Next weekend, the LDS Conference Center will host its semiannual General Conference in this auditorium. Some women are petitioning to attend the all-male priesthood session on October 5.

Next weekend, the LDS Conference Center will host its semiannual General Conference in this auditorium. Some women are petitioning to attend the all-male priesthood session on October 5. (Shutterstock)

Yesterday the Deseret News ran an interesting story on the LDS Church‘s response to some Mormon feminists’ plan to gently petition for access to the October 5 priesthood session of General Conference, which throughout Mormon history has been open only to men. The article features a respectful and generally positive interview with Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly, emphasizing that she is an active member of the Church and a returned missionary. It contains a number of strong quotations from Kelly, who comes across as a thoughtful advocate, both passionate and compassionate:

“I respect and value the church and myself too much to be silent on this question. I truly believe that God wants us all to equally share the burdens and blessings of the priesthood. The ordination of women would put us all on equal spiritual footing with our brethren, and nothing less will suffice.”

But the article also emphasizes the hundreds of thousands of Mormon women who will watch women’s conference this weekend versus the possibly two hundred or so who will attempt to attend the men’s session the following Saturday. This has the effect of positioning the Ordain Women movement as an easily dismissed lunatic fringe, a tiny minority in a sea of otherwise satisfied women. This is echoed later in the story when my blog is quoted about sociological research that suggests that nine out of ten Mormon women say they do not wish to hold the priesthood.

There has been some rumbling online among Mormon women who are upset that the media would pay attention to those who believe that women should hold the priesthood. I am aware that the Ordain Women leaders have received some notes from women (and men) who have accused them of misrepresenting the faith. They fear that outsiders might assume that such views are normative for a majority of LDS women.

It’s not actually my job as a blogger to “represent” anyone’s views, or to be a spokesperson of any kind for the Church. I don’t speak for Mormon women; even some of my feminist Mormon friends don’t agree with me about ordination. And that is fine; I feel no burden to make other people accept my views, only to express what is on my own conscience.

And my conscience has told me for many years that Mormon women should have the priesthood, and someday will. Twenty years ago yesterday, I went down into the waters of baptism. I did so with some important questions still unanswered, including why women were not permitted to make (or even be consulted about) significant administrative decisions or to exercise ecclesiastical authority in my chosen faith. Those restrictions did not deter me from going where God had called me to go, but they caused me to pray long and hard about my baptism beforehand. One of the reasons I am a Mormon today is that I had a personal revelation that women will someday hold the priesthood.

That revelation came with an impression that women’s ordination would not occur during my lifetime. But even if that is true, it will not prevent me from making my feelings known on the subject, or from reminding the people I know of how much more healthy organizations are when men and women share the load equally. Part of the burden of theological agency is that we are called to always and ever contribute to a more just and equitable world, no matter how distant that world may seem. For me, justice happens when women are not simply told that they are special/wonderful/incredible/beautiful, but when they are entrusted with equal responsibility.

Other people’s agency will lead them in different directions. I respectfully disagree with Sister Burton’s assessment that what Mormon women really want are the “blessings” of the priesthood. “I think they are after the blessings,” she is quoted as saying. “And they are happy that they can access the blessings and power of the priesthood.” I feel that this approach ignores a basic truth of spiritual formation: the blessing is in the exercising. The real growth occurs from participating in spiritual work itself, in following the demands of God’s service. Sometimes that happens when we as individual children of God are the recipients of blessings. As I’ve discussed before on this blog, I have been privileged to receive priesthood blessings that have brought me great comfort and strength in dark times, for which I am grateful. Other growth happens when we are the instruments of blessing, not merely its recipients.

I don’t think that anyone is expecting radical or sudden change from the Church. I for one am surprised and heartened that it has opened up the priesthood session to the general public online, the first time the priesthood meeting has been open to women in any form.

I will continue loving and serving my Church in the ways that I can, without the priesthood, as part of the ten percent of Mormon women who are cheering for women’s ordination — a percentage that will grow over time. But I will also continue pointing out that the ordination of women is a glorious part of Mormonism’s future.

152 Comments

    • That is what I do. My husband is military and is gone all the time. I understand the power of prayer and that I don’t have to be ordained in order to call upon God’s mighty power, because it is already available to me. I have the ability to call on God’s power to bless my children with comfort or healing or whatever it is that they need.

      I thought Mormon women were supposed to be strong, but these so called, “feminist,” Mormon women are some of the biggest crybabies and whiners I have ever had the displeasure of associating with. Grow up already! Watch the priesthood session at home and just be grateful you can watch it in your underwear!

    • after reading several comments.. i’ve come to the conclusion you’re all retarded. if you can’t follow a notion as simple as follow the prophet, or pray and get guidance. clearly you’re doing something wrong. if you lack the intelligence to post a clearly written comment. I’m sure you’ll be fine. God loves his extra special ones too.

      • your intended message is lost because you start out by using “retarded” in a way that is offensive to far more than the 10%. come back on the anniversary and try again?

  1. As a lifelong Mormon woman, I don’t know if I want the priesthood. What I know I do want is the opportunity to have the priesthood. If/when that opportunity arises, I will do what my conscience and beliefs guide me to do. But I really want for that choice to be there.

      • Who is not to say that me wanting the opportunity to have the priesthood isn’t what the Lord wants? I have spent long hours in contemplation and prayer over this matter. The earnest desire to have the opportunity is what I am left with.

        I was asked to come teach the recent priesthood lesson in Relief Society, even though I am a Primary teacher. The member of the RS presidency is very familiar with my beliefs and issues in regards to the priesthood. She and I discuss them often. She told me that she was inspired to ask me to teach it, and when she prayed about it after the first inspiration, she got a stronger one that I was the one who needed to teach this lesson.

        I got two spend 2 weeks studying this matter, thinking about how to teach it, and what I should say. I spent a lot of time making sure that what I taught was doctrinal and not Clara’s opinion. In that time, I strongly felt that I am right to want the opportunity.

        I also strongly feel that the church needs the people who question and ask and seek as much as it needs those who have a firm faith and don’t question. I believe very deeply in our faith, otherwise I just wouldn’t care and want the opportunity.

        • Perhaps it IS what the Lord wants. The question for faithful Latter-day Saints is whether THEY want what the Lord wants, and on His timetable and in His way, regardless if it is in harmony or contrast to what we want, or perhaps something entirely different that we are even conceiving of now.

    • Amen! I feel the same way! And I cringe when I hear women belittle others for wanting this opportunity and say things like, “I don’t need more responsibility.” It implies we are not capable as women, and I think that is never the issue. I am unsure if and when I would need to hold the priesthood if given the chance…but I have always felt that women would receive it at some point…has to be part of the plan…

      • I’ve heard of mere mortal women having a “Superwoman” complex, but I’ve never heard of a similar “Superman” complex in men. And I still think fantastic Mormon women can put their energies to use in better ways.

  2. I seem to remember that my LDS religion uses the terminology “Kings and Queens, Priests and Priestesses” in certain sacred rights. While the full meaning of what these terms mean and how they are to be understood is full of debate and appologetics, the implication is one of equality and of authority. It also suggests that for now we “see through a glass darkly.”

  3. Mom and Dad had a few children.
    1st Born had an Infinite Burden.
    Those who are in the similitude of the 1st Born imitate.
    Mom and Dad are One in wisdom, love, power etc…
    They speak with ONE voice.
    Daughters and Sons must exercise Faith in the Lamb of God to find ONENESS.
    Do mountains move, the dead rise, the Holy Ghost conferred at the command of a daughter?
    Yes…
    1st Born was the least and servant of all….
    We are poor imitators….
    If filled with the Spirit of Truth don’t we all speak as If we were the Lamb of God?
    Servants to the daughters kissing their feet imitating the 1st Born is our joy.
    Oneness understood?
    Hardly a glimmer …….. Yet !

  4. I would imagine that for the overwhelming majority of faithful* Latter-day Saints it all comes down to one’s willingness to embrace the Lord’s vision for His church and His priesthood however He chooses to orchestrate it. That means that if the Lord has in mind to extend priesthood ordination to women and reveals such to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7), the faithful will embrace it. It conversely means that if the Lord does NOT have in mind to extend priesthood ordination to women, and does NOT reveal such to His servants the prophets, the faithful will embrace that as well.

    As disciples of Christ, we strive to develop the humility and strength to follow the example of the Savior, who in the throes of agony for our sake petitioned the Father that the bitter cup might be removed from Him, yet yielded to the Father, “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.”

    For some members of the church the question of a male priesthood is a bitter cup. They don’t understand why things ARE the way they are. They don’t believe that things will always BE the way that they now are. What distinguishes the faithful among this group is the willingness to accept and sustain those whom the Lord has called, humbly recognizing that despite their personal passions on the issue that it is entirely within the realm of possibility that they are the ones whose vision is limited by the constraints of the veil, and that when all is eventually revealed they will rejoice in whatever the Lord has in store.

    Kate Kelly is quoted as saing, “I truly believe that God wants us all to equally share the burdens and blessings of the priesthood. The ordination of women would put us all on equal spiritual footing with our brethren, and nothing less will suffice.”

    I have no problem with the first of the two sentences. It is an expression of opinion which does nothing to undermine the leadership of the church. And for all intents and purposes, I think it is inescapable that if we are making and keeping temple covenants, we all (male and female) share the burdens and blessings of the kingdom of God regardless of priesthood.

    The latter of the two sentences is another matter entirely. First of all, it is not the hands placed upon our heads but rather the room we place in our hearts for the Savior which determines our “spiritual footing.” For all intents and purposes there are many non-LDS whose spiritual footing rivals or exceeds that of many practicing Mormons regardless of gender. But more critically, the insistence with regard to female ordination that “nothing less will suffice” makes the bold presumption that “I am right, the prophets and apostles are wrong.” Of if they aren’t “wrong,” they are dreadfully “slow.”

    Such an attitude goes against the general position of faithful discipleship which should be willing to humbly embrace whatever the Lord has in mind for His kingdom regardless of our personal thoughts, wishes, and desires. And to the extent that someone takes this attitude a step further and seeks to rally others to the banner of “nothing less will suffice” versus “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done,” one is flirting dangerously with that other scarlet “A” word.

    With regard to some women’s desire to crash the General Priesthood Meeting, regardless of their professed intent to sit quietly and attentively rather than vocally manifest themselves in some form of protest during the proceedings, I would hope that cooler heads prevail and that they withdraw the attempt. For many men and boys, attending a General Priesthood Meeting in person is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, even as capacity has increased by moving from the cramped Tabernacle to the modern Conference Center. After all, the church could schedule the meeting at the football stadium of the University of Utah or Brigham Young University and STILL not meet demand for everyone desiring to attend in person. It would simply be inappropriate for one or more women to exclude fathers and/or sons from the Conference Center by occupying a seat that they could have enjoyed, just as it would be completely inappropriate for one or more men to occupy seats in the venue for the Young Women General Meeting as mothers and daughters are stranded outside. To be blunt, it’s classless.

    Jana writes, “I for one am surprised and heartened that it has opened up the priesthood session to the general public online, the first time the priesthood meeting has been open to women in any form.”

    If the OW movement wants to take credit for the live broadcast of the Priesthood Session being made available via BYU-TV and the internet, I suppose they’re welcome to do so, but it comes across as somewhat grasping for anything that can be claimed a victory regardless of the weight of their influence. (As opposed to the April 2013 conference where I have little doubt that raising the question of women praying at General Conferences did indeed make an impact, and one I think most members of the church embrace as a welcome development regardless of their opinions on priesthood ordination.)

    The church’s own press release put it this way: “As part of a continued effort to make general conference proceedings more accessible to members around the globe, the priesthood session will be shown live for the first time through expanded channels, including LDS.org, the Mormon Channel and BYUtv.”

    As one who has lived overseas, I know first-hand how much our LDS brothers and sisters yearn to participate live in the conferences of the church, even if it means waking up at insane hours and huddling around a laptop computer. And they do it whether or not their English is flawless or marginal, because they want to hear the voices of the living prophets and apostles in unity with their fellow Saints around the globe. I sense this development was on the drawing board long before anyone at OW let it be known that they wanted to attend the Priesthood Session of conference.

    As for whether this is truly “the first time the priesthood meeting has been open to women in any form,” I consider that a major stretch. After all, the church has been making the transcripts of the Priesthood sessions of conference available since the beginning of publishing the Conference Report as best as I know. LDS.org provides the transcripts (and now in many cases video) of these sessions going back to 1971. The Priesthood sessions have been available on DVD and VHS for a very long time. And in the past many years it has all been available at LDS.org within days of the live broadcast. So it’s a bit disingenuous to claim that this is really “the first time the priesthood meeting has been open to women in any form.” The closest one can get is to say that it is the first time it has been open to women to view in real-time. And for those women who have an interest in doing so, they’ll certainly benefit from the teachings presented, just as I have been benefited from watching the Young Women and Relief Society broadcasts over the years.

    Although this change will make it possible for more brethren in North America to participate from their homes rather than their local satellite-equipped chapels, I hope that most opt to continue meeting together anyway. (After all, the Young Women and Relief Society are likewise encouraged to participate together for their meetings at church as well.) Besides, many of us have post-conference traditions to uphold ranging from ice cream to my own ward’s “Manrichment” tradition of going out for BBQ or other savory foods afterward.

    *Everyone has their own interpretation of what constitutes “faithful.” For the sake of my generalization, I define it as those who can either answer affirmatively to the questions of a temple recommend interview, or to the extent that one is working on overcoming certain matters pertaining to worthiness can still positively affirm the truthfulness of the interview questions pertaining to such things as having faith in and a testimony of the Godhead, the Atonement of Christ, the Restoration of the Gospel, sustaining the President of the Church as the Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and the only person on earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys, and otherwise sustaining the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators.

    Going back to my previous remarks about the quote attributed to Kate Kelly, one should seriously contemplate whether the attitude of “nothing less will suffice” is in harmony with whether people “support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”

    Personally, I would be wary.

    • Tom W, I stopped reading your opinion when you decided to take the role of judge, and put an asterisk next to the word faithful. I only need one judge, and it is not you.

      Janna, wonderful post.

    • Tom W- Very well said. You thoroughly addressed the most important aspects of this issue in a clear, concise, and respectful manner. I believe you’ve left nothing unsaid. I most especially appreciate the very last portion of your comment. This, I believe, is the most troubling side of the OW movement. We each have a responsibility to approach the Lord on behalf of ourselves and those we have stewardship over. However, an established movement that is openly (even peacefully) in opposition to the means of organization of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is, essentially, opposed to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. While I want nothing more than to be respectful, kind, and open…I must also stand firm on this matter and make it very clear about where I stand. I have love, compassion, empathy, and respect for the women in my life who are part of the OW movement. However I do not agree with them or their cause. Thank you, Tom, for your very thoughtful and meaningful contribution

    • If anything less would suffice, A woman wouldn’t put her hands on my head in the temple and say, “Having authority…”
      The Kingdom of God is like an unjust judge who wouldn’t hear a widow’s petition accept that she kept petitioning. What does seek and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you mean if not to DO those very things?
      Christ did not suffer so that I would have a free pass to let the vain traditions of my fathers do my thinking for me.

    • the lds church is a farse.theres nothing true about it that’s why so many people are leaving every year cause they find out that its all made up to get your money and control your life..there about 4 million members the rest of the count is dead or left the church ..but there still counted till there 110 years old evan if they have there names removed or been excamunicated or died they still are counted as active members of thje cult

      • Fred,
        More people are likely to listen to you and not think you are a kook if you use proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar. There are several online checkers you can use. I’ll be more than happy to provide you with some links, if you would like.

        Cheers.

          • This is very true. I was trying to be nice to him though, something that runs contrary to my nature.

    • Kathy Scoffield

      Tom – perfectly said! wholeheartedly agree with you. I am so baffled by this movement and disheartened by the way it is being portrayed in the media.

