OW – “Conversation” Six

Ordain Women has finally posted their 6th discussion.  You may notice they did not call this one a discussion, but a conversation.  Clearly, their effort to make it seem like a missionary effort has backfired, and so are trying a different wording tactic.

They begin by quoting Mother Teresa, President Uchtdorf and Gandhi, in that order. I’m not certain whether they are trying to make General Authorities equivalent to other world leaders and opinion makers, so that we accept throw away statements from others as a form of higher revelation, or whether to lower the revelatory statements of General Authorities down to the levels of the world.  Either way, It is clear they are picking and choosing.  Mother Teresa never held the Catholic priesthood, never demanded it, never asked for it.  She just saw a great need for compassion and sought to fill it.  Clearly, OW’s interpretation of statements is to fill their need, whether they actually apply or not.

They launch into a list of “interim” solutions for the Church.  Some of these are things I agree with. I do not have a problem with a woman as stake Sunday School teacher, or young women performing as ushers.  However, this is very different from the demand they have previously given of full ordination to women.

Some of their demands go contrary to revelation:

Choosing a General Relief Society Presidency and General Board that reflect the diversity of viewpoint and circumstance in the Church, and establishing frequent meetings between the First Presidency and the General Relief Society Presidency

First, such callings are given by revelation, not by popular vote.  It is not an issue of making sure all political views are present, but that the sisters are worthy of the calling, and are called of God.  If God chooses to call nothing but liberals or nothing but conservatives, that is His call to make.  Can you imagine the Prophet, a stake president or bishop arguing with the Lord over a Relief Society President: “But Lord, you know it is only fair to select Sister Y, because our last one was a registered Republican!”

Given that 90% of members are against Ordain Women’s demands, what would it mean to reflect the diversity they seek?  On a Relief Society board of 12 sisters, ensure one is a liberal?

On the issue of changing disciplinary councils to include sisters, it would require a revelation.  It is not a half-measured step one can take. The Doctrine and Covenants explicitly states who is involved in a council, both on the ward and stake levels.  The same goes for the recommendations they give on changes in the temple endowment and sealing ceremony. Where processes and procedures are specifically stated in scripture and/or revelation, we cannot just ignore or change it on a whim.  There are several other “suggestions” they give which also cannot be done without a revelation, but are mixed in with some good suggestions of things that can be considered now.

The “conversation” then asks if it is okay to ask questions and discuss women’s issues in the Church.  They are correct that such can and should be discussed.  The problem with OW is they do not want a discussion unless the final decision includes full ordination of women to the priesthood.  Then it is no longer a discussion, but demands.  Discussions do not include boycotting, vigils, or marching protests at the Church’s Conference Center.  In other words, they say one thing in this conversation, but do something else entirely.

They show a LDS video on Esther, who stood up for her beliefs before the king, and then try to compare their efforts to those of Esther, asking their readers,

Can you recall a time you stood up for your beliefs?
Are there times when you felt you couldn’t? What
made the difference?

Standing up for one’s beliefs is very different from having a discussion or conversation regarding these issues.  To put Esther’s story in context with their story line, President Monson would be Haman, the person keeping them from having what they want!  But the stories conflict.  For Esther, it was an issue of protecting the lives of her people from an evil man, by appealing to the king who had the power to preserve life.  For OW, it is an issue of demanding authority which is not theirs to take, nor President Monson’s to give!

There are 10 suggestions on how to move the conversation along. Among these, we read, “Try to have conversations rather than debates.”  Clearly, Kate Kelly’s debate team has learned that they have lost much ground over the past couple months in pushing and shoving their way around the Church.  Changing their harsh discussions into conversations seem to show that OW is quickly revamping their strategy into something softer, gentler, and kinder.  Perhaps they want to remain viable without any more disciplinary hearings.  I hope so.

