Pragamatically reframing the question of women and the priesthood

Sometime around now, we have had or will have the Sunday School lesson on the priesthood.  If it is like my Sunday School class, then someone (in my case, an elderly man with a walker!) will raise the inevitable question of why women don’t hold the priesthood.  I am not sure whether or not women should have the priesthood, and, ultimately, it isn’t my decision to make.  But I am sure that as much as I would like to see gender issues remain alive within the church, raising the question often produces institutional anxiety and reveals that women themselves are divided on the issue. 

As a comment on FMH recently put it, women seem to fall into three camps: it is sexist that women don’t have the priesthood, women don’t need the priesthood but having it held only by men leads to sexist applications, and there is nothing wrong with the current arrangement.   Given the anxiety and internal division that the question raises, focusing on it strikes me as an unproductive means (even if a potentially desirable end) for Mormon women to achieve the goal of crafting a more meaningful place for women within the church as an organization.  It tends to shut down conversations about gender more than promote them.

More pragmatic might be a strategy that does not demand that the church adopts specific changes, but instead asks the church to collaborate with women in coming up with solutions to the problems that the current situation creates.  Although whether women should have the priesthood is open for debate, what is not open for debate is that under the current system significant numbers of women feel marginalized.  We can argue that these women misunderstand the gospel, but we can’t tell them that they don’t feel what they do.  How they feel is a fact, whether it be that they feel the current system denies women leadership opportunities, causes young women to feel inferior to young men, or creates situations where husbands or fathers can abuse their authority in the home.  And if we would like them to feel differently, then we need to understand what within the church organization and culture has pushed them towards feeling the way that they do and to formulate a better response.

My thought, then, is that women might do better to articulate how they have been made to feel as a consequence certain practices within the church, and then let the church lead the way in trying to find solutions that would address these concerns, whether it might be involving women more in decision making, eliminating rules that make them feel patronized, asking for more revelation on the question of women and the priesthood, or increasing the funding to the Young Women’s program.  And, yes, in the end, maybe women would receive the priesthood.  But none of these intermediate steps present glaring doctrinal challenges, and are thus easier to argue for.

Admittedly, it might be naive of me to believe that the church would listen to and respond to women’s feelings (especially since there are not any women in the priesthood chain of command), but today it strikes me as more effective to present problems that the church can be a partner in solving than to demand a particular solution that authorities might not feel authorized to give.  By asking church leaders for help solving these concerns, they could become partners excited to build a stronger future rather than perceived targets of criticism.   The fact that in my ward a man, not a woman, raised the question of women’s equality gives me hope that what women say will get listened to by the men in their lives and eventually, or by extension, their leaders.

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Comments

  1. Liberal Mormon says:

    As for me it’ll be a cold day in a certain location before the church will even listen to its femal members.

  2. xenologue says:

    This is my first time commenting in the blogosphere on the issue of women and the priesthood. I’ve been thinking about it for 11 years, lurking around in FMH for at least 3 years, and for the most part have refrained from offering my opinion. I guess I’ve felt that anything I have to say has already been said, and more eloquently, by numerous people.

    I’d like to start by raising a question I’ve been thinking about in the last few days, which your post made me think of, Natalie. I wonder just how many women in the “rank-and-file” (please excuse the expression) membership would be willing to openly discuss how they have been made to feel by the patriarchy of the church. I cling to the blogosphere because it helps me to know I’m not alone in how I feel about patriarchy. That is to say, I *don’t* feel comfortable discussing these issues at church with the vast majority of the members, male or female. I can discuss any of my feelings freely with my husband, which is a blessing, and I have a few “real-life” friends (::waves at kris w.::) who have helped in this regard. But they are the exception. At church, we tend, for obvious reasons, to uphold and sustain the status quo. Most of the women I have spoken to in “real life” about women and the priesthood have told me that while they have sometimes questioned patriarchy (although they usually do not use those words), their testimony of the gospel provides comfort enough for them to either set the problem aside, or resolve it in a way that precludes any practical action or discussion of change.

    In the blogosphere, we gather as birds of a feather and feel like we are numerous, but it seems to me as though we are geographically plucked in ones and twos from stakes and wards around the globe. Stakes and wards are the operating units of the church, and so I don’t see how an open discussion about the effect of patriarchy on women in the church could occur in keeping with ecclesiastical hierarchy. I feel as though there is such a strong code of obedience that I will just never know how many women in my own ward feel marginalized in the church, because we’ll never talk about it openly.

    Although it is only anecdotal, I did have an experience a couple of years ago, speaking to a bishop about the problems I was experiencing with the subtle effects of patriarchy. I felt that I could see them clearly in attitude and practice in the ward, and that I felt these effects exercised on me personally in ways I won’t go into here because they’re so very common—an hours’ lurking on FMH would no doubt familiarize anyone with some examples. The bishop, although kind, simply couldn’t see what I was so upset about. We failed to communicate effectively for reasons which were probably as much my fault as his. To his credit, he said he thought maybe I was feeling something like what non-American members of the church feel about the Ameri-cultural (is that even a word?) nature of Mormonism. Others might not notice how this affects us, but we certainly do. Still, I left the meeting no closer to being able to reconcile my problems… not even enough to feel comfortable scheduling a temple recommend renewal (and I still haven’t, two years later).

    Thanks for reading. I hope to be able to continue participating in this dialogue and apologize in advance for the many times I shall plant my feet in my mouth.

  3. I like your main idea, Natalie, which I take to be: “It strikes me as more effective to present problems that the church can be a partner in solving than to demand a particular solution that authorities might not feel authorized to give.” But I’d rethink language like “how they’ve been made to feel” and “the church organization and culture has pushed them towards feeling.” A simple “how they feel” and “how they feel as they participate in church organization and culture” sidesteps a potentially inflammatory tone. I don’t think church organization and culture is a big bad bully that’s making me feel a certain way. (Nor am I suggesting that you do–I’m just saying that conversations like these can quickly unravel due to word choice.)