    • TOM W: “I would imagine that for the overwhelming majority of faithful* Latter-day Saints it all comes down to one’s willingness to embrace the Lord’s vision for His church and His priesthood however He chooses to orchestrate it. That means that if the Lord has in mind to extend priesthood ordination to women and reveals such to His servants the prophets (Amos 3:7), the faithful will embrace it. It conversely means that if the Lord does NOT have in mind to extend priesthood ordination to women, and does NOT reveal such to His servants the prophets, the faithful will embrace that as well.”

      Indeed. Which is why Ordain Women is respectfully petitioning that the leadership of the LDS Church petition the Lord on these matters.

      TOM W: “As disciples of Christ, we strive to develop the humility and strength to follow the example of the Savior, who in the throes of agony for our sake petitioned the Father that the bitter cup might be removed from Him, yet yielded to the Father, “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
      For some members of the church the question of a male priesthood is a bitter cup. They don’t understand why things ARE the way they are.”

      And there are some who unequivocally believe they do know. They believe that this is the way God set it up, when there is NO evidence to back up that belief. They believe that because their male leaders believe and have reinforced that it is so, then it is so, and they do so despite all evidence to the contrary. They have never asked the question or researched the history. They have accepted the status quo without question. And they are happy to do so and criticize anyone who is not. For a better look at how we arrived at where we are now, please see Joanna Brooks blog “Ask Mormon Girl” for a careful historical examination of issues of women and the priesthood.

      TOM W: “They don’t believe that things will always BE the way that they now are.“

      In a church of continual revelation, I would say that would make sense. Wouldn’t you? McConkie stated plainly that the blacks would never receive the priesthood. When that changed, he stated plainly that they were wrong, and had been working with limited light and knowledge.

      TOM W: “What distinguishes the faithful among this group is the willingness to accept and sustain those whom the Lord has called, humbly recognizing that despite their personal passions on the issue that it is entirely within the realm of possibility that they are the ones whose vision is limited by the constraints of the veil, and that when all is eventually revealed they will rejoice in whatever the Lord has in store.”

      Are you making the assumption that anyone who supports Ordain Women is 100% confident that their view is right, and the current leadership and majority of the general membership of the LDS Church is not? And if so, are you on board with the idea that the converse true, as well?

      TOM W: “Kate Kelly is quoted as saing, “I truly believe that God wants us all to equally share the burdens and blessings of the priesthood. The ordination of women would put us all on equal spiritual footing with our brethren, and nothing less will suffice.”
      I have no problem with the first of the two sentences. It is an expression of opinion which does nothing to undermine the leadership of the church. And for all intents and purposes, I think it is inescapable that if we are making and keeping temple covenants, we all (male and female) share the burdens and blessings of the kingdom of God regardless of priesthood.
      The latter of the two sentences is another matter entirely. First of all, it is not the hands placed upon our heads but rather the room we place in our hearts for the Savior which determines our “spiritual footing.” For all intents and purposes there are many non-LDS whose spiritual footing rivals or exceeds that of many practicing Mormons regardless of gender. But more critically, the insistence with regard to female ordination that “nothing less will suffice” makes the bold presumption that “I am right, the prophets and apostles are wrong.” Of if they aren’t “wrong,” they are dreadfully “slow.” “

      I’m not so sure, TOM W. It sounds like you are telling Sister Kelly what she means. You are expressing your definition of spiritual footing, not exactly a concrete term, as a means to “correct” Sister Kelly. Then you presume what she means by “nothing less will suffice”. Is that what you want to do here?

      TOM W: “Such an attitude goes against the general position of faithful discipleship which should be willing to humbly embrace whatever the Lord has in mind for His kingdom regardless of our personal thoughts, wishes, and desires. And to the extent that someone takes this attitude a step further and seeks to rally others to the banner of “nothing less will suffice” versus “nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done,” one is flirting dangerously with that other scarlet “A” word.”

      That is one way to look at *your* conclusion. What about interfering social and cultural biases that manifest because of deeply held sociological assumptions that get in the way of our spiritual understanding, when we don’t even know it? Does that flirt with the “A” word? Or is human frailty so easily forgivable, even if it affects, hurts, oppresses, and damages others? Are we all really so sure of our knowledge and abilities to discern that our human understanding and limitations could never possibly get in the way? Have you ever had an answer to prayer that you thought meant one thing, only to come to find out the Lord intended something else entirely for you later on, down the line? How often do we tell God what He means, only to find out He meant something else entirely?

      TOM W: “With regard to some women’s desire to crash the General Priesthood Meeting, regardless of their professed intent to sit quietly and attentively rather than vocally manifest themselves in some form of protest during the proceedings, I would hope that cooler heads prevail and that they withdraw the attempt. For many men and boys, attending a General Priesthood Meeting in person is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, even as capacity has increased by moving from the cramped Tabernacle to the modern Conference Center. After all, the church could schedule the meeting at the football stadium of the University of Utah or Brigham Young University and STILL not meet demand for everyone desiring to attend in person. It would simply be inappropriate for one or more women to exclude fathers and/or sons from the Conference Center by occupying a seat that they could have enjoyed, just as it would be completely inappropriate for one or more men to occupy seats in the venue for the Young Women General Meeting as mothers and daughters are stranded outside. To be blunt, it’s classless.”

      No one is crashing anything, Tom W. That is another assumption and interpretation of yours as to what OW is all about. Somewhere along the line, by yourself or other sources, you have been misled. Additionally, are you aware of the men who do attend, or operate tech, or keynote speak, at both the RS and YW Conferences? They are always there. Is that classless? Are they taking seats away from women? Are you aware that no women operate tech (even though some do at the other sessions), or speak at the Priesthood conference? I suppose it is possible that you may think the whole idea is silly, to have a women speak, much less be the keynote speaker, to the Priesthood ordained. How is it not equally silly to have men tell women “how things are” at the RS and YW sessions? How could they possibly relate to the experience of a woman in the LDS faith? Would it not make more sense to have the women of the church leadership be the keynote speakers to the women of the church? And if you have answers to that question that make sense to you, how do your answers not apply, then, to women speaking at Priesthood session?

      TOM W: “Jana writes, “I for one am surprised and heartened that it has opened up the priesthood session to the general public online, the first time the priesthood meeting has been open to women in any form.”
      If the OW movement wants to take credit for the live broadcast of the Priesthood Session being made available via BYU-TV and the internet, I suppose they’re welcome to do so, but it comes across as somewhat grasping for anything that can be claimed a victory regardless of the weight of their influence. (As opposed to the April 2013 conference where I have little doubt that raising the question of women praying at General Conferences did indeed make an impact, and one I think most members of the church embrace as a welcome development regardless of their opinions on priesthood ordination.)”

      Actually, Tom W, it was reported that the decision to have women pray at the last GC even before Mormon Feminists formed the “Let Women Pray” campaign. This has been quite heartening to most of us, as we feel we are indeed in line with what the Lord wants for us.
      It would make sense that “allowing” a woman to pray in GC would be much more palatable to some than the idea of a woman ordained to the priesthood, as women have been praying in prominent church meetings, such as sacrament meeting, (though only for about 40 years now.) But, it does sound very condescending the way you have said, “I suppose they’re welcome to do so, but it comes across as somewhat grasping for anything that can be claimed a victory regardless of the weight of their influence”. If the OW movement were to actually affect change, supported by God and the Brethren, without your minimization of the resulting effect, what would that mean to your personal view of this subject? Would you be able to handle it? As humbly as you claim the *faithful should?
      I personally think the live broadcast solution is an insult, a deflect, a patronizing consolation, as well as an attempt placate in effort to shut down the conversation. It saddens me.

      TOM W: “The church’s own press release put it this way: “As part of a continued effort to make general conference proceedings more accessible to members around the globe, the priesthood session will be shown live for the first time through expanded channels, including LDS.org, the Mormon Channel and BYUtv.”
      As one who has lived overseas, I know first-hand how much our LDS brothers and sisters yearn to participate live in the conferences of the church, even if it means waking up at insane hours and huddling around a laptop computer. And they do it whether or not their English is flawless or marginal, because they want to hear the voices of the living prophets and apostles in unity with their fellow Saints around the globe. I sense this development was on the drawing board long before anyone at OW let it be known that they wanted to attend the Priesthood Session of conference.
      As for whether this is truly “the first time the priesthood meeting has been open to women in any form,” I consider that a major stretch. After all, the church has been making the transcripts of the Priesthood sessions of conference available since the beginning of publishing the Conference Report as best as I know. LDS.org provides the transcripts (and now in many cases video) of these sessions going back to 1971. The Priesthood sessions have been available on DVD and VHS for a very long time. And in the past many years it has all been available at LDS.org within days of the live broadcast. So it’s a bit disingenuous to claim that this is really “the first time the priesthood meeting has been open to women in any form.” The closest one can get is to say that it is the first time it has been open to women to view in real-time. And for those women who have an interest in doing so, they’ll certainly benefit from the teachings presented, just as I have been benefited from watching the Young Women and Relief Society broadcasts over the years.”

      If your sense is correct, (and wouldn’t it need to be to continue to maintain your assumptions that the feminists are unfaithful and grasping?) then once again, we are grateful to seemingly be on the same page as the Lord and the leaders of the LDS Church. And, I am again troubled by your continued minimization of the issues and insistence that anyone other than those who attend the conference *should* be satisfied that they get the information in the form of sloppy seconds. Just because the information is made available later to everyone does not make the claim “the first time the priesthood meeting has been open to women in any form” inaccurate. No woman, in any capacity, (with the exception of one female speaker many years ago) has ever had the priesthood session available to her in the same form and at the same time as it is to the men. Ever. You can pretend that communicates nothing, but it is simply not so. And, not only were the women excluded, that also applied to any male who was not able to attend the session when delivered in real time. That also carried a message of exclusion, (and occasionally an assumption of unworthiness or laziness or lack of priorities on the part of said male) whether or not intended. This live broadcast is good news for all who have been excluded from the first delivery until now.

      TOM W: “Although this change will make it possible for more brethren in North America to participate from their homes rather than their local satellite-equipped chapels, I hope that most opt to continue meeting together anyway. (After all, the Young Women and Relief Society are likewise encouraged to participate together for their meetings at church as well.) Besides, many of us have post-conference traditions to uphold ranging from ice cream to my own ward’s “Manrichment” tradition of going out for BBQ or other savory foods afterward.
      *Everyone has their own interpretation of what constitutes “faithful.” For the sake of my generalization, I define it as those who can either answer affirmatively to the questions of a temple recommend interview, or to the extent that one is working on overcoming certain matters pertaining to worthiness can still positively affirm the truthfulness of the interview questions pertaining to such things as having faith in and a testimony of the Godhead, the Atonement of Christ, the Restoration of the Gospel, sustaining the President of the Church as the Prophet, Seer, Revelator, and the only person on earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys, and otherwise sustaining the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators.
      Going back to my previous remarks about the quote attributed to Kate Kelly, one should seriously contemplate whether the attitude of “nothing less will suffice” is in harmony with whether people “support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.”
      Personally, I would be wary.”

      I find it interesting that you change the word that I assume was Enrichment (with connotation to the activities of the RS) to “Manrichment”. I know many women who enjoy BBQ and other savory foods, and many men who use the term enrichment on a regular basis. What is your motivation here?
      As to Sister Kelly’s comment about how “nothing less will suffice,” as a fellow feminist and aspiring feminist scholar, I would respectfully disagree with the reasons you present as to why Sister Kelly spoke as she did. As Sister Reiss has pointed out in her post,
      When “women are not simply told that they are special/wonderful/incredible/beautiful, but . . . are entrusted with equal responsibility” we are not denied the opportunity for lived experience, for which nothing else can suffice. (We listen to what you DO, not what you SAY, see?) Jana also said excluding women from priesthood service “ignores a basic truth of spiritual formation: the blessing is in the exercising. The real growth occurs from participating in spiritual work itself, in following the demands of God’s service.”
      There are some things you just can’t know any other way than through doing. Or living. In a word: experiencing. It just isn’t possible. It’s empirically true, not subjectively true as you suggest. It is what it is. Nothing else will suffice because it can’t, not because we choose it to be so. I view Sister Kelly’s statement that “nothing else will suffice” as fact. Not mere opinion.

      Tom W, while your response is well thought out and comprehensive, it is lacking in understanding of the basic issues and purposes of the OW movement and replete with faulty assumptions. I respectfully invite you to spend more time listening before you continue making these same tired accusations and assumptions. It is part of the humility you so aptly promote in your response. As one imperfect human to another, I highly recommend it.

      • Kristine, you write: “Ordain Women is respectfully petitioning that the leadership of the LDS Church petition the Lord on these matters.”

        I don’t think anyone has a problem with asking the question. The bigger question is how the petitioners move forward if the answer doesn’t affirm their desires.

        The insistence that “nothing less will suffice” suggests that the agitation continues if the Lord doesn’t prompt His servants to act in accordance with their predetermined correct outcome. And if this is the case, what does the organization do? If it continues to publicly agitate on the matter, essentially proclaiming that the Lord’s anointed aren’t channeling God properly, and continue to seek popular support to their cause against the leadership of the church, at what point have they crossed into open rebellion and apostasy?

        Personally the ONLY thing I care about is that the Lord’s will be done. While from a theological perspective, taking into account everything that has been taught thus far on the matter, I do not believe ordaining women to the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood orders is going to happen, I have absolutely no vested interest in maintaining the status quo either. It’s not my church. I only want what He wants, trusting in His infinite wisdom and knowledge while recognizing my immense personal imperfection and unworthiness to suggest a course other than what He has restored through his chosen servants.

        Kristine, you write: “For a better look at how we arrived at where we are now, please see Joanna Brooks blog ‘Ask Mormon Girl’ for a careful historical examination of issues of women and the priesthood.”

        I am quite familiar with Sister Brooks’ writings. I’m also familiar with her television appearances. But she doesn’t speak for the church.

        You argue that Elder Bruce R. McConkie “stated plainly that they were wrong, and had been working with limited light and knowledge.”

        This is true, which is why I make no claims as to what the Lord may choose in His good time to reveal. I’m good with His administration of the kingdom no matter how He chooses to roll things out, and regardless if He reveals things which are in harmony with or in contrast to my personal desires. How about you?

        Kristine, you ask, “Are you making the assumption that anyone who supports Ordain Women is 100% confident that their view is right, and the current leadership and majority of the general membership of the LDS Church is not? And if so, are you on board with the idea that the converse true, as well?”

        I would imagine that most Latter-day Saints who would go so far as to formally align with Ordain Women probably believe that they are right and that the leadership of the church has failed to properly petition Heavenly Father to receive the answer which they have predetermined to be correct (“nothing less will suffice”). Conversely, I do not believe that supporting the leadership of the church necessarily says anything about faithful Latter-day Saints other than that they respect the channels by which Heavenly Father reveals His will, and strive to follow that road wherever it may lead.

        Kristine, you continue: “It sounds like you are telling Sister Kelly what she means. You are expressing your definition of spiritual footing, not exactly a concrete term, as a means to ‘correct’ Sister Kelly. Then you presume what she means by ‘nothing less will suffice’. Is that what you want to do here?”

        Yes. Thank you for asking.

        You write, “What about interfering social and cultural biases that manifest because of deeply held sociological assumptions that get in the way of our spiritual understanding, when we don’t even know it?”

        Fortunately this is the Lord’s restored church, not a UC Berkeley Sociology class.

        Kristine, you ask, “I suppose it is possible that you may think the whole idea is silly, to have a women speak, much less be the keynote speaker, to the Priesthood ordained. How is it not equally silly to have men tell women “how things are” at the RS and YW sessions? How could they possibly relate to the experience of a woman in the LDS faith?”