That this last discussion sounds more like something that would come from Mormon Women Stand than from Ordain Women, is very clear.  They have hit the brakes on their runaway train. The question will be whether this change in discourse is sincere, or just a subtle ploy to soften members’ hearts towards the group, only to later make bigger demands with a bigger group of followers?

Don’t be confused, the same people that started OW are the same ones running it now. Among the OW leaders noted in the conversation is Nadine Hansen, who wrote a lawyerly missive against the Church’s disciplinary council on Kate Kelly.  It remains to be seen whether this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or a repentant group.  I remain skeptical.


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About rameumptom

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

14 thoughts on “OW – “Conversation” Six

  1. “They begin by quoting Mother Teresa, President Uchtdorf and Gandhi, in that order.”

    Well now, we can’t possibly argue with sweet Mother Teresa now, right? (A point of extreme irony: I pretty much guarantee you that OW folk are 95% in favor of abortion rights, and Mother Teresa, bless her soul, was firmly against abortion.)

  2. I don’t see all that much contrast. The obvious focus is on polarizing opinions as a means to compromise our faith in Church leaders. We can already see where that path goes. Why should anyone pay any more attention to them now?

  3. They should just give it up, enough of the nonsense. Pride it’s a relentless thing, it makes people blind to the point where they don’t know when to quit.

  4. If they were repentant than they would take down and rework in a very serious manner, at the least, “Conversation” 5. The intermix of possible changes and requiring revelation to change (and the things that they did not include but could have) in this one (6) without 5 shows an incomplete understanding of some aspects of policy vs. doctrine; with 5 as it is though it appears very different and purposeful.

    In 5 they are claiming to already have the revelation, they are equating our priesthood with that of any other church, and they are claiming and demanding a very specific vision of what women ordination would look like given a revelation on the subject, one that is at odds even with what many women feel and have had personal revelation on the subject.

    Relabeling as a conversation works really well for some of the other ‘conversations’, but 5 isn’t remotely presented as a conversation on the topic, it is, even per its title, a vision of the future from those who are not appointed to be seers.

  5. The thing is … the sisters who serve in the General RS and on that board are so a-political. They ONLY have the Savior’s will and work in mind. When you hear them speak, or read their words, or have the chance to meet them, they just radiate Christ-like love. That’s where we should be tuning our antennae. Yes, we are individuals with different talents, abilities, problems and struggles, but there is ONE way that the Lord has provided to get back to him. That has nothing to do with diversity. We’re here to overcome, that’s it. And that applies to everyone, no matter what.

  6. I don’t believe that most people understand the word “conversation” in the same way as it is used by OW. Listening to Kate Kelly use the term, and her desire to have a “conversation” with the Church regarding her gospel of gender equity, she envisions a situation in which her views and thoughts are given equal weight to those of Pres. Monson. She complains that OW hasn’t been invited to have a conversation of equals with the Church.

    However, she cannot and will not have that conversation. This is not because of her gender, or because of her lack of priesthood authority. It is because she is not the prophet. She is not the equal of the prophet. Her thoughts and ways and lower than those of our Heavenly Father. There is no conversation of equals to have.

    By getting herself kicked out of the Church, she has made it impossible for her to truly have a conversation of equals with anyone still in the Church for the same reason.

  7. There was once a story of a king (Saul) who was told to do something. He was to kill a people (the Amalekites) and destroy their property. (c.f., 1 Samuel 15)

    As I recall, he did kill the people (except the king), but decided to keep the property, offering a portion of the spoils as sacrifice. And for this failure to exactly obey, he lost the support of the prophet, Samuel, and David was anointed ruler of Israel.

    By retooling the OW website to be less strident, those involved in the movement agitating for female ordination think they have made a great sacrifice. But they merely demonstrate that they continue to value their own judgement above the possible wisdom of those they claim to honor.

  8. Retitling as conversations does nothing to change the recruitment feel of these lessons.

    Information is presented in a way where the reader is supposed to come away feeling a certain way about the information presented the OW way to be exact.