  4. Natalie, how or whether such a program could ever be implemented or whether any good would come of it, I think your

    women might do better to articulate how they have been made to feel as a consequence certain practices within the church, and then let the church lead the way in trying to find solutions that would address these concerns

    is a brilliant way of approaching it. You avoid most of the causes for heartburn by identifying concrete problems (say, as a trivial example, “Conference tickets are distributed in priesthood meeting, leaving those of us without priesthood-bearing husbands no opportunity to attend Conference”) rather than theoretical (“You think God thinks I’m second class because I don’t have the priesthood”). Concrete problems can be solved. Theoretical ones can only be debated.

  5. Natalie B. says:

    2 – Yeah, I think it is definitely a problem that many women feel unable to articulate their concerns. I find that most of the time when I do, it is in contexts where I feel safe, such as visiting teaching or blogging. In church, I often make my husband make the feminist comment for me (yes, I see the irony there), because I don’t want to be THAT person and somehow it is always less threatening when a man brings up the topic. So, you’ve definitely pointed out a problem.

    4- Thanks, Ardis. I think you have put it even better than me:

    “Concrete problems can be solved. Theoretical ones can only be debated.”

  6. Jon Miranda says:

    LDS women understand when President Benson said to keep your eye on the prize. Exaltation. LDS women understand that they, together with their husbands, along with any children are a unit. LDS women understand that her primary focus is to get her family through mortality safely in order to achieve exaltation. Why don’t they have the priesthood? Who knows?
    Mother Theresa also encouraged women to not long for things of this world but to serve their husbands and their families, to be a handmaiden to the Lord Family life is service and submission but the source of greatest happiness.

  7. Nameless says:

    I really like the idea of identifying concrete problems and agree with Kathryn that word choice is crucial. I have nothing really to add to the thread at this point but look forward to following it to see where it heads.

  8. Nameless says:

    Jon, if “her primary focus is to get her family through mortality safely in order to achieve exaltation” then what happens if some of those family members make choices that will not allow them to be exalted. Then has the LDS woman failed?

  9. xenologue says:

    “Concrete problems can be solved. Theoretical ones can only be debated.”

    Yes. I like this too.

    Question: what happens when a problem is framed by one person as theoretical, and others as concrete?

    The issue of that juggernaut of a word, “presiding”, seems to be a good example of this. I’m sure I don’t need to recapitulate the debate over this word as it pertains to LDS marriages, and the oft-discussed differences between its meaning, implications, and applications.

    I suppose the situation would be most difficult if those who have power to make concrete changes are the same ones who frame the problem as theoretical, while those who are at the mercy of the policymakers are the ones who see the problem as concrete.

  10. Jon Miranda says:

    Nameless:
    We all have our agency.

  11. Kevin Barney says:

    I’m sure no. 2 is correct that many, probably most women would not feel comfortable initiating this kind of a conversation.

    The irony is that in my experience, most bishops would be very open to it. They don’t want sisters in the ward to feel bad about the way the programs of the church are administered, and if people can bring forward constructive suggestions to improve things, the bishops I’ve known would be all ears and appreciative for the feedback.

  12. Some serious eye-rolling goin’ on here in response to #6.

  13. LDS women understand that some commenters are clueless.

  14. If you don’t succeed within the church, keep the pressure for equality without. Just my gut feeling, but I highly doubt we could have such a conversation like this one if it were not for the openness of our society and the push for equality among genders these past 70-100 years. Change society around the church and the church will eventually be filled with members of that changed society.

  15. hopefully LDS women understand that not all LDS men are as clueless as #6.

  16. Liberal Mormon,
    Obviously, you mean my freezer, where it is already cold. Don’t be stupid.

  17. “LDS women understand when President Benson said to keep your eye on the prize. Exaltation.”

    In other words, the quality of this life doesn’t matter because we’re supposed to be living for the next one.

  18. Nameless says:

    #17 apparently only LDS women are to be living for the next life. Jon didn’t specify what the focus should be for LDS men.

  19. Naismith says:

    “Most of the women I have spoken to in “real life” about women and the priesthood have told me that while they have sometimes questioned patriarchy (although they usually do not use those words), their testimony of the gospel provides comfort enough for them to either set the problem aside, or resolve it in a way that precludes any practical action or discussion of change.”

    And this is why I don’t really fit into any of the categories that Stephanie suggested. I do believe the church is inspired. I believe priesthood is the power of godliness, and is used by women in their callings, including temple ordinances. It doesn’t belong to one gender. And I think that abuses of power are rare. I believe in the patriarchal order, and I’m not a feminist.

    But I have no tolerance for mindless sexism, and I speak up at every turn. I regularly bring up that we should not confuse a penis with the priesthood–and I say it just like that. When stereotypes are perpetuated (like the YM going to college night for an activity, but not the YW), I speak out about it. I don’t harbor the resentment that many women experience, because I do something about it.

  20. Jon didn’t specify what the focus should be for LDS men.

    Xbox and pr0n?

    (JUST KIDDING.)

  21. Phouchg says:

    #6 is probably the product of women who do not ask questions such as those being asked here.

  22. Steve Evans says:

    As horrible as #6 sounds, it’s still an attitude and common belief that we need to deal with in a pragmatic and sensible way if ever we are to advance the issues raised in Natalie’s post. #6 might sound like a troll, sure — but only in our internet mormon context. Otherwise #6 might sound like a SP, bishop or garden-variety mormon; accordingly, learning how to explain and move forward in the face of such responses is essential.

  23. xenologue says:

    Naismith,

    I really hope you don’t feel slighted by my representation of most women I’ve spoken to in my wards. It really wasn’t intended in a condescending way. I was trying to use value-neutral language to describe what I perceived as their viewpoint. I agree with much of what you said about your own view of women and the priesthood, although certain aspects of the patriarchal order bother me. I’m trying to work on articulating those problems here.

    And I also speak up against what I characterize as “mindless sexism”. As a YW leader I see ample opportunities to do so. I just stumble when it comes to working through the theoretics of gender relations in the church. I hope I haven’t offended you in the process.

  24. Ron Madson says:

    Why is it that women do not have the Priesthood?