        Why would you assume that I, or any other priesthood holder, would consider it silly if a woman were to speak at the Priesthood Session of General Conference? My attitude would be that there must be something very important that Heavenly Father wants me to learn from her, particularly if she were to be assigned to be the keynote speaker. And especially in our day we have been blessed with phenomenal sisters in the church such as Sheri Dew, Julie Beck, Elaine Dalton, and others who I know that the Lord prepared and called to build the kingdom. It would never occur to me to ask, “How could they possibly relate to the experience of a man in the LDS faith?” What matters is that the Lord has chosen whom He has chosen to share a message with us, regardless of the target audience, and it would be wise to listen intently and contemplate how to incorporate their words into our lives.

        You write, “Actually, Tom W, it was reported that the decision to have women pray at the last GC even before Mormon Feminists formed the ‘Let Women Pray’ campaign.”

        So I throw them a bone, and this is the thanks I get? ;o)

        If I sounded condescending with regard to the credit OW is taking for the decision on the priesthood broadcast, perhaps it is in proportion to the seeming absurdity of taking credit for it in the first place.

        You continue, “I personally think the live broadcast solution is an insult, a deflect, a patronizing consolation, as well as an attempt placate in effort to shut down the conversation. It saddens me.”

        To be a patronizing consolation, it would first have to be about you in the first place. Be happy, in all probability you were not being insulted.

        Without quoting you further, your comment involving the word “sloppy” was simply vulgar and unbecoming someone who seems so zealous about receiving the priesthood. If a brother in my midst were to invoke such phraseology in any context, we’d probably have a little discussion about it.

        With regard to the term “Manrichment,” I didn’t coin it. But I’m sure the term came about void of any ill intent. For decades the women of the church have frequently gathered for fellowship and food as part of their Homemaking or Enrichment evenings. The men really don’t have too many activities that they do purely on their own. (If you ever want to be entertained, see if you can find out the difference between the Relief Society budget in your ward and the EQ/HP budgets. It’s not even close.) As a means of enticing some of the men to attend the Priesthood Session of General Conference, we packaged it with a fun guys-night-out social. (Not part of the ward budget, we pay out of pocket.) It strengthens our bonds with each other and involves the youth with some of the older guys. I’m sure most sisters would be supportive of the endeavor.

        In conclusion (cue applause from the few remaining souls), Kristine writes, “Tom W, while your response is well thought out and comprehensive, it is lacking in understanding of the basic issues and purposes of the OW movement and replete with faulty assumptions. I respectfully invite you to spend more time listening before you continue making these same tired accusations and assumptions. It is part of the humility you so aptly promote in your response. As one imperfect human to another, I highly recommend it.”

        I am intrigued by the assumption that not agreeing with certain people on this topic must need be the result of a lack of understanding, faulty assumptions, and inadequate listening time. If anything, my response is the result of extensive reading, letting the people I disagree with speak for themselves, and paying quite a bit of attention.

        My conviction from the beginning is that faithful Latter-day Saints should be willing to accept the Lord’s kingdom on His terms, invoking the attitude of “Thy will, not mine, be done.” It means acceptance that the Lord’s way may be outright the opposite of what a person may hope and desire (our mortal limitations playing a role in perhaps hoping and desiring the wrong things, not realizing how much greater is in store in the Lord’s due time). If this is, in fact, the attitude of OW, then good on ya! But please forgive me if the attitude I have largely observed from those agitating in favor of female priesthood ordination doesn’t suggest a sincere expression of confidence and trust in those we believe the Lord has called to guide us in these latter days. What I have observed is manifestly the opposite.

        • TomW: “I don’t think anyone has a problem with asking the question. The bigger question is how the petitioners move forward if the answer doesn’t affirm their desires.”

          I think many are unaware that OW is asking for the leadership to ask. Many claim and assume OW is making demands, not petitions, and most do not understand why. Just the comments on this thread demonstrate as much. While my comments here are in response to you directly, they also concerned with anyone who might possibly take the time to read this comment section. Your comments represent, IMHO, the common consensus of those (not peacefully or respectfully) opposed to OW. And historically, methods of social change (activism) are offensive to common Mormon sensibilities ingrained in LDS Church culture, e.g., the myth that disagreement = contention = loss of the spirit = contrary to God’s will. This leads to sensemaking (drawing on familiar structures and patterns of thought to make sense of new information.) As a result, it is difficult for many, if not most, to view the activities of OW as anything but contrary to God’s will. It takes unlearning habitual thinking structures to get past these types of assumptions, and that takes time and LISTENING. For a crash course, an intense lived experience (ie: trial) can teach you that everything you once thought was true was not, or that what you’ve been hearing all along just doesn’t jive. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have such an experience.

          TomW: “The insistence that “nothing less will suffice” suggests that the agitation continues if the Lord doesn’t prompt His servants to act in accordance with their predetermined correct outcome. And if this is the case, what does the organization do? If it continues to publicly agitate on the matter, essentially proclaiming that the Lord’s anointed aren’t channeling God properly, and continue to seek popular support to their cause against the leadership of the church, at what point have they crossed into open rebellion and apostasy?”

          That is simply untrue. From what I can tell, you are taking matters to what you perceive to be a logical conclusion, but it is all based on your personal assumptions as well as other deeply held Mormon cultural assumptions. (Too many to get into here.) None of that is empirical truth. No one has a “predetermined correct outcome.” And your flippant summary of the issues does nothing but minimize the situation. Again. No one is seeking popular support. This is not some “let me see who I can please” fest. This is deeply, deeply important to many men and women for diverse and complex reasons. What the Church has done in the past when “agitators” get in their way has simply been to excommunicate. OW is no threat to the Church or its members. It is the other way around. As much as OW may be in danger of “open rebellion and apostasy,” those on the opposite side are in as much danger of equally unrighteous Pharisaical behavior. We all do our best to follow what we believe. We all do our best to correct ourselves when we make mistakes. And we all depend on God’s grace along the way.

          TomW: “Personally the ONLY thing I care about is that the Lord’s will be done. While from a theological perspective, taking into account everything that has been taught thus far on the matter, I do not believe ordaining women to the Aaronic or Melchizedek Priesthood orders is going to happen, I have absolutely no vested interest in maintaining the status quo either. It’s not my church. I only want what He wants, trusting in His infinite wisdom and knowledge while recognizing my immense personal imperfection and unworthiness to suggest a course other than what He has restored through his chosen servants.”

          And this is why I brought up the quote about Spencer W. Kimball and the ability to imagine. What bothers me is that you seem so sure you know what that will is, or that you are so sure no one involved in OW does, and that you so quickly dismiss the history of man’s ideas that have taken us to such a conclusion, and without hesitation attribute them to God because you believe “a prophet said so, that’s why.” How many times have the prophets been wrong, and for what reasons? And when they figure it out, is an apology due? Do they have special exemption from such things because of the office they hold in the Church? How is that helpful to them personally, or the Church as a whole? Do as I say, not as I do? Does Prophet, Seer and Revelator = even though not infallible, no accountability necessary for mistakes?

          TomW: “I am quite familiar with Sister Brooks’ writings. I’m also familiar with her television appearances. But she doesn’t speak for the church.”

          There is a very logical and pragmatic explanation as to why things are as they are regarding women and the priesthood in the LDS Church. Despite popular commentary, the reasons are not, in fact, doctrinal, and they are not, in fact, prophetic. (This is the main reason why it is so confusing when people shout, “This is how the Lord set it up!”) Joanna Brooks outlines this quite cogently. I did not claim that Sister Brooks spoke for the church. She does not claim that she speaks for the church. I’m not sure of your point here.

          TomW: “You argue that Elder Bruce R. McConkie “stated plainly that they were wrong, and had been working with limited light and knowledge.”

          This is true, which is why I make no claims as to what the Lord may choose in His good time to reveal. I’m good with His administration of the kingdom no matter how He chooses to roll things out, and regardless if He reveals things which are in harmony with or in contrast to my personal desires. How about you?”

          How about me? (Condescending much?) I absolutely agree. The difference is that I don’t think He has the influence and input you seem to be attributing to Him, (not His fault, obviously) and I think that’s okay, that it’s good, and that is very probably the point. I’m not convinced that the Church is, or ever was intended to be what mainstream Mormonism says it is. I think the LDS Church is probably doing the best it can, and that it is every bit a satisfactory offering it to God, but it is an offering of its best, not an absolute execution of God’s Will, because that would rob all of too many opportunities. But then again, I might just be sensemaking the disparities I see between what I was taught about prophets and what I actually experience. I think the biggest problem is that we generally give the leaders too much credit for God’s work when it’s their work, and so when we question it, it is as though we are questioning God. Not so.

          Tom W: “I would imagine that most Latter-day Saints who would go so far as to formally align with Ordain Women probably believe that they are right and that the leadership of the church has failed to properly petition Heavenly Father to receive the answer which they have predetermined to be correct (“nothing less will suffice”). Conversely, I do not believe that supporting the leadership of the church necessarily says anything about faithful Latter-day Saints other than that they respect the channels by which Heavenly Father reveals His will, and strive to follow that road wherever it may lead.”

          Would you have said the same about those who agitated for change regarding blacks and the priesthood? Of those who submitted ideas to the leadership that eventually became what we now know as Sunday School program, regarded as “inspired”? To Emma when she suggested to Joseph that tobacco might be harmful? Contrary to popular belief, this is how change traditionally happens in the Church. But you know that, based on all that you’ve stated you’ve read. So what is different here for you?

          TomW: “Yes. Thank you for asking.”

          Sigh. I would love to say “you’re welcome,” but it’s not about you. I’m taking care to avoid assumptions by checking my suspicions through asking questions. It’s a common technique used to facilitate communication.

          TomW: “Fortunately this is the Lord’s restored church, not a UC Berkeley Sociology class.”

          Does this mean you believe social and cultural biases do not influence any decision making within the “Lord’s restored church?” This time I’m asking because I actually can’t believe you would truly believe such a thing. There are far too many explicit examples of this in LDS history to make such a claim with any intellectual honesty.

          TomW: “Why would you assume that I, or any other priesthood holder, would consider it silly if a woman were to speak at the Priesthood Session of General Conference? My attitude would be that there must be something very important that Heavenly Father wants me to learn from her, particularly if she were to be assigned to be the keynote speaker. And especially in our day we have been blessed with phenomenal sisters in the church such as Sheri Dew, Julie Beck, Elaine Dalton, and others who I know that the Lord prepared and called to build the kingdom. It would never occur to me to ask, “How could they possibly relate to the experience of a man in the LDS faith?” What matters is that the Lord has chosen whom He has chosen to share a message with us, regardless of the target audience, and it would be wise to listen intently and contemplate how to incorporate their words into our lives.”

          I didn’t assume. You’ll notice, I chose my words quite carefully. But, if you wouldn’t think it silly “particularly if she were to be assigned to be the keynote speaker” = “the Lord has chosen whom He has chosen to share a message with us,” that says nothing different than what you claimed I assumed. Just the fact that it “would never occur to you to ask” … I suspect a sidestep. And we’re speaking in hypotheticals. That says something, too.

          TomW: “If I sounded condescending with regard to the credit OW is taking for the decision on the priesthood broadcast, perhaps it is in proportion to the seeming absurdity of taking credit for it in the first place.”

          Perhaps. Perhaps not.

          TomW: “You continue, “I personally think the live broadcast solution is an insult, a deflect, a patronizing consolation, as well as an attempt placate in effort to shut down the conversation. It saddens me.”

          To be a patronizing consolation, it would first have to be about you in the first place. Be happy, in all probability you were not being insulted.”

          Ah, but you took care of the insulting just fine now, didn’t you? I never claimed any of it was about me. I’m not even a member of OW. My only interest is in beginning and continuing an actual conversation. Here’s to hoping.

          Tom W: “Without quoting you further, your comment involving the word “sloppy” was simply vulgar and unbecoming someone who seems so zealous about receiving the priesthood. If a brother in my midst were to invoke such phraseology in any context, we’d probably have a little discussion about it.”

          As I read this part of your comment, I shouted out to my husband “is sloppy ……….. a sexual reference?” To which he let out a huge guffaw, and explained to me more than I cared to know. Thank you hyper-sheltered Mormon upbringing … And so it seems I owe you and every one on the internet an apology. Oy vey. My reference was intended to portray the hand-me-down nature of keeping priesthood session exclusive to only those in attendance, and that releasing it soon after, and that despite the argument, it is not the same thing as being first in line, and such a practice carries a specific communication. I apologize, in all sincerity, for my mistake. The only consolation I can hope for is that some humor can be found at my lack of grace…

          TomW: “I am intrigued by the assumption that not agreeing with certain people on this topic must need be the result of a lack of understanding, faulty assumptions, and inadequate listening time. If anything, my response is the result of extensive reading, letting the people I disagree with speak for themselves, and paying quite a bit of attention.

          My conviction from the beginning is that faithful Latter-day Saints should be willing to accept the Lord’s kingdom on His terms, invoking the attitude of “Thy will, not mine, be done.” It means acceptance that the Lord’s way may be outright the opposite of what a person may hope and desire (our mortal limitations playing a role in perhaps hoping and desiring the wrong things, not realizing how much greater is in store in the Lord’s due time). If this is, in fact, the attitude of OW, then good on ya! But please forgive me if the attitude I have largely observed from those agitating in favor of female priesthood ordination doesn’t suggest a sincere expression of confidence and trust in those we believe the Lord has called to guide us in these latter days. What I have observed is manifestly the opposite.”

          I did not assume that your disagreement could only stem from a lack of understanding. I assumed your lack of understanding exists based what I read on your inapplicable assertions and faulty assumptions. Disagree all you want, I have never said other wise, just be accurate about what you’re disagreeing with, and don’t perpetuate inaccurate information. It’s irresponsible. Your conviction of “Thy will, not mine” seems to echo ad nauseum that only MoFems and those of OW are susceptible to mortal limitations that cloud the human vision of what the Lord wants for his children. You seem to claim to already know what that will is, and exactly how the OW movement is “misguided”. And you claim that God backs all of your assumptions, submitting that your opinions are His, and not the other way around. It’s a difficult position from which to receive any understanding. But perhaps, for you, “nothing less will suffice.”

          Completely unsolicited by me, my non-Mormon husband has a question for you. He says as an investigating member he would like to know how, as members of the church of Jesus Christ, you can explain your treatment of women as complete and total sh** (his word, not mine, referring specifically to the way you’re speaking to me on this thread, especially your patronizing and condescending comments like “be happy, you were in all probability not being insulted”,) and expect him to look more into any of it? He quotes the Bible, Matthew 7:16, and wonders if you are happy with your representation of the LDS church in this forum?

          • Kristine: “I think many are unaware that OW is asking for the leadership to ask. Many claim and assume OW is making demands, not petitions, and most do not understand why. Just the comments on this thread demonstrate as much.”

            Me: I would probably agree that many are unaware of the activities of OW, because truthfully I think the movement is largely a tempest in a very small tea pot, largely off the radar screens of most mainstream LDS women and men. But to the extent that people such as ourselves run in online circles where our exposure to the movement is greater, I would disagree about whether people’s perceptions are off the mark. It definitely comes across as being something more than a mere request that the leadership put the question to God in solemn discussion and prayer. I don’t think in the past year or so I have come across anyone affiliated with (or who sympathizes with) OW who has said anything along the lines of, “I’d appreciate if the leadership of the church take this matter to God, and if it turns out that female priesthood ordination isn’t His plan for the women of the church, I’m fine with that and continue to sustain the brethren.” Almost universally the response has been, “then we’ll keep on knocking at the door until God knows how sincere we are and the change is revealed,” with absolutely no contingency plan to eventually withdraw if the answer is no. I find this troubling particularly for the spiritual and mental well-being of those who desire the change, because they may deprive themselves of the true peace and joy of the gospel as the result of placing unnecessary emphasis on a distraction which may never be. And it’s not particularly healthy for the rest of the church either, because we truly need unity to optimize our efforts to build up the kingdom of God on earth and prepare ourselves for His coming.

            Kristine: “And historically, methods of social change (activism) are offensive to common Mormon sensibilities ingrained in LDS Church culture, e.g., the myth that disagreement = contention = loss of the spirit = contrary to God’s will.”