    In listening to hours of podcast interviews of Kate Kelly it is clear she lacks essential doctrinal understanding and perspective on key topics, and if I had those views women’s ordination would seem logical to me too.

    The problem is their starting line is not in line with the correct course. There is a set path lined with a rod of iron OW seeks to establish a new path within arms reach of the rod, but such a course is destined only for sadness and failure

  9. I think the sudden change in Ordain Women is just another tactic, after all, you continue to see bitter diatribe and false teachings spewed by the leader Kate Kelly. She continues to use her self-sought attention to stare down the patriarchy and mock the Brethren. They are simply trying to soften their PR stance and soften their “tone” all the while underneath are the same beast. Same demands, same hatred of patriarchy and same bitterness and debating still goes on behind the scenes. They are now encouraging their followers to use testimony meetings to put forth their agendas because the say that they “can’t speak” any other way. Riiiiggght. Forgetting that there are dozens of auxiliary leaders and priesthood leaders in each ward and stake that could have addressed the issues and concerns at the VERY beginning of this Kate Kelly fiasco.

    What is curious to me is that Kate Kelly said that she never went to her bishop or stake president to address her questions regarding priesthood. In the mormon stories podcast (quite awful interview, to be frank) she instead says that the first time she had a conversation with her bishop was when she emailed him and the RS president to let them know what she just did as an FYI and gave them the link. She did NOT go through the channels and get her concerns addressed before doing so. What does this then lead us to believe about her and her followers’ end goals? Do the math.

  10. While it is true that callings come from revelation, having an open mind is important in considering people for callings. Keep in mind that (according to the chart in the handbook) a bishop cannot recommend someone to serve in RS or YW, he can only approve that calling.

    I was in a ward council a while back when they were trying to come up with a list of families that might be able to host out-of-town youth for a youth conference. I suggested that we ask some of the empty nest couples and widows. People said no, they wouldn’t want to have their serenity disrupted. I suggested that we let them make the decision, just asking couldn’t hurt. It ended up being a very positive thing. It turned out that one of the willing couples had been caterers prior to retirement, and they ended up doing one of the meals in addition to providing a place to sleep.

    So I do think that a wider consideration of all possiibilities for callings is a good thing and indeed sometimes lacking. Just because OW is wrong about some things does not mean that they don’t have some VERY good points about how things could be better for all of us.

    I am saddened at some of the harsh ridicule and mind-reading going on here. I don’t support OW but they are our sisters.

  11. Naismith, I agree there are some ways to change. In fact, I noted a few in my post (female Sunday School president, for one).

    However, I do not think we are “mind reading”. OW and Kate Kelly have been very clear from the onset of what they are doing. Their name “Ordain Women” and the statement that “anything less is not acceptable” clearly define what they seek. Their marches on General Conference, vigils in public parks, and their 6 Discussions all clearly show what is on their mind. Kate, her husband and Nadine all showed their hand in their letters to the bishop demanding Kate’s reinstatement into the Church.

    Yes, they are our sisters. Or should be. But, who has moved on this? Has the Church moved? Has it not made major progression towards giving women a greater voice and power in the Church? And which way has OW moved? It hasn’t. It continues its ploy, changing some terminology that they were using for political gain, but the demands haven’t changed. I wish Kate would repent and return. Instead, she sees herself a martyr for the cause of women’s liberation. She has chosen to separate herself from us, and not the other way around.

    We have a right to protect the Church from those who would attack it from without or within. The Church has said there’s nothing wrong with asking questions. There IS something wrong with demanding specific answers, and creating a protest movement. The group “Mormon Women Stand” also desires greater opportunities within the Church, yet are doing so without creating specific demands, protesting, or demeaning the Prophets and Apostles. They are being listened to. I know several of its proponents, and they are great examples of sisters in the Church, doing great work for God and his kingdom.

    If Kate is no longer a sister, it is because she has chosen to make the break, not us.

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