    Pres. Hinckley provided the answer in an interview on Nov. 9. 1997 in Australia:

    “there has been no agitation for that..”

    Does that mean if we “agitate” as was done during 60s and 70s for blacks and the priesthood then there is a chance for such a change?

  25. I like the spirit of this post, Natalie B., but I don’t know if I buy it.

    In my experience, grievances have always been quickly addressed. When I was YW president, I always had the Bishop’s ear, and if I ever felt like my girls were being slighted in any way, he went out of his way to compensate for it. He also knew in depth about my own personal feminist angst, and was very accommodating to it. He eliminated a lot of what some have referred to as “mindless sexism.” I was lucky in that my objective experiences were often much less painful than the reported experiences of other women.

    However, it didn’t change my actual status in the church, or the status of other women… it changed only the way a few women/girls experience their status in the church. If we only pinpoint “symptoms”, and not their doctrinal/pseudo-doctrinal underpinnings, we will eventually mask the actual inequities in those teachings so well that they will be ever more difficult to finally root out. If I actually want to see my church and my theology, which I take full ownership of, reflect more fully God’s truth, I have to be willing to critically reflect on it and engage others in that process.

    Call me a revolutionary, but I generally don’t think small, reformist steps contribute to meaningful structural change. If that’s not your goal, great. But if it is….

    Also, I used to make inflammatory comments to express my opinion in church settings, but I’m still too new in my ward to push that button too much. :) Give it a few more months, perhaps.

  26. Terrakota says:

    asking for more revelation on the question of women and the priesthood

    My understanding is that the priesthood arrangement is an eternal principle. It was not set up by the Church, or even by God. It was before, and will continue after. And men can’t have children. This is all reconciled through marriage.

  27. Confutus says:

    One of the critical questions one should ask is whether the Priesthood is of God, or whether it is of men.
    If it is of God, then a major change will only come from God by revelation, to those who have been called to preside and are authorized to receive revelation for the church. In this case, argumentation, lobbying, and agitation are likely to accomplish nothing.
    If it is of men, then it is a false priesthood and good for nothing except gratifying one’s pride and vain ambition.

  28. Floyd the Wonderdog says:

    A feminist sister in my ward (whom I respect greatly) approached me when I was bishop and asked what I thought about women and the priesthood. When I told her that women would receive the priesthood, she was incredulous. I asked her to pay very close attention when she attended the temple the next time. Afterwards, she said she was both shocked and comforted at the same time. Now she knows that although individuals may feel that women will never receive the priesthood, God has other plans.

    If you would like a revelation about women and the priesthood, attend the temple and pay close attention.

  29. Naismith says:

    “Call me a revolutionary, but I generally don’t think small, reformist steps contribute to meaningful structural change. If that’s not your goal, great. But if it is….”

    I totally agree, and that was exactly my reaction upon reading the original post. Even if the abuses were resolved, the system would seem flawed to some who want a more radical restructuring.

    However, as you note, speaking does help get rid of the abuses described in point 2 of Stephanie’s comment. Which is why I don’t actually fit in any of her categories.

  30. Nameless says:

    I regularly bring up that we should not confuse a penis with the priesthood–and I say it just like that.

    This is something that has bothered me for quite some time. For example: “The priesthood will take down the chairs after Stake Conference.” Or “We appreciate the priesthood directing traffic for Stake Conference.” I think this goes back to the original post and some of the early comments about the importance of words and how they are used.

    While I agree with Natalie B. that there is some danger in masking the root of the problem by only addressing symptoms, I think that being more mindful of these small issues actually brings more awareness to the issue. The bishop Natalie worked with during her time in YW is light years ahead of the bishop I had as a YW. I don’t think my bishop even recognized there was an issue let alone made an effort to address any of them.

  31. Terrakota says:

    I asked her to pay very close attention when she attended the temple the next time.

    I did wonder about this word in the initiatory, and I thought that it’s through the husband’s priesthood that it happens. But now I think maybe that’s not so. Otherwise how do women officiate in the temple? What’s that authority?

  32. While women do not hold office in the priesthood, they can hold the priesthood. When a man and woman are sealed together, they both receive the Patriarchal Priesthood.
    Pres Packer explained this way:
    “I close with a parable.

    Once a man received as his inheritance two keys. The first key, he was told, would open a vault which he must protect at all cost. The second key was to a safe within the vault which contained a priceless treasure. He was to open this safe and freely use the precious things which were stored therein. He was warned that many would seek to rob him of his inheritance. He was promised that if he used the treasure worthily, it would be replenished and never be diminished, not in all eternity. He would be tested. If he used it to benefit others, his own blessings and joy would increase.

    The man went alone to the vault. His first key opened the door. He tried to unlock the treasure with the other key, but he could not, for there were two locks on the safe. His key alone would not open it. No matter how he tried, he could not open it. He was puzzled. He had been given the keys. He knew the treasure was rightfully his. He had obeyed instructions, but he could not open the safe.

    In due time, there came a woman into the vault. She, too, held a key. It was noticeably different from the key he held. Her key fit the other lock. It humbled him to learn that he could not obtain his rightful inheritance without her.

    They made a covenant that together they would open the treasure and, as instructed, he would watch over the vault and protect it; she would watch over the treasure. She was not concerned that, as guardian of the vault, he held two keys, for his full purpose was to see that she was safe as she watched over that which was most precious to them both. Together they opened the safe and partook of their inheritance. They rejoiced for, as promised, it replenished itself.

    With great joy they found that they could pass the treasure on to their children; each could receive a full measure, undiminished to the last generation.” (Ensign, Nov 1993, For Time and All Eternity).

    In this way, man and woman share the highest level of priesthood power and authority, while having separate responsibilities therein.

  33. Randall says:

    A true story to support Natalie’s point:

    Back in 2001 I was madly in love with a devout Mormon. She wanted to marry in the temple while I hadn’t had a temple recommend for many years due to testimony concerns.

    I met with the branch president of the local single’s branch to see if it were possible to bridge the gap. He was very game to the discussion and asked me about the issues that led to my disaffection. I informed him that my views about women’s rights and gay rights were not in harmony with the gospel.