            Me: Honest disagreements are a part of life. Learning to handle disagreements well is part of the journey of discipleship. Contention does lead to the loss of the spirit, and is contrary to God’s will. In Doctrine & Covenants 10:63 we read, “And this I do that I may establish my gospel, that there may not be so much contention; yea, Satan doth stir up the hearts of the people to contention concerning the points of my doctrine; and in these things they do err, for they do wrest the scriptures and do not understand them.”

            Kristine: “No one has a ‘predetermined correct outcome.’ And your flippant summary of the issues does nothing but minimize the situation. Again. No one is seeking popular support.”

            Me: I would recommend avoiding absolute statements such as “no one” when it comes to almost anything. Anyone who has even casually followed the issue knows that there are many who do indeed believe that there is only one correct outcome, and it is just a matter of being vigilant until it comes to pass. Along the way, many of these have no qualms tearing down one or more church leaders (Boyd K. Packer is a frequent target, though there are others), and often suggest that the Brethren just don’t care. Most people who have ever had the privilege of knowing an apostle would be hard pressed to suggest that they don’t care about the myriad concerns of our Father’s children. As for seeking popular support, it was on this very discussion that the number of 10% support was raised, and a comment made about wanting to measure it again to see how the figure has improved. People do care. And understandably so. Because in the rest of the world in which we live, popular support is key to instigating change. In the Lord’s kingdom, however, it comes down to His ways. But that won’t stop people from attempting to garner disciples for their causes.

            Kristine: “What the Church has done in the past when ‘agitators’ get in their way has simply been to excommunicate.”

            Me: Sometimes this is unfortunately necessary when people cross certain lines which demonstrate personal apostasy and potentially impact others to stray.

            Kristine: “OW is no threat to the Church or its members. It is the other way around. As much as OW may be in danger of “open rebellion and apostasy,” those on the opposite side are in as much danger of equally unrighteous Pharisaical behavior.”

            Me: OW indeed isn’t a threat to the church, however it may be a threat to its own members and sympathizers. As for Pharisees, they were a frequent target of Jesus for their hypocrisy and failing to grasp the spirit of the law, however it would be unfair to indict ALL Pharisees as being hypocrites or unrighteous. For all intents and purposes many of them did their level best to follow God diligently to the best of their knowledge. We should be wary of labeling people in the church who have the audacity to believe what the church teaches with all their hearts, and strive to live the gospel to the best of their abilities, and who defend the doctrines and leaders of the church against criticisms from within and without. While it is absolutely possible for a Latter-day Saint to become so overzealous that the Pharisee slur seems appropriate, I wouldn’t estimate their percentage among Latter-day Saints to be very high. And I really don’t consider it a worthy exercise to attempt a calculation. We all have our own beams to consider rather than the motes of others.

            Kristine: “We all do our best to follow what we believe. We all do our best to correct ourselves when we make mistakes. And we all depend on God’s grace along the way.”

            Me: I totally agree with you. The question at hand is how willing the OW folks would be to correct themselves if it turns out female priesthood ordination isn’t part of God’s plan for women. As for me, I’ve already gone on record (and will probably continue to do so repeatedly) as being willing to accept ANY course of action the Lord chooses to take with regard to the priesthood.

            Kristine: “What bothers me is that you seem so sure you know what that will is, or that you are so sure no one involved in OW does, and that you so quickly dismiss the history of man’s ideas that have taken us to such a conclusion, and without hesitation attribute them to God because you believe ‘a prophet said so, that’s why.’ ”

            Me: While I have my suspicions of what God’s will is on this matter based upon what has already been revealed, I do not proclaim perfect knowledge, nor do I rest my testimony on the status quo. What I DO know is that no one at OW “knows” that God intends female ordination to happen either. What I AM certain about is that when God has something to reveal to us, it will happen through His servants the prophets. With regard to believing things because “a prophet said so,” I can’t think of many better reasons to believe anything. Standing with the prophet is generally the safest place to stand, and it is a very practical position to take if one has a testimony of the restored gospel.

            I am mindful of concerns of blind discipleship. Brigham Young was adamant that people obtain their own testimonies and not blindly accept everything that is presented to them, or rely upon the testimonies of others. But that doesn’t mean that the proper approach is to be immediately skeptical about everything until a special witness is received on any given matter.

            Several years ago, Elder Boyd K. Packer provided keen insight about obedience. He said, “Latter-day Saints are not obedient because they are compelled to be obedient. They are obedient because they know certain spiritual truths and have decided, as an expression of their own individual agency, to obey the commandments of God. We are the sons and daughters of God, willing followers, disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ, and ‘under this head are [we] made free.’ (Mosiah 5:8.) Those who talk of blind obedience may appear to know many things, but they do not understand the doctrines of the gospel. There is an obedience that comes from a knowledge of the truth that transcends any external form of control. We are not obedient because we are blind, we are obedient because we can see. (Boyd K. Packer, “Agency and Control,” Conference Report, April 1983; http://www.lds.org/general-conference/1983/04/agency-and-control?lang=eng)

            Members of the church take many approaches to learning about the gospel and assimilating new things. I know of people of good will and sincere hearts who struggle each and every time they become aware of something they haven’t previously encountered, or if something new is taught by the leadership of the church. It’s like they have to start over with their testimonies from scratch, requiring of the Lord a special new manifestation that the given change or teaching is indeed His will. My approach is far different. Adapting from the above quote from Elder Packer, my default position when hearing something new from the Brethren is to grant it immediate conditional embrace, “because [I] know certain spiritual truths and have decided, as an expression of [my] own individual agency,” to trust in the channels of revelation which have never let me down before, and in which I have a solemn testimony. And thus, I do not blindly accept what is taught simply because “a prophet said so,” but rather because the Spirit has repeatedly affirmed throughout my life that following the prophet is the right thing to do, and there may come a time when we are called upon to do something and we simply will not have time to agonize over whether or not to follow. We need to prepare ourselves to be able to throw ourselves into the heat of life’s spiritual battles at the sound of the trump, trusting that we will be blessed for it.

            Usually when I hear of a new teaching or program, the Spirit is pretty quick to affirm its truthfulness anyway. That’s always helpful. But every now and then something may come along where I have my own predetermined sense of what is right, only to encounter something from church leadership which challenges it. And that’s where the true test comes into play.

            A very contemporary issue where people’s opinions vary is that of same-sex relationships and marriage. As one who strives to be a faithful Latter-day Saint, I never struggled with the question of same-sex marriage. To me it was self-evident that the position of the church was the will of God. But when presented with what seemed like a fair compromise, the question of civil unions, where the term “marriage” remained reserved for a man and a woman, but where some legal recognition could be afforded to a same-sex couple which would be helpful in various legal respects, I was very much on board with that. Until… It turns out that the First Presidency of the Church issued a statement on Same-Gender Marriage in October 2004 which reads in part, “Any other sexual relations, including those between persons of the same gender, undermine the divinely created institution of the family. The Church accordingly favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship.” (see: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/first-presidency-statement-on-same-gender-marriage)

            Well, there went my suppositions of what I considered to be a reasonable compromise that I could support. But being true to my conviction that it is important to stand with the First Presidency of the Church, I stopped on a dime and immediately accepted this position as the will of the Lord. But it was also one of those occasions where it was important to me to learn “why” from the Lord. So I asked. And the answer came surprisingly easy with insights that I hadn’t previously considered. And once again the Spirit affirmed the correctness of the choice to follow the prophet first, independent of how quickly I may come to understand the significance of any given matter.

            Kristine: “How many times have the prophets been wrong, and for what reasons? And when they figure it out, is an apology due? Do they have special exemption from such things because of the office they hold in the Church? How is that helpful to them personally, or the Church as a whole? Do as I say, not as I do? Does Prophet, Seer and Revelator = even though not infallible, no accountability necessary for mistakes?”

            Me: When it comes to matters pertaining to the doctrines of the kingdom and the proper administration of the church, I would suggest that incidents of the prophets being “wrong” are an extreme rarity. And the suggestion that being wrong is commonplace is rather unfair in my opinion. I suppose specific circumstances would dictate whether or not an apology is in order, but I wouldn’t consider it my place to demand one. Yesterday I cited an article from Elder Dallin H. Oaks with regard to criticism. (see: http://www.lds.org/ensign/1987/02/criticism?lang=eng) Shortly after the excerpt I cited, he shared a couple of stories about Joseph Smith:

            “President Brigham Young described … a circumstance in which he felt ‘a want of confidence’ in the Prophet Joseph Smith’s financial management. After entertaining such thoughts for a short time, President Young saw that they could cause him to lose confidence in the Prophet and ultimately to question God as well. President Young concluded: ‘Though I admitted in my feelings and knew all the time that Joseph was a human being and subject to err, still it was none of my business to look after his faults. … He was called of God; God dictated him, and if He had a mind to leave him to himself and let him commit an error, that was no business of mine. … He was God’s servant, and not mine.’ (Journal of Discourses, 4:297.) Elder Lorenzo Snow also observed some ‘imperfections’ in Joseph Smith, but he also reached a positive conclusion about the Prophet: ‘I thanked God that He would put upon a man who had those imperfections the power and authority He placed upon him … for I knew that I myself had weakness, and I thought there was a chance for me.’ (Quoted by Elder Neal A. Maxwell in Ensign, Nov. 1984, p. 10.)”

            We have been blessed in these latter days to have such amazing, godly men serving as prophets and apostles, as well as many amazing and wonderful sisters serving as general officers of the church. Surely we can do better than seeking to itemize their alleged faults and imperfections when we have our own issues to worry about. Heaven knows that I do!

            Kristine: “Would you have said the same about those who agitated for change regarding blacks and the priesthood? Of those who submitted ideas to the leadership that eventually became what we now know as Sunday School program, regarded as “inspired”? To Emma when she suggested to Joseph that tobacco might be harmful? Contrary to popular belief, this is how change traditionally happens in the Church. But you know that, based on all that you’ve stated you’ve read. So what is different here for you?”

            Me: It was a matter of doctrine that the priesthood would eventually be rolled out to all worthy men regardless of race. The only question of disagreement was the timing of the revelation, not the very fact that the day would surely come. Regardless of one’s opinions about the origin of the ban and its cessation (which led to a very insightful teaching from Elder Oaks regarding the unnecessary risks of speculation even by church leaders), it is not disputed that it was openly taught that the ban would end. This is no comparable teaching of eventuality with regard to female priesthood ordination. As for all manner of changes and improvements in the church, whether it be the Sunday School, the Word of Wisdom, the Welfare program, the Perpetual Education Fund, or any number of other things – they are all part of the process of continuous inspiration and revelation. And by all means, not all ideas must originate at the top. We learn from ideas and successes from all over the place, and see how we might incorporate them in our overall improvement. There have been many pilot programs pertaining to missionary work which have been implemented over the years, and many more will follow, as we continue to fine-tune and improve upon whatever we are doing today. And these programs will continue to adjust as we adapt to technology and other dynamics in the world.

            With regard to the concept of not all ideas originating at the top, there was a circumstance in my mission a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Unfortunately an Elder and a Sister engaged in some conduct, aided and abetted by misguided members, which resulted in an early ticket home. The mission was devastated. These missionaries were well-loved by their peers, the members, and the Mission President and his wife. Interviews were conducted to determine what exactly happened, and what could have been done to prevent it. There were missionaries who were aware of just cause for concern, but who didn’t say anything. The reason they gave was that they felt the Lord would reveal it directly to the Mission President and that it wasn’t necessary for them to intervene by sounding an alarm prior to certain lines being crossed. And so there was much sorrow. The Mission President then taught perhaps one of the most memorable lessons that I have retained from the two-year experience: “Sometimes revelation is intended to come from people who are in a position to know.” Twenty years later I sat down with my beloved former Mission President and we talked about the experience. He didn’t remember ever saying that. But as one who had served multiple stints as Bishop, Stake President, and Mission President, he knew all too well that inspiration isn’t restricted to communication between a leader and God. Sometimes it is intended to come from the contributions of others.

            So you may ask, if this is the case, why not the folks at OW raise their voices to plant the seed of female priesthood ordination in the minds of the Brethren, and perhaps God will manifest that this should be so. And my response would be that it is perfectly within reason to plant the seed and see where it goes. Just so long as one also respects that the outcome may not be what one has hoped. Which is why I believe that the attitude of our petitioning is important, as well as our willingness to submit to whatsoever the Lord might choose to reveal, or not to reveal.

            Kristine: “I’m taking care to avoid assumptions by checking my suspicions through asking questions. It’s a common technique used to facilitate communication.”

            Me: That’s why in my prior post to you, I expressed a particular view and asked, “How about you?” You took it as condescending. I hope you’ll accept it as avoiding assumptions by asking questions and invoking a common technique used to facilitate communication. :o)

            Kristine: “Does this mean you believe social and cultural biases do not influence any decision making within the “Lord’s restored church?” This time I’m asking because I actually can’t believe you would truly believe such a thing. There are far too many explicit examples of this in LDS history to make such a claim with any intellectual honesty.”

            Me: I don’t think such biases play a significant role at the worldwide church level. I have no doubt that they rear their heads readily at the local level.

            Kristine: “Ah, but you took care of the insulting just fine now, didn’t you? I never claimed any of it was about me.”

            Me: Sorry, sometimes when I get on a roll, the sarcasm flows a bit too freely. It’s generally meant with humor, not malice.

            Kristine: “Thank you hyper-sheltered Mormon upbringing … And so it seems I owe you and every one on the internet an apology. Oy vey.”

            Me: No worries. Your response turned a rather awkward remark into something we can all laugh about. I may have grown up in California, but my devout LDS upbringing pretty much isolated me from people from whom I would be introduced to all manner of references, so I still often don’t get stuff I hear from other sources.

            Kristine: “The only consolation I can hope for is that some humor can be found at my lack of grace…”

            Me: Actually I would characterize your response as full of grace.

            Kristine: “I did not assume that your disagreement could only stem from a lack of understanding. I assumed your lack of understanding exists based what I read on your inapplicable assertions and faulty assumptions.”

            Me: By the same token, please understand that when people make assumptions about what folks in the OW movement and their sympathizers have said, it is also generally “based on what [we] read” from their comments.

            Kristine: “Your conviction of ‘Thy will, not mine’ seems to echo ad nauseum that only MoFems and those of OW are susceptible to mortal limitations that cloud the human vision of what the Lord wants for his children.”

            Me: Those mortal limitations afflict all of us who see through a glass darkly. As it happens, we’re talking about a very specific issue where the battle lines tend to lend themselves to the question of our willingness to accept God’s will wherever it may lead.

            Kristine: “You seem to claim to already know what that will is, and exactly how the OW movement is ‘misguided’.”

            Me: Not once have I claimed to “know.” I have my educated opinion. I would even say that I believe that I am probably right. But the actual “truth” has not been revealed to me, nor am I the channel whereby the Lord would ever think to make it manifest.

            Kristine: “And you claim that God backs all of your assumptions, submitting that your opinions are His, and not the other way around.”

            Me: I don’t know where I’ve ever said any such thing. The only absolute claim that I make is that I’m willing to align with the side of God wherever it leads. In the end, I strive to make His opinions mine, not the other way around.

            Kristine: “Completely unsolicited by me, my non-Mormon husband has a question for you. He says as an investigating member he would like to know how, as members of the church of Jesus Christ, you can explain your treatment of women as complete and total sh** (his word, not mine, referring specifically to the way you’re speaking to me on this thread, especially your patronizing and condescending comments like ‘be happy, you were in all probability not being insulted’,) and expect him to look more into any of it? He quotes the Bible, Matthew 7:16, and wonders if you are happy with your representation of the LDS church in this forum?”

            Me: I am happy to respond to your non-Mormon husband, but first let me respond to you. I consider you an equal and thus have engaged in conversation with you as such. Everything I have written to you (or to others at this forum) was written exactly as I would have written to another man with whom I am engaging an issue. I would consider it an insult to you, and you would probably take it as one, if I responded to you any differently because you are a woman.

