great to take a closer look at some of the roles men and women currently have in the church and make them more equal. I, for one, think it would be great to not assume that the Elder’s Quorum is responsible for moving people in and out of the ward. My back hurts!! 🙂

  164. Wow. You men are so superior to me! Closeminded, judgmental, arrogant pricks.

    Res ipsa loquitur, I think . . .

    But luckily for me the power of knowledge isn’t going anywhere and as time passes religion will slowly disappear altogether.

    Yes, yes; the enlightened of the world have been proclaiming the end of monotheistic religion since Nebuchadnezzar sacked Jerusalem. You’ll pardon me if I don’t hold my breath.

  165. Freethinker, nice language! I am leaving it so people can get a view of a typical OW supporter. Yup, the OW movement is definitely supported by “faithful” (atheist) former latter-day Saints!

    Freethinker, you will look back at these types of exchanges with people later in life with a lot of embarrassment. That is OK — life is for learning and applying those lessons to the rest of the eternities.

  166. Sheri, totally agree with these suggestions:

    “- review of callings to determine if priesthood (or just being a male or female) is necessary to fill them (SS presidency, clerks, executive secretary, primary presidency are some that come to mind)
    – more prominence of women in General Conference (utilize the general auxiliary boards as well as the presidencies – especially board members who are not from Utah and can represent the members from around the world).
    – more prominence of articles written by female leaders in church magazines
    – more equalization of assignments: stop assuming that when refreshments are needed that you call the RS
    – more representation of sisters at leadership meetings (ward or stake council meeting is not enough in many cases – I have been a primary pres, YW pres and am currently RS pres so I speak with some experience) Many years ago we had a stake president that had a meeting he called Women’s Council. He was told he couldn’t continue it, but it was such a wonderful meeting. All 3 auxiliary presidents met with the Bishop/Stake President each month.”

  167. Freethinker, there is much that could be responded to in your post but I think I will leave it to others to say it. I will only state the obvious — the tone of your post demonstrates clearly that you have thus far not found peace in your life. Rather than peace, your post clearly demonstrates pain, for which I am sincerely sorry. The Gospel can offer rest and relief — I hope that you will rejoin us someday.

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