    His answer (and this is as close to word-for-word as I can recall) was “Well, the feminist issue is easy to resolve, I concur with what Rush Limbaugh says, ‘feminists are just a bunch of angry, ugly women'”.

    I got his signature on my piece of paper, but in my heart he had lost all credibility as God’s representative to the women in the branch.

    So, in Natalie’s spirit of collaboration, I submit a proposal that at church we disavow all references to Rush Limbaugh’s opinions during discussions of women’s rights.

    Do I have a second?

  34. Second!

  35. One way to pragmatically go about solving part of the problem is for the church as a whole (so not just at a ward level) to make a concerted effort to include women (not just tokens) in a meaningful way in meetings, boards, planning committees etc. This way more women can be involved in making decisions and providing input. Much of the institutionalized sexism is not necessarily a direct result of men having priesthood, but of not thinking to include people of differing viewpoints and perspective in different discussions. While I do believe the GAs etc are inspired, their inspiration is coming through their own cultural lens.
    Also, there needs to be a dramatic shift in the YW program. The radical in me wants to dump scouts and give both groups the same curricula. I don’t buy this separate but equal program. My membership today is based on loving parents who let me not participate in YW. At a young age I was constantly enraged with the injustices I felt in the youth program. My mom said I could opt to go to church and not the youth part–this helped to temper the anger of a youth who thought she knew it all.
    We also need to work with our definition of women in the church. The emphasis on motherhood as led to a restricted view of women. Although I am a mother, I am much more, just as my husband is much more than a priesthood holder.

  36. Sharon LDS in Tennessee says:

    Personally I have found the whole issue becomes mute and not even a tiny issue..WHEN the individual is living up to all HER potential spiritually…that the endowment that comes from obedience, faithfulness, FAITH being the key here, trusting Elohim as know what He is doing in the order of things FOR NOW.
    The gifts of understanding through personal revelation does for that individual thorough explanation and satisfies their longings…FILLING them with enough gifts and rewards here and now, so that ….they see NO reason or NEED for an official pronouncement of “Priesthood” beyond that which is available NOW in the Temple of our Lord.
    Endowments of LIGHT and TRUTH from above come from submission and faith, diligence and obedience, not political pressures…MAKING the church do what WE think should be HERE and now. Waiting upon the Lord does bring much GREATER insights and understanding about this whole issue. I would encourage us all to keep in mind that God the Father KNOWS what He is doing about why it is the way it is NOW! Have we all prayed…on our knees….for that testimony / witness of the WHY we don’t have a in your face open everyday label of holding the Priesthood exactly like the men are charged with???????????
    PEACE and patience can be bestowed by waiting upon the Lord, not waiting inpatiently for men to fix our mortal understanding and desires.
    Love to All

  37. Kellie, you said, “The emphasis on motherhood as led to a restricted view of women. Although I am a mother, I am much more, just as my husband is much more than a priesthood holder.”

    I find this perspective interesting. . .I’m not sure I understand the thinking. My worldview seams to be the reverse. I am a man and my greatest ambition in life is to be a good father. *Everything else I do (career, priesthood, etc.) is an appendage to or in service of that great ambition. Fatherhood and Motherhood are the most exalted and important positions of all. . .without them nothing else would really matter.

    I am much, much more than an American man. I am much more than my chosen profession. I am much more than my education. I am much more than any worldly social status I may have gained. If any of those things are damaging my role as a loving father. . .I need to find something to replace them.

  38. Sharon LDS in Tennessee says:

    Afterthought: an example of what I mean’t about why ask for more IF we are not living up to what we already have?

    GIFT of being ordained with the GIFT of the Holy Ghost….
    Do we NOW have His presence daily….being led and shown ALL what we should do, where we should go…like in 2 Nephi 32…almost the whole CHPTR?
    Are we FULL of the FRUIT of the Holy Ghost…as outlined in 2 Thessalonians Chpt 5….PEACE, JOY, LOVE, LONGSUFFERING, etc. ?????????
    Are we living up to our other covenants?
    Why should we expect MORE now, IF we are NOT living up to what we already have is the basic question? Is that not fair to ask.
    Since MOTHERHOOD is much more sacred than Priesthood office exactly as a man has, (not the Temple Pat. Preist. that we DO have IF faithful)……are we raising our children from babyhood to KNOW Jesus, to be full of LOVE, and all other godly attributes?……in other words, have we become FULL of all the attributes of an Eternal Mother yet…..????
    Again, is it wise to ask for MORE or DIFFERENT, while yet incomplete with what was already given to us as females?
    Love to All

  39. PaulW,

    Hmmm… My thinking is that the social construct of our church allows for you to have all of those roles, but the word used to describe you is priesthood holder. You rarely hear the word fatherhood in church (or society). Fatherhood is kind of a bonus–you mean he works, serves, and watches his children–score!! I agree with you that you shouldn’t let worldly constraints damage your role as a father nor should I allow them to damage my role as a mom. Women are not socially provided this luxury of various roles. Women are restricted to just the one role in our definition. I feel, that this is part of the reason being single, divorced, childless is such a struggle for many women. Men also struggle with the above, but the burden is felt strongly by the sisters. A woman who is never mother is not the same as a man who is not a father–the man is still a priesthood holder.

  40. Steve Evans says:

    Sharon, if you CONTINUE to use your CAPITAL LETTERS in such a way I will be forced to BAN YOU.

  41. AspieMom says:

    From: “An American Prophet’s Record: The Diaries and Journals of Joseph Smith”

    On April 28, 1842 Joseph showed the women of the newly formed “Female Relief Society” how they would “come in possession of the privileges, blessings and gifts of the Priesthood” (p. 244). Apparently this did take place, for on Saturday, October 7,1843 “Hiram and his wife were blessed, ordained, and anointed [to the fulness of the priesthood]” (p. 418). Later, on Sunday October 23, “William Marks and wife anointed [to fulness of the priesthood and quorum of the anointed] 24 present” (p. 423)

    From D&C 107:10

    10 High priests after the order of the Melchizedek Priesthood have a right to officiate in their own standing, under the direction of the presidency, in administering spiritual things, and also in the office of an elder, priest (of the Levitical order), teacher, deacon, and member.