            For what it’s worth, I love women and anyone who knows me could attest that I tend to get along quite well with them. I’m married with two daughters and no sons, so I’d have a lot of explaining to do if I went about treating women poorly. I’d be in a heap big trouble! I have great respect for the women of the church. I have been blessed to associate with many female leaders by virtue of various callings through the years, and I have a strong testimony of their irreplaceable contributions to the building up of the kingdom of God. Whether presidents of the Relief Society, Young Women, or Primary, the wards I have lived in would fall apart without their wisdom and insights. Years ago I read “Women of Mormondom” and gained a great appreciation for all of the General Relief Society Presidents of the church, from Emma Smith through the publication date. Probably my first man-crush on a female authority in the church was Sheri Dew. She’s one of those people who, when they speak, you devote your full attention. Perhaps she opened the door to my appreciation for the female officers of the church, because it seems that I’ve adored everyone who has succeeded her in that calling as well as the other auxiliary organizations of the church. I mentioned before the privilege that I had of sharing lunch with a Young Women General President of the church. Such a fine woman. Such extraordinary faith and depth of perception of the magnitude of her holy calling. I knew beyond any doubt what great hands the young women of the church were in. For many years I have studied and highlighted the Young Women and Relief Society sessions of General Conference, because the things they have to teach can benefit more than just the women and girls of the church (even if physically attending any of the sessions never crossed my mind).

            To the extent that I have caused offense, I sincerely apologize. Often things are stated and perceived online in ways that are unintended, and it wouldn’t be the first time I have been gulity of that.

            With regard to the positions I have taken on the doctrines of the church, I am content with my representation of the church’s position as well as what I feel is the appropriate attitude of practicing Latter-day Saints with regard to our willingness to accept the will of the Lord whatever it may be.

            But most importantly for your non-Mormon husband, he needs to know (and probably already does) that he married a very strong woman, and regardless of his perceptions of anyone else in the church, it would be well with him to consider the restored gospel of Jesus Christ for the same reasons which you have embraced it, and remain in it, regardless of any questions which are a concern to you which might have sent a weaker woman running for the hills. At the end of the day, God lives. Jesus is the Christ. They restored their church to the earth to prepare us to live with Them again someday. We are all imperfect, yet there is so much good in each of us and in the church itself. We have good reason to thank God for a prophet to guide us in these latter days. Perhaps you can enjoy watching the Priesthood Session of conference together. (But first he has to watch the ladies’ session tomorrow!)

    • To add to your point about it being the, “first time,” the priesthood session was made available to women, I haven’t ever heard of women being turned away from attending a priesthood session in a chapel broadcast. I know of several women who have regularly attended these meetings (I myself have attended them several times).

      The real question is why? Why do so many Mormon women feel like they NEED to go? What is the point? Is it simply a matter of wanting what we, “can’t,” have (I put can’t in quotes, because it is an imagined can’t…. like I said before, many women I know have attended the priesthood session).

      We have our own General Relief Society broadcast, and the men are not invited. Yes, we do have male speakers on occasion. Yes, there is always one man present in the building (he is there for security, to help with the satellite hook ups if needed, and sometimes they will have two there to help babysit children of women whose husbands/baby daddies were unavailable to keep kids at home). So yes, its true, maybe four men out of how many hundreds in your ward do go to the building during the meeting.

      I have never understood this desire for women to be ordained. I don’t understand the whole, “we are so oppressed as women in the church because we have to answer to a man,” bit either. Do these women not understand that that no matter how high ranking they might become in the church, they will ALWAYS answer to a male with more power and authority than they have, as God the Father and Jesus Christ are both male?

  5. “…why women were not permitted to make (or even be consulted about) significant administrative decisions or to exercise ecclesiastical authority in my chosen faith.”

    This statement is simply not true. I know for a fact that women have always been consulted about significant administrative decisions from the very beginning of the Latter-Day Church starting with Emma Smith. I understand why many women have misconceptions about decision making in the Church but if you study the History of the Church and realize how much the current Brethren consult with their wives and other women leaders in the Church then you would know that this is simply not the case.

    • Danielle, women are not always consulted. One poignant example of this is the Proclamation on the Family. The Proclamation was issued in the RS session of the Oct. 1995 General Conference. But the General RS Presidency was not consulted or allowed input into the Proclamation. If they had been consulted, the wording would have been different. How different? We don’t know. If you’d like to learn more about episode, run a search for “cheiko okazaki dialogue interview.” It’s quite a read.

      • Dave K. – if you sustain the First Presidency and Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators, as I do, then you would know that the wording for the Family Proclamation wouldn’t be any different whether or not women were consulted. It’s the Word of God regardless of who it came through. While I suppose I could concede that every single decision made in Church History might not have had consultation from women, I can assure you that the majority have been. Within the Church today it is clear that the Ward Council depends on input and decision making from women and to assert that women are never consulted, have no input, and have no decision making authority is just false.

        • Lynn in Europe

          No, thankfully, Proclamation is *not* the word of God. This flawed, poorly-worded “next best thing to genuine revelation” was the result of over a year’s worth of haggling and compromise at the highest levels at Church headquarters. Further, you seem to have a very rosy view about the extent of women’s input into decision-making at the general level in particular.

          (Women’s input and decision-making “authority” at local levels is much more a matter of “leader roulette” — some stake presidents and bishops are more inclusive than others; indeed, some bishops have gone so far as to defy the frankly insane instructions that bar the Relief Society president from attending weekly PEC meetings, for example. But whether open to women’s input or not, all male leaders still hold veto power over anything a woman leader may propose or plan, for any reason— or no reason whatsoever.)

          I dearly wish that what you believe were true, but the women of my acquaintance who have served at the general level over the years confirm that that is simply has not been the case in their experience.

          • I did NOT feel like I was defying anything when serving as a bishop of a local ward where the Relief Society President was included in virtually all our meeting with the combined priesthood leaders of the ward. We needed her there when we discussed confidential matters involving those with welfare needs and those being home/visiting taught. The stake president knew and didn’t express any qualms. Of course on months with 5 Sundays in which we held meetings all Sundays, we did hold a PEC Meeting focused on Temple Service from which she was excused. (If she’d expressed a desire to attend we would probably have included her.) This was our pattern from a while prior to receiving the 2010 “Handbook 2: Administering the Church” through September 2012 when I was released after 5+ years of service.

            When serving as a bishop I guess I held sort of a veto power over all decisions in our ward insofar as I knew the details and felt a need to exercise it. However, the same could be said of the Stake President and my decisions, and the President of the Church, etc. Ultimately, as we faithfully follow the Spirit, we give God veto power over all our decisions. However, I rarely used veto powers as a bishop because our leaders general followed gospel principles and the Spirit. I listened and taught much, ministered as best I could, and commanded rarely.

            Doctrine and Covenants 121:34-46, is canonized scripture, and it teaches the pattern I tried to teach and follow. It is what I’ve seen all the LDS leaders I have loved and respected follow, including the General Authorities.

          • Considering that the Family Proclamation is consistent with the history of the church’s teachings on the topic, I would be hard pressed to argue that it isn’t the word of God. It may not have been canonized as a distinct document, but there is nothing groundbreaking in the content. Add to that the signatures of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and you’ve got yourself a document that is difficult for someone who sustains these men as prophets, seers, and revelators to casually dismiss.

          • Wayne, your description of the functioning of your ward during your term as bishop is consistent with my observations of other bishops and leaders I have served with over the past 20 years.

          • Lynn, if you want to convince people that you are legit, you might start with the truth…. PEC meetings are held to discuss PRIESTHOOD matters, which includes the Elder’s Quorum, the High Priest group, and the Young Men’s group. PEC meetings aren’t generally about the women in the church.

            HOWEVER, the Relief Society Presidency has never been barred from the meetings. In fact, if you look in the church handbook (available on lds.org), it clearly states, “As needed, the bishop may invite the Relief Society president to attend some ward PEC meetings to discuss confidential welfare matters and to coordinate home teaching and visiting teaching assignments.”

            In light of that easy to prove blatant falsehood, Lynn, I just don’t think your words are very trustworthy.

        • Lynn in Europe

          PS: If women were truly viewed and actually treated as equals in the church, there would be utterly no need for male leaders to constantly tell us how equal and important we are.

          • For what it’s worth, most faithful sisters I know don’t NEED anyone to tell them how equal and important they are, because they are anxiously engaged in good causes and already know their value in the kingdom. It’s been my personal observation that these reminders are generally targeting a different audience – probably to little avail.

          • Again, TomW, you’ve missed the mark. I wonder if you are listening to these women you know. If that were true, there wouldn’t be talks like “Forget Me Not” by Ucthdorf. The women I know, the ones that talk about their pains and cry together in Relief Society, LOVE that little bit of recognition and paltry reminder that they are important. It somehow keeps them going when most everything else they experience in the Church teaches them the opposite.

          • I know I don’t need to be told that I am amazing. ;)

            I think those talks are directed a LOT towards the lonely women in the church. Those whose husbands are gone, and whose children have grown and left and have become so self absorbed in their own lives that they never bother calling anymore (you see a lot of that with these newest generations…. bunch of spoiled brats….), those whose husbands have left, those who never married, those who are just overwhelmed with life (and here is where I take more issue with the newest generations…. do you really need compassionate service meals, house cleaning, and week long child care for your one whole child all week long because you broke your finger???)….

            I also think the, “LDS women are great,” speeches are directed at those who keep whining about feeling second class because they don’t have the priesthood, or whatever.

        • Danielle, we don’t have any doctrine of an infallibility in this church. Sustaining a church leader at any level does not release me from personal responsibility for my life or for the care and protection of my children. –even and especially when those two seem to be at odds. The agenda of a mere mortal with a calling and his need to save face and feel in charge is not part of my stewardship. Part of sustaining someone is having the courtesy and respect to call a thing what it is, in any given interaction even if they don’t like it. We’re all learning here

          • True, we do not have a doctrine akin to papal infallibility, but we do indeed have obligations to sustain our leaders, and there are appropriate and inappropriate methods and channels for expressing our opinions and concerns.

            In an Ensign article too lengthy to quote at length, Elder Dallin H. Oaks addressed the topic of criticism as it pertains to everyday situations as well as within the church. Following is just a portion. For those interested in following it further, the below excerpt is about halfway to two-thirds into the article, and I would proceed from that point forward:

            “Our Father in Heaven has not compelled us to think the same way on every subject or procedure. As we seek to accomplish our life’s purposes, we will inevitably have differences with those around us—including some of those we sustain as our leaders. The question is not whether we have such differences, but how we manage them. What the Lord has said on another subject is also true of the management of differences with his leaders: ‘It must needs be done in mine own way.’ (D&C 104:16.) We should conduct ourselves in such a way that our thoughts and actions do not cause us to lose the companionship of the Spirit of the Lord.

            “The first principle in the gospel procedure for managing differences is to keep our personal differences private. In this we have worthy examples to follow. Every student of Church history knows that there have been differences of opinion among Church leaders since the Church was organized. Each of us has experienced such differences in our work in auxiliaries, quorums, wards, stakes, and missions of the Church. We know that such differences are discussed, but not in public. Counselors acquiesce in the decisions of their president. Teachers follow the direction of their presidency. Members are loyal to the counsel of their bishop. All of this is done quietly and loyally—even by members who would have done differently if they had been in the position of authority.

            “Why aren’t these differences discussed in public? Public debate—the means of resolving differences in a democratic government—is not appropriate in our Church government. We are all subject to the authority of the called and sustained servants of the Lord. They and we are all governed by the direction of the Spirit of the Lord, and that Spirit only functions in an atmosphere of unity. That is why personal differences about Church doctrine or procedure need to be worked out privately. There is nothing inappropriate about private communications concerning such differences, provided they are carried on in a spirit of love.”

        • Input and decision rights are two very different things. No women have any ultimate decision rights at any level of church governance. Input therefore is completely dependent always on a man to allow it, consider and accept it. There are no checks and balances. Church history and practice is rife with exampels where this has led to systematically bad outcomes for women. These include decades and decades of systematically poor ecclesiastical response to issues such as domestic abuse (It took until Hinkley to finally to make real headway on this issue). It was common practice, widespread and normatively accepted for bishops to counsel battered and abused women to stay with their abusers. It was common for men’s sins to be passed over and covered up. This is just one example of how the lack of structural female power left our community (and still leaves our community) weaker, less Christ-like and poorly serving the important needs of many women. Sorry it isn’t a pretty one, but being in denial about this is neither honest nor fitting for disciples of Christ. And yes I lay this directly at the doorstep of an all male priesthood – well intentioned as the vast majority of them are.

          • I don’t think anyone has ever argued that men have always properly sought out and acted upon the counsel of sisters in their ward and stake leadership meetings. Surely the counsel against exercising unrighteous dominion was given in the expectation that it would happen. That said, I’d be willing to bet that there has never been a time in church history when the leadership top to bottom has been better trained and is more attuned to the needs of men and women than it is today.

    • As one who has participated in a few councils over the years as part of several wards and stakes, I can attest that the best effort is given to running them in the spirit of Elder Ballard’s excellent book “Counseling With Our Counsels,” and that the contributions of all council members, male and female, are critical to guiding the progress of wards and stakes by the Spirit of God.

      • Some are. Some aren’t. I would like to see objective data on this. I would like to see a random sample of wards and see the ratio of men to women in the ward council. A careful count of the amount of total input by women and men. The percentage of women’s suggestions that are accepted relative to men. I would like to see data on the number of PEC meetings that happen with a single woman in the room. I would like someone to follow a 70 around and see how many of the meeting he attends have a single woman in them. I would also like to see what percentage of those meetings have an equal number of women and men (because we know from BYU research that counsels where women are the minority suffer from extremely low participation by the women that attend). While I have no doubt that some (always male) bishops do a good job of including women in the ward decision making process (I too have seen examples of this) my experience says that even in many well functioning wards I have been in, the decision making process is largely exclusionary of women’s voices in the meetings that matter.

        Also, lets not forgot some important examples of when women are completely structurally excluded such as the very important matter of disciplinary councils in the church. No woman, except as the accused can have input on decisions of disfellowship or excommunication. No woman sits in any meeting with the High Councils of the Church.

        We even know that the biggest single recent change for women in the church – lowering the missionary age for women was made in the complete absence of women. The General RSP and YWP were informed of the decision on the same day it was announced to the Church. Heck, not even a single woman was in the press conference that announced it or to answer questions about how it would affect the stewardship they supposedly had.

        I was told by a male professional manager in the COB that in the official reporting structure of the church the General Relief Society President actually reports not to one of the 12 directly but through a 70, same for the General YW presidency.

        • The only thing that matters is if things are being administered as the Lord directs. For what it’s worth, I once had the good pleasure of sitting down with a Young Women General President and had a most delightful conversation over lunch. There was never a question that she wielded significant clout. There also was never a question about her firm testimony of those the Lord has called to preside over the church.

    • How do you feel you aren’t entrusted with equal responsibility?

      Men and women are co-equal in the Temple.

      Men and women are co-equal in the home.

      If anything, women have the blessing of a conditional covenant, while men are locked into something binding. A woman’s obligation to her husband extends only as far as his willingness to be obedient to his temple covenants.

      There is a lot of misogyny in Mormonism, but that isn’t necessarily a function of Mormonism, because there’s a lot of misogyny everywhere else, too. Maybe lots of men are just plain jerks. I don’t know how changing the policies on Priesthood ordinations will take the jerkiness out of some hearts.

  6. I can’t think of anything TomW said in his comment that I would disagree with. In fact I was going to point out something similar to what he did.

    As you said, Jana, “…it has opened up the priesthood session to the general public online, the first time the priesthood meeting has been open to women in any form” is simply not true. It has been available for many years in one form or another.

    A few years ago, my husband played back a talk from the priesthood session to make a point to me that I was making a big mistake. Since then, he has been humbled, and now accepts that I did the right thing.

    My own attitude about the drive to ordain women to the priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is simple:

    1. I truly believe that the Lord wants the men (and boys) to bear the burdens of the Priesthood in His church on this earth–the next life might be another matter. Obviously, the blessings are given to everyone whether they hold the priesthood or not.

    2. It is insulting to me when other women insinuate that I cannot have self-esteem without so much as “the opportunity” to have the priesthood.

    3. I truly believe that “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father, who loves us…” I believe the Book of Mormon and will quote from Jacob 2:32-33 “And I will not suffer, saith the Lord of Hosts, that the cries of the fair daughters of this people…shall come up unto me against the men of my people, saith the Lord of Hosts. (33) For they shall not lead away captive the daughters of my people because of their tenderness, save I shall visit them with a sore curse, even unto destruction….” Also, from 2 Nephi 26:33 “…and he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female…and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.”

    4. Even so, I sense that we are not fully equal with men, but I don’t really want to be brought down from my pedestal to have it be equal. But, if the Lord should reveal that it should be so, then I guess I would willingly accept it.

    • Lynn in Europe

      I would dearly love to hear the Young Women recite, “We are daughters of our Heavenly Father *and Mother* who love us, and we love Them.” Why can’t the girls do so now? Why the single-parent heavenly household? Why the grotesque imbalance?

      How damaging it has been to women and men alike that our scriptures and our discourse portend an eternal role for women that keeps them hidden and silent — unable to speak to their (spirit) children, nor be spoken to. (And almost worse are all of the insulting and illogical folk “explanations” as to why this is the case!)

      My hope is that the attention given to women & priesthood will ultimately induce our leaders to ask God (as in the story of the Daughters of Zelophehad in Numbers 27) — which revelation must of necessity also broaden our theology of God the Mother. This said, I’m frankly unconvinced that the current crop of Brethren view these issues with the same kind of urgency that led to the 1978 revelation about black men and priesthood, given that there are still enough women who are comfortable on their pedestals to sustain the status quo for quite a while to come.

      • Considering that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is rather unique in the Christian world for believing in Heavenly Parents in the first place, why be so agitated (“grotesque,” “damaging,” etc.) that more isn’t incorporated into other aspects of our teaching? Such an attitude seemingly dismisses the possibility that we have already received what we are going to receive for the time being, and that Heavenly Father has His own timetable for any future expansion of knowledge. If we believe that the church is indeed true, then perhaps we might consider cutting the Lord’s anointed servants a little slack in our playing public judge and jury over what we perceive they give appropriate attention to. And if we don’t really believe that it’s true anyway, then why agitate at all?

      • Well said Lynn! When the Brothern governing the church feel the pressure, whether internal or external as in the case of blacks holding the priesthood, then l have confidence that issues will be addressed and ‘fixed’. Pologomy is another fine example.

  7. You write “I [was baptized] with some important questions still unanswered, including why women were not permitted to make (or even be consulted about) significant administrative decisions or to exercise ecclesiastical authority in my chosen faith…”

    In a properly functioning ward in the Church today, women leaders are not only essential members of the ward council and (in the case of the Relief Society president, the Priesthood Executive Council), but they are given as much freedom within the scope of their stewardship as the men. I sat in a ward council meeting last week where the best ideas, the most insightful comments and the most acute awareness of individual ward members’ needs came not from any Priesthood leader, but from the Primary president. There was no doubt that she was the spiritual equal of any man in that room, and that she was recognized as one of the ward decision-makers. This is happening all over the Church. The old model — bishop as “father of the ward,” the kindly patrician treating everyone, especially the women, with the benevolent condescension normally reserved for mildly concussed teenagers — is mostly gone.

    I don’t know if women will ever be ordained to Priesthood offices. Twenty years ago, when Elder Ballard told answered Ted Koppel’s question about female ordinations with a breezy, “Oh, that’s probably not going to happen,” I felt sick, not because I thought he was wrong, but because this is a Church built on the twin foundations of faith in Jesus Christ and acknowledgment of continuing revelation. It’s dangerous and presumptuous to say “never” about almost everything, if we really believe Article of Faith 9. It’s equally presumptuous to suggest that something is going to happen, because you have a good feeling about it (I’d love to see BYU abolish its football program, because college football is corrupt and wasteful, and I’d love for the prophet to instruct every LDS family in the top 10% of wage earners to move to struggling wards in dicey neighborhoods, where they can really do some good, and we have a mission to help the poor, the widows and the fatherless. Neither one of those are happening anytime soon.)

    One thing that rarely gets mentioned: what happens to the men? I live in a ward where 70% of the households are headed by single sisters. Most of the Mutual age kids do not live with their fathers. (At one point, we had 24 active Melchizedek priesthood holders, including two sets of full-time Elders. Do the math: we didn’t have enough men to fill all of the Priesthood leadership positions.) It’s tempting to say that an injection of female priesthood holders would resolve the problems. My feeling is that it would only serve as a further excuse for the men to stay away, which would discourage the women, which would accelerate the rate of inactivity. I’m not suggesting that women should be denied blessings because the men are slugs: just understand that there’s a lot more to this issue that “girls should get to pass sacrament.”

    • What happens to the men? Most priesthood holders are currently inactive and not using their priesthood. For them, probably nothing much changes. But for those who are valient, expanding the body of priesthood holders will allow much greater flexibility for men to be put to better use. Many will still serve in bishoprics, high counsel, etc. But as women also fill these roles, more men will serve as examples to children as primary teachers, more fathers will spend quality time with their children at home rather than endless meetings, and more men will be able to focus on building up other men who are currently failing. For myself, if these changes took place, the first thing I would is to go to each of the new female priesthood leaders in my ward and ask them which men in their lives they would like me to build up.

      • Lynn in Europe

        Exactly, Dave. I have seen with my own eyes the deleterious effects on family life when the too-few Melchizedek Priesthood holders in a ward or branch in “the mission field” find themselves stretched to breaking as they try to fill multiple heavy callings, regardless of how well- or ill-suited they may be to such tasks.

        Women suffer in these circumstances, too — not just the neglected wives, but also the many women who are fully capable of taking on responsibilities, but instead are made to feel like *consumers* and *takers* and part of the problems of their wards/branches, rather than being viewed as potential solutions thereto.

        It seems long past time to stop denying the more than half of the church’s adult members the opportunity to fully participate and serve.

        • If you do not believe you are serving enough, please let your Relief Society President and Bishop know. I’m sure there are additional assignments they could delegate with such a willing volunteer!

      • Yeah, this will happen. And those “model ward councils” in the Church training videos are accurate depictions of reality.

        “Endless meetings” simply don’t happen anymore. Most leadership meetings have been eliminated, or drastically curtailed. The only people who are truly chewed up by “endless meetings” are the stake presidencies and the bishops (not the bishoprics): that’s maybe ten people in the average stake. And make no mistake: they are chewed up into tiny little pieces, in part by excessively demanding callings, and in part by carping, demanding Church members, who are utterly disrespectful of their time and family obligations.

  8. Sarah Williams

    The way I see it is that the whole world benefits from the priesthood. Anything good and innovative and liberating that has happened since the restoration has been a result of having the priesthood on the earth.

    So often we thing that men “having the priesthood” means that only men have it. Really, it’s a power that all of us have and all of us use and all of us enjoy. I see it kind of like a pharmacy. The medicine is the priesthood and we all can take the medicine and enjoy the benefits. The priesthood holders are the ones authorized to dispense it. They aren’t the power. They aren’t the medicine. They aren’t the only ones taking the medicine. I used to think, who cares how hands it out as long as we can all enjoy it, but the older I get the more I think it’s not right that women don’t have that right yet. I agree with Mette, though, I think we do have it and can use it, we just haven’t reached the full potential of understanding about gender in the church and about the priesthood itself. That’s how I feel about it.

  9. I already made my comment directly on this subject, but when Sarah Williams said, “…the older I get the more I think it’s not right that women don’t have that right yet,” it reminded me of where I really think women in this country should focus their energy: The presidency of the United States. I think the real shame is that we have not yet had a female POTUS.

  10. Being born and raised of’ goodly parents’ in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints,did’nt do much to stem my feminist views, starting at about age
    12. My poor father, the ward scout master, got an earfull from me when it was made clear that l could not be a scout, because as l saw it, l didn’t have a penis. I could’ntt earn merit badges with my brothers, go on campouts, or become an Eagle scout. This was in the 70’s, when any talk of women’s equality in the church was (along with the ERA vote) strictly sacrilegious. In the 70’s women couldn’t pray in meetings, polygamy was still taught from the pulpit as being a celestial ordinance, (my dad is sealed to 2 women) and spiritual lessons to young women were to stay pure and chaste, marry a worthy priesthood holder, (romantic love is not necessary) and motherhood and marriage trumps education. The lessons are good, of course…be chaste and marry in the temple…it would have been well and good, except that was the sum total of a woman’s expectations. I remember asking deep questions for a young girl about our Mother in Heaven, Women as Goddesses, (?) What our role would be, why should a penis (l used that phrase a lot to my parents horror) dictate wether or not l can hold the priesthood, (my poor parents) consequently, l never got an answer. Ever. Seminary, Institute, Nada. And then, years later there was a Special on Television. Possibly NightLine, called, l believe ‘Mormons’. The prophet at the time, l believe Hinkley, was asked “what about women and the priesthood?” He responded so humbly and eloquently,”Because they have never asked.” I cried. It was my personal revelation, it spoke to my soul. My spirit rejoiced. He went on to say that for the most part women in the church were happy in their roles, i.e. sharing the priesthood blessings with their husbands. I don’t remember the year, or the station, (l have searched in vain for the transcripts) but even if l can never substantiate the claim, l know that when the prophet feels the time is right, he’ll seek the revelation. It’s just that the women aren’t ready. They have been taught their role and place and not to question….EVER….so ladies, lacking a brain and a backbone, it is what it is.

    • Marianne,

      here is a link to the transcript with that quote.

      http://agitatingfaithfully.org/post;jsessionid=2803821D898EB321688A9873399DCE20?id=the-quote-in-context

    • I can understand your parents’ horror, and am grateful for two lovely daughters who communications have never caused me a moment of grief or embarrassment.

      • Oh, Tom. That’s low. If I were one of your daughters, I would be cringing right now.

        Can you not hear what Marianne is saying? Who is also a lovely daughter to our Father and not a horror. Because she said a “naughty” word, you’re going to get snagged on that and you’re not going to listen with a healer’s humility to the frustration and pain she’s expressing?

        You had sounded reasonable up to this point. A little misguided, maybe, but not unreasonable. Now . . .

        • I never said that marianne is a horror. She stated that there was a term she frequently used, much to her parents’ horror, and I can totally understand why her parents would have been mortified by her repeated use of the term. And I AM truly grateful that my darling daughters have never uttered anything to cause me embarrassment nor horror.

          The fact of the matter is that the church’s program for Young Women is probably better than the Boy Scouts of America which the church is about to celebrate its 100th year of affiliation with. And the way things are going, I have my doubts if the affiliation will last another decade.

          As for the rest of what marianne wrote, some of it begs the question if she grew up in the same church as the rest of us, or if she has over time engaged in picking and choosing what to emphasize and agonize about from her experience.

          In the meantime, I read the Hinckley interview linked above. I don’t see where marianne arrives at her quote based on that interview.

          As for getting snagged on something a person says and being unwilling to listen to the rest of what a person has to say, you may want to introduce yourself to the woman who checked out upon reading the word “faithful” in a sentence. (And personally I think I clarified how I was interpreting the term for the sake of this conversation quite well, recognizing fully that others may use the term differently.)

          • Many of us grew up in the LDS Church, and it was not the same church you grew up in, TomW.

            The quote and interview Marianne referred to and paraphrased is this one:
            Gordon B. Hinckley, 1997 interview with reporter, David Ransom:

            When Ransom asked if the policy on denying priesthood to women could be changed, much like it had for black men, President Hinckley responded, “Yes. But there’s no agitation for that.”

          • For all intents and purposes, there isn’t any groundswell of agitation. And even if there were, that wouldn’t necessarily mean that it would yield the same result if it isn’t on the Lord’s agenda.

    • Raymond Takashi Swenson

      I see you are worked up, but your last line is insulting to any female Mormon who does not agree with you. I am not sure how secure they should feel with you as their prospective priesthood leader.

      As for bragging about your references to the male sexual organ, I can affirm that it plays no role per se in the exercise of the priesthood, and Mormon men don’t talk about it in priesthood meeting or at other venues. Indeed, if some man came to his biship and said “Ordain me, I am ready because I have a P****” the bishop’s answer would be “Not until you repent and become a worthy vessel to represent the Lord.”

    • The 10% figure comes from this link: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56096212-78/women-priesthood-church-lds.html.csp

      “However, priesthood ordination may not be a desired goal for most Mormon women.

      “In a survey of U.S. religion, authors Robert Putnam and David Campbell, in their 2010 book, American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us, found that 90 percent of LDS women opposed female ordination in their church (ironically, only 52 percent of Mormon men were against it).”

      I suppose the phrasing of the question as well as the manner in which they assemble their survey population could factor as well.

      Perhaps a story from the April 2013 conference can be insightful as to the true numbers behind the OW movement.

      Concurrent with the April Priesthood Session, Ordain Women organized a gathering for their supporters at the Union Theatre at the University of Utah.

      Now, I don’t live in Utah, but I have heard through the years that it is a hotbed of Mormonism. If one were to take at face value the passion for their cause which certain websites and newspaper articles might suggest, and combine that with the perfect storm of a local demographic suited to rallying supporters for said cause, an impartial observer might anticipate a noteworthy throng to be gathered for the occasion.

      The actual number?

      Less than 100.

      In Salt Lake City.

      Interestingly enough the original Salt Lake Tribune account of the event and its underwhelming attendance is no longer accessible at their website. An outside site was kind enough to preserve it: http://archive.is/9mlE2

      (A few other sites also retained an archive of the original text.)

      • Lynn in Europe

        At least one of the authors of the study cautioned that the 10% figure cited was not particularly reliable because the sample size was too low and the criteria for selection were overly restrictive.

      • It would stand to reason, then, that we spend our time making sure we know what God’s will actually is, rather than patting ourselves on the back and congratulating ourselves for knowing better than anyone else what it is… As cited in the article on dovesandserpents regarding the restoration of the priesthood to all worthy males:
        “”Spencer W. Kimball, it is reported, didn’t ask God to hand him a script or give him new marching orders as much as he pled with God to help him see past his own assumptions and prejudices. In other words, he went to God and asked for the blessing of being able to imagine things differently.”

        • So let’s say for the sake of argument that President Monson petitions the Lord on behalf of the sisters who have asked that their concerns be taken to Him, and the Lord tells him unequivocally “no.” Do these sisters say “thank you” and then disband?

        • I should have simultaneously offered the counter situation, that President Monson receives an affirmative answer. In case I haven’t already been clear on the matter, I’d embrace it as the will of the Lord without hesitation. Because my faith is in Heavenly Father and His administration of the kingdom, not in any particular aspect of life that I believe should necessarily be a particular way.

          Out of curiosity I’ll pose a 3rd option. What if the Lord’s response is to reveal an entirely new order of priesthood, one which may go back all the way to Mother Eve? And what if this order of priesthood, withheld until now from the modern church because we weren’t ready for it, is rolled out as the “Evetic Priesthood.” (If someone wants to come up with a better hypothetical name, have at it!) But just as the Aaronic and Melchizedek Priesthoods have certain duties and responsibilities associated with them, what if the Evetic Priesthood has its own unique duties and responsibilities?

          Let’s explore some options for division of responsibility over the kingdom taking into account the prevailing revealed responsibilities of the priesthood and the respective missions of the church.

          Melchizedek Priesthood – Church Administration and Redeeming the Dead.

          Aaronic Priesthood – Temporal affairs, Perfecting the Saints, Administration of the Sacrament.