    Emphasis on MEMBER. Women are members.

    In the temple we are told we will be Priestesses….sounds like having the priesthood, not to mention that in the temple women officiate in priesthood ordinances.

  42. Sharon LDS in Tennessee says:

    Little “ditty poem” describing my last post:
    If you go to a table as guest there to eat;
    And the plate that He offered was not full or complete;
    You ate every crumb, you wiped your plate clean;
    But you left that good table still hungry and lean.
    You thanked your kind host, you were gracious and then;
    You went longing for filling your being again.
    That feeling is honest, your desire be fair;
    but don’t ask for more “food” IF you had refused ALL that was there!
    We need to be careful and consume ALL He gives;
    Before we are greedy, ungraciously complain.
    Partake given nourishment, provision and gift.
    Then our HOST will give seconds with bounty that fills.

  43. Steve, how ELSE would you PROPOSE that she SIGNAL which of her WORDS are IMPORTANT? If you’ve got ANOTHER METHOD we’d VERY MUCH like to HEAR it.

  44. Steve Evans says:

    There once was a COMMENTER named Sharon
    Who rolled in a vintage LeBaron
    Acting hoighty-toight
    As if she were Jon Voight
    But her capitalization was certainly errin’.

  45. The BCC perma called Steve
    Has but one trick up his sleeve:
    When you look at him sideways
    He’ll mock you in snide ways
    And none too politely ask that you leave.

  46. Terrakota says:

    # 39 Women are not socially provided this luxury of various roles. Women are restricted to just the one role in our definition.

    I like President Hinckley’s words on that:

    “The whole gamut of human endeavor is now open to women. There is not anything that you cannot do if you will set your mind to it. You can include in the dream of the woman you would like to be a picture of one qualified to serve society and make a significant contribution to the world of which she will be a part.

    I was in the hospital the other day for a few hours. I became acquainted with my very cheerful and expert nurse. She is the kind of woman of whom you girls could dream. When she was young she decided she wished to be a nurse. She received the necessary education to qualify for the highest rank in the field. She worked at her vocation and became expert at it. She decided she wanted to serve a mission and did so. She married. She has three children. She works now as little or as much as she wishes. There is such a demand for people with her skills that she can do almost anything she pleases. She serves in the Church. She has a good marriage. She has a good life. She is the kind of woman of whom you might dream as you look to the future.

    For you, my dear friends, the sky is the limit. You can be excellent in every way.”

  47. AspieMom says:

    The Priesthood is only for men.
    So we’ve been told again and again.
    Yet, when I search, pray and ponder,
    My mind starts to wonder
    To D&C 107, verse 10!

  48. #35. I agree that a simple, seemingly painless step is to include women in ward leadership meetings. Every week as I sit in PEC (“priesthood executive committee”) I wonder why the Young Men’s president participates every week while the Young Women’s president is only invited once a month (to “ward council”). Elder’s Quorum and High Priest group leadership are there every week but Relief Society president is invited only half of the time. These facts completely baffle, especially since we often find ourselves asking a man married to a young women or relief society leader a question about those organizations. A no-brainer to have them come and contribute regularly and fully, IMO. Of course, sometimes I pine to not be there myself…but at least I have a chance to shoulder the load.

  49. There have been times when both my husband and I have been in some turmoil. He has given me blessings, and I have longed to give him a blessing. I believe I have the power to do that, based on faith. I think the image of a man and a woman blessing their children together is beautiful. I wonder if we simply aren’t living up to our privileges–if we could already do that but just don’t. At a recent sealing I attended, the sealer said to the bride and groom, “And now [bride’s name] holds the priesthood. She holds it with you. You two hold the priesthood together.”
    I have never heard specific instructions to NOT participate in blessings. Do they exist? (Oh, and I capitalized NOT to get Steve’s attention and to force emphasis.)

  50. This is purely my understanding, but I do not think it wise to teach that women will hold the priesthood. If one truly listens carefully to what is taught in the temple, the promise is not that women will hold the priesthood the way men currently hold it. It is similar, but not the same. Women officiate in the temple under the direction of the temple presidency—men who wield the priesthood. Men officiate in the priesthood under the authority and direction of their respective leaders—other men who wield the priesthood. The only mortal person who wields all the priesthood power operates under the direction of Christ himself, who operates under the direction of the Father.

    When one looks at this structure of the priesthood, and prays to be taught by the Spirit how the pieces of men, women, fatherhood, motherhood, priest/priestesshood fit together, and studies scripture with that in mind, one can gain a better understanding of priesthood power, the bonds between people and God, man and woman, and what things of eternal significance the priesthood symbolizes. It is an understanding that creates a whole other category than the three described above: a category of person that sees human perception of power as completely irrelevant to priesthood power.

    If that seems too vague and esoteric, I’m sorry. It is difficult to discuss these things in a public forum with any shade of clarity. Language doesn’t really suffice.

  51. Sharon LDS in Tennessee says:

    thank you slverrain – so much- for putting it much better than i.
    i was sincere and caring with my post, but do (caps) understand that i err in parts or tone) of my messages.
    yours was not vague or esoteric, and i see your words description of “the person that sees human perception (not potential) of power as completely irrelevant to priesthood power”…as a whole bag of interesting things to know about and discuss! “we live far below our potential”. yes?
    bouncing off each other is gooooooood exercise!

  52. Women wanting the priesthood – be careful what you ask for, you just might get it!

    I think anyone willing to sholder the responsibility and take a healthy chunk of the work load should be able to.

  53. #50. “It is an understanding that creates a whole other category than the three described above: a category of person that sees human perception of power as completely irrelevant to priesthood power.”

    I understand what you are getting at and think your fourth category of attitude is valid, perhaps ideal (have to think on that…). I still think a person with that attitude might find disagreeable certain practices/policies carried out in the church by others who might not have captured your vision fully (i.e. who aren’t perfect). Even within your framework, the original post has much to offer in terms of identifying improvements that we can make together.