          Evetic Priesthood – Caring for the Poor and Needy.

          All – Missionary Work (every member a missionary, after all)

          Let’s say for the sake of hypothesis that the Evetic Priesthood includes being able to consecrate oil and administer blessings by the laying on of hands.

          Is this development, revealed through the living prophet, embraced by the Ordain Women advocates, or are they infuriated because they still aren’t receiving the identical priesthood as the men, and their responsibilities end up looking an awful lot like the Relief Society they already belong to? Are they pleased to receive the power to bestow healing blessings upon the sick, or is it meaningless because they always knew deep down that the Lord always heard and answered the prayers of righteous women regardless of priesthood?

          Just curious about your take.

          • #1 Yay for imagining!

            #2 If their were further gender inequalities, then there would be further agitating. If not, there would not. It’s simple. Knowing exactly what it would be like is not so simple. This is not about chronic dissatisfaction for the sake of it. These are not pretend issues. It just takes a while to see the disparities sometimes. Frog in the pot disadvantage.

          • I don’t know what would happen if President Monson asked and was told “no”, unequivocally. That’s not how the process worked with Kimball. The leadership asked for years (through 4 prophets, I believe) and could not reach an agreement before there was finally a consensus among them to “restore” the priesthood to all worthy males. I could give examples that show a path to continued asking which wasn’t so good (Book of Lehi and Martin Harris) and other examples where sometimes we have to take our time and get the question right and never give up the practice of asking. I know people who have received all types of answers, various and incongruent with each other, sometimes even within themselves. But that is a topic for another time. The only way to really find out what would happen is to have it happen. If God really said no, I believe he would bless me with understanding, or the peace which defies all understanding. At least that has been my experience. But I can only speak for myself.

  11. I find it interesting that articles like this claim that it’s the first time women are allowed to hear the Priesthood session. Okay fine, it’s the first time it’s being broadcast live online and tv, which is great. But the entire session is ALWAYS available in church magazines and online after it’s been given, and it’s open for EVERYONE to read or watch: men, women, children, members, and non-members. There aren’t secret things being revealed to the men and only the men. I think having the session for Priesthood is just fine, just like the RS sessions for women. It allows you to sit and listen/worship/bond with your brothers or sisters, and allows the messages to be crafted or focus on topics more relevant to the specific audience. And if you are interested in what the other session said, you can wait 12-24 hours before the session video is posted online and watch to your delight.

  12. Men and women DO share the load equally. The women who are demanding God change how His Priesthood is run do not want equality. If women are ordained, men will no longer have any unique or valuable contribution that only they can provide, they’ll basically just be a tool occasionally used for procreation.

    And the Priesthood session has been open to women for YEARS. It’s made public almost immediately after it has broadcast.

    Feminists will never be satisfied. They don’t want to be the same as men, they want to be better than men. They want all the blessings and duties that come with being a woman AND being a man, while men will never be able to have both. Many of these feminists, I know for sure, would very much prefer it if they could create children all on their own.

  13. My biggest problem with these feminists is their pride. They really think they will get the Priesthood by protesting during General Conference? They might as well be trying to buy it, like Simon in Acts 8: 18-23. His sin wasn’t just in offering money, it was demanding the power of God simply to suit his own desires. This has never been a worthy desire in men, and the power of the priesthood has never accompanied them while they are in such pride. That women expect to gain the Priesthood this way only shows how little they know about it and how unprepared they are to receive it.

    She also argues that women do not hold equal representation in the Church because the only way to do so is to holdriesthood. This is also false. This was the entire purpose of Joseph Smith ordaining the Relief Society, “turning the key” for us in our own Society, that we might govern ourselves totally independent of the men. It is through the Relief Society that women have an equal voice in the Church. The General Relief Society Presidency is involved on every single major decision making board of the Church, as are Young Women and Primary. The same is true on the local level with the ward council. Women only don’t have a voice in these councils when they don’t sho
    Ordn Women says they don’t represent us in the media. But they can’t talk about their dissatisfaction with the Church and NOT talk about us. We ARE the Church, as much as The Brethren at the top are. And I don’t want these women representing me.

    They obviously do not understand the scriptures on the Priesthood, nor the workings of the Church, and have rejected the place to which they were ordained by the Priesthood, in Relief Society. The fact that they expect God to grant their request is both comical and sad.

  14. What happens to the men? The real question should be; what happens to the children? If women are given the priesthood and then called to be bishop and at the same time the husband is called to be High Priest group leader, both very demanding callings, or a single parent (mother) is called to be bishop etc. then the children are on their own. Direction and teaching in the home is one of our most important responsibilities as parents.
    We all have access to the blessings of the priesthood, there is no inequality. We just have different responsibilities as we follow the Savior and do the work of the gospel.
    My spiritual footing is not determined by what position I hold, but by how I do what The Lord has asked me to do in whatever way He needs me to do it.
    Review Elder Ballard’s talk from the April 2013 conference, he spells it out perfectly about the priesthood with regard to both men’s and women’s roles in it.

    • Men will have to shape up, because we will have more options when staffing wards, branches and stakes. They can handle it, they don’t need to be coddled.

      Children’s needs are more likely to be met when the reality of Elder Packard’s counsel “When you schedule a child, you schedule the whole family…especially the mother” is implemented by said mother.
      Letting women work in the Temple when they have children in the home (and DESPERATELY need to have their bucket filled) will give children an evening with Dad who has been away from them all day. I could go on, and on and ON.

  15. Priesthood in western traditions tends to create environments for abuse of power. Just as more guns is not a sane answer to gun violence, more priesthood is not the answer to the spiritual abuse in engenders. Instead of giving priesthood to women your movement would be much better off taking it away from the men…that would go much further in establishing a more gender egalitarian LDS society.

    • I appreciate your comment, Mike R. I have a friend who feels similarly. She says she does not want “priesthood power,” not because she doesn’t think she can handle it or shouldn’t have it, but because it would still exclusive to Mormons, (albeit not just the “worthy” males.) What would that look like? If things improved in regards to egalitarianism by means of extending the priesthood to all worthy members, it would still cause issues of elitism and marginalization with the rest of humanity. Is any type of power the source of the real problem? And are we better off without it?

      • Thanks Kristine,
        I no longer have a dog in the hunt, but I would think that adopting a Congregationalist piety where this is a seminary trained minister (with lay lead leaders you get what you pay for) would be a great step forward for the LDS Church.

        • Raymond Takashi Swenson

          No minister in any denomination needs the LDS priesthood to exercise power over his or her congregants, or to abuse it. In Protestant congregations, because a person can attend any gathering of his or her denomination, a pastor needs to cultivate some level of personal charisma among the congregation to give them a reason to come (and pay him or her). The pastor gets paid based on how popular he is.

          By contrast, the widely distributed LDS priesthood, and the wide distribution of leadership experience that is created by regular turnover, is a safeguard against individuals acquiring overmuch personal power and prestige. Every bishop knows that on any Sunday he could be released, and the following Sunday be called as Nursery leader or Primary chorister. And he knows that there are five or ten people in the congregation who could capably step into his office at any time, including former bishopric members. Instead of charisma, Mormon bishops have a sense of humor, along with a sense of humility.

          You can have your cult of personality Protestant preachers. I prefer a Mormon leader who knows he does not own the office he holds, and is an amateur in the business of persuading people to do what he wants or to think the way he thinks.

          • You might want to read Lavina Anderson’s published record of spiritual abuse in the LDS Church before making such bold claims about humility on the part of local Bishops/Stake Presidents. In over 14 years as an LDS Church member, I never saw a Bishop be released and become a primary teacher. They retire to the Stake High Council and are the happiest men in their church afterwards. They move up the chain of command, not down and they know it. As a Unitarian I’ve seen a much better way of selecting ministers. Congregations chose a search committee that works with a liaison in Boston. They go through a rigorous year long process building a profile of their individual church including taking a survey to see where they are theologically it is a time of real soul searching which is healthy for the group. Next several prospective candidates are interviewed that would be good matches. They each give a guest sermon over several Sundays and then the congregation comes together and votes on the one that resonates best with them. I know democracy is a foreign concept in the LDS tradition, but we think it produces the best results in most cases.

        • Geraldine, if God’s power was misused in order to oppress and deprive his children of full blessings, should it be on earth? (I am referencing nothing specific, here. This particular comment is not about women and ordination. It is about misuse of power, even and including God’s power, only.) We talk about unrighteous dominion and we say that if a leader abuses his power, he will be called out in heaven. I am wondering if that is enough. I am wondering if we are doing enough regarding ecclesiastical abuse, or if we give humans who hold such power an undue pass too often. And what if the leader never intended to abuse? It is still abuse without accountability. I am wondering generally if power and control is ever a good thing, at any time, anywhere. I am wondering if human ideas of power and control can ever allow for Godly purposes. And while I am aware that there are certain safeguards in place to avoid such problems, I am wondering if patriarchy conveniently and insidiously overlooks them, and if even the best of men our deceived. Because, Geraldine, that has been my personal lived experience.

          As for my activity in Mormonism, what concern is it of yours? Or am I one of those to whom you refer that people on this thread should be more concerned with? Some would consider me active, some would not. I would guess it would vary from bishop to bishop as well, based on the variety of personalities who have served as bishop whom I have known in my lifetime. For me, my identity does not depend on that anymore, so I don’t even have an answer for you, other than you assume much and it’s hardly your concern.

          Peace.

          • If we truly believe that God has restored His church through living prophets and that He continues to administer His kingdom through such, then one needn’t fear that His anointed prophets and apostles are engaging in misuse, oppression, deprivation, unrighteous dominion, ecclesiastical abuse, insidious oversight, and deception.

            That’s not to say that random local leaders might not leave the reservation sometimes, but the church itself is in good hands.

          • Raymond Takashi Swenson

            D&C 121 and the history of the Church make it clear that there have been vain men who have misused their priesthood authority since the beginning of the Church. The Lord does not endorse their selfishness and rebukes them, and tells us that he withdraws his Spirit from them.

            I don’t see any reason to think that women ordained in the priesthood and called to leadership positions would be immune to the personal failings that affect men. Nor any reason why the existence of ordained women would prevent such misuse or make it less likely per se. The hiearchical structure of the Church exists in large part to provide a check on such abuse by enabling us to take concerns to higher levels of authority.

        • There is only one person who any of us need to report to about our activity or lack thereof. And last I checked, it wasn’t you. That makes your whole comment offensive, irrelevant, and condescending.

    • The best strategy to reach moderate open-minded Mormon women who at this time do not want ordination is for the Lord to reveal it to the prophet and for them to respond to the will of the Lord. To the extent that they have personal testimonies consistent with the answers to a temple recommend interview, attempts at persuasion from “the more liberal/progressive-minded women” probably won’t go very far.

      • Tom, are there any examples in the scriptures (ancient and modern) of the prophet being asked for a revelation on a certain subject? I think women asking the prophet for a revelation on this matter is completely consistent with ancient and modern day scripture.

        • I can’t recall ever saying anything to the contrary. If you can find a single comment from me suggesting otherwise, please bring it to my attention so that I can clarify my position. If you cannot, would you be willing to come back and say so?

        • I’m more concerned with truth than originality, but thanks for the scorecard. (You didn’t consider the Evetic Priesthood to be an original thought?)

  16. Women of the Latter Day Restoration movement can already be ordained to (and are) any office of the priesthood. Just not in the LDS church. If you want to keep Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants but enjoy gender equality, check out Community of Christ (formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints). Female ordination was sanctioned by divine revelation in 1984. The first such ordinations took place in 1985. Today, it is clear that female priesthood members have been a massive blessing to the church. The president of the Twelve is a woman (as of April 2013), and we have had a female member of the First Presidency since 2007.

    Check out our leadership overview:

    http://www.cofchrist.org/directory/councils_quorums_and_orders.asp

    Men, women, lots of younger people, lots of diversity.

    Feel like exploring? Check out:

    http://www.latter-dayseekers.org/

    • 14 And there were no gifts from the Lord, and the Holy Ghost did not come upon any, because of their wickedness and unbelief.

      With a clear division…we are of the same conclusion…the Book is true but are we ? And to what degree?

      Simply put …Most on both sides…Have no burning witness of the Lamb of God…If they did they would already know the answer…and this debate would be over…or would it ??

    • Raymond Takashi Swenson

      Of course, there are no temple ordinances, including eternal marriage, or baptism for the dead. And Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon are not given much respect or authority. If the Community of Christ is a package that shows what comes along with ordination of women, I would suggest that it makes such ordination LESS attractive for most Mormons. Indeed, I think the most empowering aspects of LDS worship and doctrine for women are centered in the temple and its ordinances involving women and its promises to women.

      • Yes, Joseph said he wanted to initiate women into the Temple ceremonies to make them “good Masons because Masons know how to keep secrets.” Hmm…ever wonder what secrets he wanted them to keep? Maybe it was that he was sleeping with a lot of them and others were recruiting others for him? There is a lot of spiritual capital in telling someone you are going to make them a God in exchange for their silence about your extra-circular activities. If it looks like a duck and it quacks like a duck….DUCK!

  17. The scriptures say that men and women have different roles. Yes we were created equal, but we were created different. Women are more nurturing because we were created that way, so we could care and nurture our children. I’d say this group would be better pressed trying to reactivate less actives with their spare time than spending time pondering what issues the prophet should petition The Lord with. If you really wanted to participate more fully in the gospel and you have a lot of energy and time, make regular trips to those widow in your wards, the sick, those who really need your help. It is awesome you supposedly had “personal revelation” about this issue, but that’s exactly what it was. I just recall that the prophet receives revelation for the church as a whole. Work to help out the missionaries in ur ward, go out and find people interested in the gospel and leave the prophet to perform his duties within his jurisdiction and you perform urs within ur jurisdiction.

    • That whole line of dren about how women are so much more nurturing has what has been handed to us for centuries to justify trying to keep women as a second class citizens. The church has told us that we are nurturing, therefore we need to stay home with our children, and if they fail, we are to blame. We are nurturing, therefore we are special and loved and put on a pedestal. We are nurturing, so we should let those with XY chromosomes make the decisions, and not worry our pretty little heads off.

      Furthermore, your little passive aggressive bit about personal revelation was uncalled for. First of all, everyone is entitled to revelation about that which is under their domain. That includes themselves and their personal beliefs and feelings. I haven’t seen one person that is a part of OWS saying they have had revelation about the church and that the church should ordain women. What I have seen are people talking about the revelations they have received about what they should do. Yes, personal revelation, and something they are completely entitled to. It’s all over the scriptures, including the 9th AoF. I have received personal revelation about how I should feel about this issue. For you to deny that I have, or that anyone else has means that you are denying the very power and gifts of the priesthood that every person is given, and able to receive. And the very power that you profess to defend.

      • Denying your right to arrive at false erroneous… I want it and I want it this way ANSWERS…. ? Surely you jest. Arriving at half baked….. revelation is the standard in the world. Are your revelations and conclusions wrong? I see arrogant indifference and I can do it myself spilling all over the place.

        And I see it when I look in the mirror lest you feel criticized and or put down.
        When will we all arrive at the same revelation on all subjects? When we hear HIS prayer… calling for oneness…

        The future is bright however… as I have seen the future …we will all become ONE… and peace and understanding… will be complete and universal.

        SO this debate is healthy… as we Openly consider options… and recognize that Maybe JUST maybe we don’t have a clue…

      • Clara, the generally more nurturing characteristics of women has long been established, individual variances notwithstanding. This reality plays no role whatsoever in the equality of women and men in society and before the Lord. Wherever you get your spiel about the blame for wayward children falling in the laps of mothers, it isn’t from the church.

        • “No other success can compensate for failure in the home.” David O. McKay. Most women I have talked to about this quote feel it means that if some person or thing breaks down I their homes, it’s all their fault.

          Obviously anecdote=/=data, and I don’t speak for every Mormon woman, but this is what I’ve heard, and what I’ve felt over the years.