  54. Eric Russell says:

    Natalie, a long, sad lesson has been learned over the years that you can’t reframe any question in the bloggernacle. Everyone besides Nate Oman who has tried it has failed. Certain key words bring the nutters out of the woodwork, and there’s nothing you can do about it. It doesn’t matter what you said about those words, the comments will inevitably return to the same form they have always been.

  55. AspieMom says:

    52:
    Are you kidding? Spend a week with the Relief Society President, and other female auxillary leaders, and then tell me about “shouldering the responsibility”.

  56. OneOfTheNutters says:

    JM (52), I can’t believe you would say that. Without the Relief Society, the Church would stop dead in its tracks.

  57. Kristine says:

    Eric speaks truth.

    The other sad thing that becomes apparent in every bloggernacle discussion of women’s roles (at home or in church) is that there’s absolutely no need for men to put women down or tell them they can’t have more influence, respect, etc. because there are plenty of women around who are terrific at keeping anyone who voices concerns in “her place,” usually with a good deal more hostility than any man ever shows on the subject.

  58. Alright, so #46 quotes Pres Hinckley “There is not anything that you cannot do if you will set your mind to it.” I guess that would be his support of women seeking the priesthood?

    All sarcasm aside, I found the prophetic encouragement of an educated, RM, working mother as an example wonderful. Thank you for posting that, Terrakota!

  59. Cort, #48–
    The CHI leaves the door open for local church leaders to have the women present in PEC meetings. I believe it says something to the effect that they “may” be invited by the bishop to attend. Twenty years ago, when I was serving as a ward Relief Society president, my bishop had me attend all PEC meetings.

  60. Margaret, I think the closest to a discouragement of women’s giving blessings to husbands or others by the power of faith (and love) is a letter from Joseph Fielding Smith to the President of the general relief society in the early 1940s. J. Stapley could speak more authoritatively about that.

    I don’t think the teachings of JFS’ father (Joseph F. Smith) and of Joseph Smith himself that it was acceptable and a good thing for women to give blessings has ever been officially and explicitly revoked.

    Most women I know who do not wish to receive the priesthood would not object to receiving more formally authority to participate in giving priesthood (or faith) blessings–that is not the part to which those women object. It is, quite frankly, that they would prefer to leave much of administration of the Church to the men, including the endless (often pointless) meetings. Come to think of it, I agree, and I think that this “blessing” of priesthood ought to be shared–maybe men and women should alternate having this “blessing” of the priesthood, say 5 years at a time.

  61. #59. Good to know. I’ve seen similar invites work in previous wards to great effect as well but I figured it was innovative bishop-ry (which didn’t bother me a bit). If the handbook allows it, it’s a shame that it’s not widespread practice. Another case of tradition masking as principle I suppose.

  62. xenologue,

    I hope your feelings about the priesthood or the “patriarchy” of the church are not keeping you from being able to attend the temple. I hope you can get that recommend as soon as possible. Ultimately, when mankind cannot understand our concerns, or they choose not to understand them, we can count on someone: God. The temple allows us to be closer to Him. I pray that you may be able to go back to the temple soon.

    Steve Evans,

    Do people really get banned from this blog for using capital letters to emphasize their words? Don’t you think that is a bit exaggerated (not to say ridiculous)? Don’t you think you may be letting it strike a nerve too much?

    Just saying. Maybe you were being sarcastic, but I think your stance is overly and unnecessarily apprehensive. Ok, now that I have criticized a permablogge… a god of the bycommonconsent realm, go ahead and ban me now. :)

    1:”So how come you got banned from that blog?”
    2:”Oh, I used capital letters to emphasize my words.”
    1:”Oh well, you got some nerve, how dare you?”

    :)

  63. Manuel, we do ban people for being belligerent asses, if that’s your question. Go ahead and see if I lie.

  64. No, clearly that was not my question. But no need for the insult. I understand if you are having a bad day, we all have them. Hope you can lighten up and not take things so personally. Life is good! :)

  65. Have it your way.

  66. #55 and #56,

    Looks like the humor didn’t come through in my post.

    re #55: It appears from your perspective that Women already shoulder a major portion of the responsibility in the church. Why then would they want more? (nothing wrong with wanting more. Personally, I could go for less responsibilities and be happy!)

    re #56: I completely agree. But if women were to have the priesthood in place of the relief society, then I’m assuming the church would drop dead in its tracks, no? So what would be the benefit?

    However, this brings up a point I never considered before. With the issue of women having the priesthood, would that be in addition to the responsibilities they already have, or in place of them?

    Do they want a mixture of relief society and priesthood? Do they want to keep them separate or do away with the R.S. altogether? Do they just want in on the fun and excitement of disciplinary councils? A chance to be in charge for once?

    Personally, I’m all for the priesthood being extended to every worthy individual regardless of gender as long as they are willing to share equally in all the responsibilities it brings.

  67. AspieMom says:

    Why would holding the priesthoold mean giving up the Relief Society? The power of the priesthood is not the “organization” of the men in the church. The priesthood is a power that assists men in their duties. That same power could come in useful to women who are already serving. It doesn’t need to be an either/or kind of thing. I am not picturing a female priesthood with quorums, etc. I see it more as women being empowered to bless the lives of the people they are already serving, in the callings they already hold.

  68. StillConfused says:

    I think if women are going to get the priesthood, they have to be prepared to get it as it currently is given to the men. No picking and choosing. I don’t think you could continue to have Relief Society because that is a gender based group. I am not sure how to be half gender-neutral.

  69. Natalie B. says:

    I’m somewhat perplexed that some people appear to think that women are doing less church work than men or are somehow less prepared. In my experience, RS tends to do most of the work already and there tends to be more active female than male members (so much so, that one reason that I hear repeated in church for why women don’t hold the priesthood is that if they did, then they would take over all the roles).

    I would actually welcome the opportunity to attend leadership meetings. Believe it or not, I like them.

  70. AspieMom says:

    StillConfused, I think you are confusing the priesthood power with the organization of men in the church. This group of men does much for the church. Do men who hold no callings cease to hold the priesthood? No. The organization of women in the church also does much good. But they must perform their duties without benefit of priesthood power. Visiting Teachers are often the only church representatives allowed into certain homes. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a sister in one of those homes could receive a blessing from her Visiting Teachers?

    Please don’t misunderstand me. I am not wanting a leadership calling. I have served in a Relief Society Presidency, so I know the labor involved. My father was a bishop twice, so I know of the labors involved there, as well. I don’t think any of the women in this conversation are seeking for authority. Who in their right mind would covet such a calling? Yes, those callings come with blessings. But they are often thankless, difficult, and exhausting. I think we just want to serve the Lord, and desire any heavenly assistance to that end.

  71. Deborah the Prophetess says:

    Here is an idea for a first step: get rid of the Beehive-MiaMaid-Laurel Young Women’s program.

    At age 12, each worthy girl is set apart (not ordained) to the calling (not office) of a Deaconess- with the understanding that her responsibilities are to include, among others, “watching over the Church”, keeping the meetinghouse in good order, and serving as ushers in parallel with the Deacon’s Quorum responsibilities.

    At age 14, each worthy girl is set apart to the calling of a Teacher in the Young Men/Young Women’s Organization, with the understanding that her responsibilities are to include teaching the gospel—and they are each to take turns teaching the gospel to the other young men and women, under the direction of their adult advisors.

    At 16… well, Priestess sort of implies holding the priesthood. Is there a better word? But the point is that the Young Women could be more prepared from an early age to assume real responsibility in the Church without actually being ordained to priesthood offices.

  72. AspieMom says:

    Deborah, that’s all fine, but it still blurs the line between the power of the priesthood and the organization of people. Let me put it this way: A 19 year old Elder has as much priesthood power and an apostle. He just doesn’t have the same keys, or authority as the apostle. Likewise, a woman could hold some priesthood power, but only have the authority to use it within a defined realm.

  73. AspieMom says:

    Natalie, I agree, and I really enjoyed your post.

  74. Reading the last 60 comments in one sitting may overemphasize for me the number of people who still equate priesthood for men with marriage and motherhood for women.

    Hogwash. And I don’t care how many general authorities have said it — it’s still hogwash.

    Good men hold the priesthood regardless of their marital status, regardless of whether or not they are fathers.

    Good women without husbands and without children have no particular place in the church; we’re just background noise, just seat fillers. I *have* had a calling for the past few months that gives me an opportunity to stretch just a little — the first such calling I’ve had since I returned from my mission 25 years ago this month. A quarter of a century is a long time to be invisible, unused, and unwanted in an institution that is as significant to my life as the church is.

    The church is not yet fully organized, and will not be, until women who are neither wives nor mothers have some function where we can contribute. The first step toward that is to stop making us invisible by equating marriage and motherhood to priesthood. There is no place in that schema for us.

  75. Nameless says:

    I am also confused by the idea that not having the priesthood somehow means less responsibility. From my experience it just means somehow having less authority or credibility maybe? I think this can be subtle. An example of to what I refer was evident on the BCC poll several weeks back when the question was whether members of the 12 were somehow more righteous than everyone else. Someone pointed out that singling out the Q12/priesthood holders automatically excluded 50% of the church population from consideration. I wish the discussion could return to what Ardis touched upon in #4….concrete problems created by the current cultural structure and ways to address them.

  76. Well, there is the oath and covenant (D&C 84:33-41) that comes with the priesthood, which lays formal obligations on priesthood holders that the rest of us do not have until we are endowed. At least during that window, not having the priesthood *does* mean less responsibility.

  77. Naismith says:

    “Good women without husbands and without children have no particular place in the church; we’re just background noise, just seat fillers.”

    In my ward, they’ve served as Relief Society presidents and Primary presidents. We also have a single guy in the bishopric.

    So that seems like one of those “could work better” things.

  78. I just saw part of Oprah interviewing people at the polygamist ranch that was raided. It is somewhat of a shock to hear the men and women roles as they define them. That was the way it was in the Mormon church a hundred years ago we have come a long way but in looking how women are treated at work it is clear we have a long way to go.

    Anybody that says women are equal in our church today is crazy. Even the women discriminate other women. The approach suggested here is the only approach in the church that I have seen work when problems exist and would help push the dialog forward I believe.

  79. Don’t think that anything about the FLDS lifestyle is anything like what it was in the LDS community a century ago. In fact, be very, very sure that it is vastly different.

    We’ve come a long way, but our starting point was nothing like the modern fundamentalists.

  80. Kristine says:

    Ardis said: “The church is not yet fully organized, and will not be, until women who are neither wives nor mothers have some function where we can contribute. The first step toward that is to stop making us invisible by equating marriage and motherhood to priesthood. There is no place in that schema for us.”

    Amen and huzzah. That’s a banner I’d happily carry into battle!

  81. Thomas Parkin says:

    Late to the discussion … I just want to transplant a comment I made on Mormon Matters recently to see if it ferrets anything out here, at the marginally less heretical BCC.

    My guess is that receiving the Priesthood – alone – wouldn’t solve the problem with the equality of women in the church. (Witness this: even without deep set reactions to gender, all men who hold the Priesthood are certainly not viewed equally simply because they do hold it.) Men who tend to look past women would continue to do so. Women in leadership positions would get the ear of the same men, and women, that they do now – and would fail to get the ears of the same folks that let them down now. Those women and men, who, for whatever reasons, have a tendency in themselves to minimize the contributions of women would now be potentially minimizing the work of their executive leaders. I’m not saying these things as an argument against women holding the Priesthood – a subject on which I’m agnostic and dispassionate – only that holding Priesthood offices would not solve the problem alone.