          • If you read that quote in its original context, it becomes fairly obvious that it was meant for whatever parents the child has in the home, whether its two parents or just one, or no parent, but a guardian (aunt, uncle, big brother or sister, grandparent, etc….). It is referring to whomever is responsible for the spiritual well being of the child.

  18. Raymond Takashi Swenson

    There seems to be a popular misconception that the revelation to Spencer W. Kimball on ordination of black male Latter-day Saints was triggered by grass roots agitation among Mormons which in turn motivated President Kimball to make the issue a matter of insistant prayer for months, until that prayer was answered. I was in Salt Lake at the time, attending law school at the University of Utah, and was regularly at the Church Archives doing research on early Mormon legal history. I was there when the announcement was made, and the jubilation was palpable. Frankly, I think almost every Mormon I knew had been concerned about the policy, because it interfered with our ability to share the gospel as effectively as we were called to do, takiong it to “all nations”. I had been involved in teaching a black man in Colorado who joined the Church despite the policy; he told us he had visited many of the churches in Colorado Springs, long a hotbed of Evangelical Christianity, but he was not welcomed at any of them as warmly as he was by the Mormons. I think many adult Mormons knew a black Latter-day Saint who could be blessed by receiving ordination to the priesthood and being called to serve alongside the rest of us. There were black families in the ward where I was baptized in Salt Lake City. I can still remember the pain and confusion I felt as a deacon when I was first told that they could not be ordained like me. And that kind of experience was widespread among the membership.

    By contrast, there was no real movement agitating for ordination of blacks, putting out press releases or demonstrations. The wider criticism of the Church from the general public had largely died away a decade before. The truth is, non-Mormons have only the vaguest notion of what the LDS priesthood is and what it means to Mormons, and once it was clear that the policy did not in any way impair the Mormons’ commitment to equal rights regardless of race, there was no external pressure on the Church about it at all. When the announcement came, no one was able to claim that they had embarrassed the Church with a protest and–presto–the Mormons obeyed immediately.

    So it was not protests and publicity, either external or among the members, that preceded the determined prayersof President Kimball. I think it was the clear example of many Mormons of African descent who were faithful disciples of Christ, both in the US and elsewhere (like Brazil and South Africa) and the yearning of the rest of the members to see them have the blessings of the temple, that worked on President Kimball. Kimball was a man whose father had been a missionary to American Indians, and who loved the Mormons of all ethnicities, including in Latin America and Polynesia and Asia, all of whom WERE being ordained in the priesthood. And he was a man who had come to the leadership of the Church with a clear vision of the need to do everything we could to take the gospel to all mankind on every continent, who knew that there were thousands of people in Nigeria and Ghana who had already testified to the truth of the Book of Mormon and sought to join the Church. There was a clear tension between the policy and the larger imperative to fulfill the Savior’s commission to the apostles.

    So it was not a group like Ordain Women that had a role in the prayers of President Kimball. Rather, it was the 90% of the Church who were ready for the change, including the many faithful black Saints. If you have a goal of getting a result similar to the what happened in 1978, you might consider first what really happened in 1978.

    • I was living in SoCal as a newly converted LDS member in 1978 when Spencer Kimball announced a change in practice to allow Black men to be ordained. As a new member I was very happy that day and was excited to be living when a revelation actually happened. I went to a secular event that night where there were a number of LDS members I knew and I still remember being shocked that they were so down right ambivalent when I talked to them about it. The sense I got was they were not happy at all that the policy had changed…as time went by and I saw bigotry practiced first hand over and over again, I came to understand why the change was not met with the joy had hoped it would be originally. I think that if the LDS church ever did allow women to have the priesthood there wouldn’t be an outpouring of gladness from the majority of Mormons now either.In fact, I would guess a lot of women would think, “Oh my heck, now we will have even more work to do”! In reality, however, they would simply start getting more credit for what they are already doing, but let the men get the credit for.

  19. Michael Worley

    Remember to not assert what will or will not happen outside your stewardship.

    http://www.lds.org/church/news/five-ways-to-detect-and-avoid-doctrinal-deception?lang=eng

  20. So after all the pre-conference hoopla, the net result was seemingly a resounding thud.

    With about a million people residing in Salt Lake County (let alone surrounding areas), of which surely at least a hundred thousand are LDS women, and despite efforts of Ordain Women’s members and sympathizers to drum up support for the gathering to seek admission to the Conference Center for the Priesthood Session, the reported numbers of actual participants ended up being around 130-150 depending upon whether one reads the Salt Lake Tribune or Deseret News.

    Trib: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/56963037-78/women-mormon-church-priesthood.html.csp

    Deseret: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865587795/Women-hear-LDS-Priesthood-meeting-but-not-at-conference-center.html

    My favorite line from Kate Kelly at the end of the Deseret News article, when asked about her impressions of the Priesthood Session, which she listened to via live streaming: “Those messages are not directed to me.”

    Duh?

    • Tom, Thanks for reminding me how relieved I felt 20 years ago when I left the LDS Church that I no longer had to “own it” anymore. When someone used to make are really, really crass comment (like the one you just made) in Elder’s Quorum meetings or Gospel Doctrine class, I felt obliged to offer a rejoinder to try and inject some rational sanity into the moment. Since it is no longer my cross to bear, I’ll just say “thanks” for the thankful smile you just gave me and sense of relief I’m no longer part of an organization that treats half its members with such disrespect.

      • So apparently the only people entitled to express themselves are those outside the church. Active Mormons are expected to bite their tongues thoroughly lest the thin-skinned of the world use them as an excuse or a validation for their theological issues.

        • As I always say, “I don’t care what you think as long as you do…” Theology is much less a problem than your just flat out meanness towards those you otherwise call “brothers and sisters.” But again, I don’t have a dog in the hunt anymore…just compassion for the oppressed in the midst of their oppression.

          • Tom, try something called empathy…reverse the roles and ask yourself what it would be like for you a TBM to have your priesthood withheld (actually stripped away is more historically accurate) and then see if what you have preached isn’t just down right mean.

  21. If any woman thinks that President Monson, of all people, is NOT aware of this small group of women, she is either crazy, or just has no idea what kind of person President Monson is.

    President Monson knows who you are, and I guarantee he cares about you and he cares about what you think you need to be happy. Showing up at the Priesthood session of conference, AFTER calling ahead of time, and being told no, appears to some as nothing more than a publicity stunt to make headlines. This stunt makes the OW group seem like nothing more than a bunch of selfish shallow spoiled temper tantrum throwing brats.

    That being said, I know that is not the case. Most people in the OW have been courteous and respectful and genuinely appear to have good hearts and good intent.

    You petitioned the First Presidency on several occasions now. They know who you are and what you want. I can assure you, those men are not stupid. They know you won’t suddenly change your mind about what you want. Don’t you think they are petitioning The Lord on your behalf?

    And aren’t you also petitioning The Lord?

    OW reminds me of spoiled children. It’s like you will just keep nagging and nagging and nagging and nagging…. let it go for awhile! Give it a rest! Let The Lord handle things in his own church.

    He knows who you are, and how important this is to you. Do you really think his plan is for you to cause bitterness, opposition, and resentment within the church? Because that is what these little movements and stunts end up doing.

    A majority of women in the church right now do NOT want the priesthood. Instead of trying to force a change now, give it a rest. Instead, take steps to find some middle ground between those in the OW (and all feminist Mormons, but we’ll refer to the, as OW for short), and other women who don’t believe in OW (we’ll call them non-ow’s). Non-ow’s seriously hate the idea of getting the priesthood. In hating the idea, most feel anger and resentment towards those in OW. Also the fact that many OWs treat non-ows like they are unintelligent morons doesn’t help matters either.

    So to bring about change within the church, there has to be a real call for change. If you want more women on board, you have to reach out and appeal to a majority of women in the church, not just the feminists.

    That doesn’t mean you try to convert non-ows to feminism, but find a middle ground that you can both share. It will take time and REAL work (sorry, but walking up to a meeting that you already know you will be turned away from isn’t work, isn’t brave, isn’t courageous, and isn’t at all useful to your cause).

    I have up on flowering up my comments, btw. People think I am rude and arrogant, but I just call it as I see it.

    • It took two years for Black students to show up and put up with being geared and spat upon (like you are doing to members of OW) before they were finally served at the Woolworth lunch counters in the 1960s. OW knows what it is doing and understands the history of bringing about social change much better than you obviously do. There were many Black folks who told them that it was wrong to rock the boat and feared it would bring harm to the greater community if they continued in their protest, but those brave students persisted (you might call it enduring to the end) before justice and equality were finally given to them at Woolworth. As Theodore Parker said and was often quoted by Martin Luther King, Jr. “The Arc of the Moral Universe is Long, But it Bends Towards Justice.”

      • Spat upon? A bit exaggerated, don’tcha think? There is no rational comparison between the Civil Rights movement of the 1960’s, and the “subversive activist” agitations (their term, not mine) of the OW movement.

        As Maurine Proctor so elegantly stated in a recent “Open Letter to Kate Kelly and Those Pressing for Ordination”: (see: http://www.ldsmag.com/article/1/13363)

        “You are by profession an international human rights attorney. For your career, you have learned an adversarial paradigm. Your world-view is based on clamoring, arguing and mounting evidence for the causes you believe. It is toe-to-toe, nose-to-nose, making points with contention and argument, reason and will. It’s not just the way of the attorney; it is the way of our times. This is a generation of people trained at divisiveness and attention-mongering for their viewpoint. Our public discourse these days is discordant. That might work well in furthering some causes in a court of law or even in the court of public opinion, but now we are talking about the Church.”

        After a few paragraphs, Proctor goes on to make what I think is the crux of the matter for people on all sides of the question, and which explains why the vast majority of active Latter-day Saints are uncomfortable with the OW movement, preferring to let the Lord lead His church without carping from the sidelines:

        “So I have a hypothetical for you. I wonder if you had the opportunity to have a private meeting with the prophet and were able to press for women’s priesthood ordination and he answered that the Lord had said ‘no’ would that be enough? If you asked him specifically if he had prayed about women’s place in the kingdom and he said, ‘Yes, and what we have reflects the Lord’s answer,’ would that be enough? With those answers, would you disband your group and go home?

        “Would you say to those whose profiles you are gathering, those who are planning to march with you to the Conference Center that the prophet has spoken? Go put your energies somewhere else?

        “I suspect not. This is the heart of what troubles me about your choice. You come from what I believe is a faulty assumption about the Kingdom of God on the earth because you are applying a secular paradigm. In the world, he who has the loudest voice and is clever about applying the most pressure often carries the day. Your agitation for ordination assumes that either the prophets will respond to pressure or that the Lord will. At the very least, it assumes that you have a better idea and are in a superior position to understand what will empower women.

        “It assumes that the prophets are too spiritually dull or backward to see the important questions or to ask them. It assumes that through all the centuries of recorded spiritual history, the Lord forgot his daughters and their development.

        “There is a twist of intellectual dishonesty at the heart of this. You press for priesthood power, I assume, on the grounds that it is truly the power of God on the earth, yet at the same time you refuse to acknowledge that same power to act, discern, and reveal in the Lord’s anointed prophets. The implication of your agitation is that you don’t believe that the prophets act with real authority—the very priesthood power you are seeking for yourself.

        “That just makes no sense. Your motives become suspect. A large gap looms between a question that seeks for expanded understanding and confrontation that seeks for its own way.

        “I think it is the temptation of this fallen world to seek to instruct the Lord. Most of us have times, when assessing our own lives, we are certain we know more clearly than He does what He should do for us and what is necessary for our well-being. On the most personal level, I have found that when I take that approach to the Lord, I become divided from him. It is fundamentally a refusal to comprehend who He is and who I am, his glory which is unspeakable and my own complete dependence on Him even for the breath I draw.

        “How odd it is for the child to seek to instruct the Father. It is the same for any who would seek somehow to right the Church or steady the ark. There is a presumptiveness and arrogance about this, which is troubling. There is also, at its heart, an attack upon the idea that the Church is led by Jesus Christ and his servants.”

        For the vast majority of active Latter-day Saints, I think it really does come down to the question of whether the tactics of OW are tantamount to being “an attack upon the idea that the Church is led by Jesus Christ and his servants.” And for that reason, it shouldn’t be surprising that the movement isn’t warmly embraced.

        • Agitation seems to work well with image sensitive organizations like the LDS church…Black men got the priesthood after years of outside pressure and following the Prop 8 PR disaster, the Mormons have backed off considerably in their avowed hatred of anything gay…the latest example being the changed policy in allowing gay scouts in BSA. BTW, how would LDS women having the priesthood effect you anyway? Would it diminish your view of yourself…make your priesthood somehow less important? It seems to really threaten and touch a nerve with you. That should send up red flags and invite you to some serious self-reflection Tom…just say’n

          • I suppose if the church were led by men, you might have a point. But for the faithful, it remains headed by Christ. You’ve got the blacks in the priesthood thing so warped that it doesn’t even merit the time to refute something you’ll just ignore anyway. As for Prop 8, I was on the front lines in California and it was far from a PR disaster. Convert baptisms actually increased dramatically in the area in the year following. And it is ignorant at best, maliciously lying at worst, to claim that there was ever an “avowed hatred of anything gay.” The church teaches a clear moral standard. Even to the extent that one would interpret that standard as being “anti-gay,” that’s a far different thing from “hatred.”

            With regard to how women holding the priesthood would effect me, that’s actually the wrong question to ask. The correct question is do I support the revealed will of the Lord regardless of which way it should ever fall on the issue. I’m completely good with whatever He decides for His kingdom and His priesthood. I neither desire priesthood for women, nor oppose priesthood for women. I solely desire that His will be done, and that I have the courage to be on His side at all times whatever that may entail.

            Why is it that people who have strong feelings on this matter presume that those not aligning with them must somehow, by default, feel threatened? You couldn’t possibly be more in error.

      • Mike R, how did I spit on the OW, exactly (I mean besides calling them nagging spoiled children throwing a tantrum)?

        What I said was to give the nagging the leaders a rest and focus instead, on finding common ground with other women in the church. What I said was that because the OW represents an extremely small percentage of women in the church, the change they seek is not going to be brought about any time soon (if ever). What I said was that their efforts are only causing more division amongst the women in the church….

        That division is what is so bothersome to me, about the OW movement. How many women who believe the same principles as OW have left, or are going to leave the church, due to the church not bending to the will of the OW?

        If being ordained to the priesthood is necessary for women’s salvation, then it will happen. I don’t see it happening, but if The Lord deems it necessary, then he will bring about that change when the time is right.

        • My comment was in regard to tactics. Social change comes from agitation, not shut up and hope your oppressors someday decide to have compassion. I am no longer a TBM so, arguments about what God may or may not do and who IT talks to who claim to be prophets is not what I was addressing. For me personally, the problem came when my 12 year old son was about to be ordained. It spotlighted how different his experience as a male Mormon was contrasted with my 13 year old daughter. The programs your church offered them were in stark contrast to each other and I loved them both the same, so why would I be complaisant in allowing them to be socialized to accept an organization that proudly treats women as second class citizens? For our family such differences were unacceptable and we left and never looked back. For those that stay, all the power to them and I wish them well, but getting back to what we are discussing, history teaches us clearly that change will not happen spontaneously, it will come from speaking out and being wiling to do it for a long time if necessary.

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  23. The doctrine of the church is that Man was Chosen to hold Priesthood Keys on this Earth. That is the doctrine. That said, we are also taught that through scripture and the temple that Priesthood is eternal and essential for all. We are also given a symbol in the temple, both men and women, which is to remind us of these powers and priesthoods. The author got one thing right here, priesthood will not be given to women in this life, it is not part of His plan. For Celestial Exaltation it may be another matter as there are many priesthood keys not exercised on this Earth but will be needed in heaven. This life is a time to prepare to meet God. He has given us certain roles, responsibilities and organized his Church in such a way as to lead us forward. We must endure to the end in order to be given “all things”.

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