    I think there are things that could be done quite easily now – some without church approval – that would foreground the fact that baptized, confirmed, covenant-keeping women have the exact same right to spiritual gifts as baptized, confirmed, covenant keeping men.* How about having the Relief Society Presidency sitting on the stand in Sacrament Meeting, opposite the Bishopric? (I would love to hear from the pulpit someone excusing the Relief Society President because she is traveling). While that might be tough to pull off independently, it would be easy for a Bishop to make sure that the Relief Society President sits in a privileged position, right with his counselors, during Welfare and Ward Council Meetings. I think the subsuming the entire Ward Council into the PEC meeting, effectively ending the PEC meeting in favor of three monthly Ward Council meetings might be beneficial. (In my experience, the exact same things are discussed in PEC as in Ward Council – except that in Ward Council you have the _benefit_ of the female leaders.) Elder Ballard, in the recent past, emphasized the failure of wisdom in Bishops who fail to treat female leaders as councilors. That kind of thing could be said more often – locally, as well as by GAs. Clearly, more stories emphasizing woman’s contributions in the history of the church are needed. President Hinckley eluded to this a few years back. But, also, more foregrounding of the spiritual gifts being exercised by women and young women and girls, locally, would be wonderful.

    Beyond this, I think we need a consistent emphasis that personal revelation and spiritual feasting isn’t set apart for leadership, Priesthood or otherwise, and that every baptized member, woman or man, who is genuinely trying has access to powerful and deep spiritual insight as soon as they are prepared for it, and that being in the position of friend, companion and fellow traveler with the Saints is just as important as any administrative position could possibly hope to be. The woman or man who speaks by the power of the Holy Ghost in testimony meeting, or in a comment in GD, or just in speaking to a friend, is making a profoundly important contribution and will find a deeply gratifying experience.

    * The only spiritual gift out of the standard list (Sec 46, Moroni, Corinthians), that women do not currently have equal access to is healing because that has been contained in a Priesthood ordinance. I _personally_ see _nothing_ wrong with a women pronouncing a healing blessing if truly moved to do so by the Spirit. This same restriction applies to Priesthood blessings. The right to use the Priesthood is “inseparably” connected to the ability to access the attendant spiritual gifts.

    my 2 cents … ~

  82. Kristine says:

    And, incidentally, if there’s no place for women who are not mothers, there is also no place for women who are mothers, as human beings distinct from their (temporary) assignment to the role of mother.

  83. Ardis, there are a lot of similarities although I would agree they are not exactly the same. Similar is that wives were assigned to men as wives. This happened to Anson Call Jr. and many others when you read their journals. Women were expected to do as they were told. I listened to the FLDS on TV today and the women sounded very much like what I read in the Mormon journals from the turn of the century. They sounded a lot like a couple of the posters on this blog every time this subject comes up.

  84. Jerry, with all due respect, you couldn’t be further from the truth, despite one or two vague similarities you think you see.

    Our ancestors and the ancestors of the fundamentalists were the same people a hundred years ago. As a culture, *we* have developed and grown and changed and altered and adapted in the last hundred years to the point where our ancestors of a hundred years ago would hardly recognize us.

    But you don’t really think the fundamentalists have simply stood still, do you? *They* have altered and changed and adapted and reinvented themselves every bit as much as we have, but in different directions. They are not at all the same people as their ancestors, any more than we are.

    I suspect I have read at least as many turn-of-the-century diaries as you have, and at least as many comments here as you have. The similarity goes no deeper than a Hollywood stage set. The recognition of similarity is like a Geiger counter that reads stray traces of radiation in a box car that once held uranium ore.

  85. In all fairness you are making more out of nothing than you need to. I heard about 15 minutes of interviews with the FLDS and I know very little else about them. They certainly do talk and sound like the last of the polygamist Mormons and like many closed communities in America for that matter. And like my example wives are/were selected and assigned that is a big similarity. Of course we don’t believe they being led by God but they do. When asked a question regarding things they know is different than our modern culture they responded with the same answer we when we are asked the same questions. It is our faith and we believe that is the way god wants it. We don’t want women treated badly or even feel less valued at church. But people here gave the exact same answer to Oprah’s questions on women as we do here. Women are supposed to be mothers that is our blessing that is gods plan. Those are very big similarities. Obviously they execute differently with polygamy but neither of us extend leadership roles to women. of course other groups and faiths also do this as well we are not the only ones.

  86. Natalie B. says:

    Thomas – I think some of your suggestions are excellent. I especially like the comment of having the RS president sit on the stand.

    Another suggestion I would make is to assign YW callings. I think it is important for them to learn that they can make and are expected to make contributions to the ward. One valuable part of the priesthood for YM is that it makes them serve. YW need that, too.

  87. Another area of straightforward improvement: Sometimes the bishopric member who officially oversees (I don’t know the proper terminology) an auxiliary, such as primary, turns into a micro-manager. While this could be out of concern/dedication, it comes across as patronizing and untrusting. Once a woman is called to lead, let them take the reins. Perhaps priesthood leaders are already trained to transfer control, but it doesn’t always happen.

  88. Kristine says:

    Along the lines of extending callings…

    http://bycommonconsent.com/2006/10/04/a-modest-proposal/

  89. I don’t know how close the current FLDS system reflects the early LDS polygamous system, but I for sure know one thing. As recorded in the Journal of Discourses, women were evidently incessantly miserable under the law. And their voice and concerns at some point amounted to nearly nothing.

    On one ocasion (recorded in the Journal of Discourses), BY gave the women about two weeks to stop “whining” and basically told them to leave their husbands if they wished, or to learn to live unhappy and live their religion. In other words, the “heavenly” law or the highway…

    After this ultimatum, BY recounts what one of his wives told him regarding the issue:

    “A few years ago one of my wives, when talking about wives leaving their husbands said, ‘I wish my husband’s wives would leave him, every soul of them except myself.’ That is the way they all feel, more or less, at times, both old and young.” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 9, p. 195)

    BY on how to be a happy woman:

    “Sisters, do you wish to make yourselves happy? Then what is your duty? It is for you to bear children… are you tormenting yourselves by thinking that your husbands do not love you? I would not care whether they loved a particle or not; but I would cry out, like one of old, in the joy of my heart, ‘I have got a man from the Lord! Hallelujah! I am a mother…’” (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, v. 9, p. 37)

    Zina (the lady of the Prophets) Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young reflects on romantic love and polygamy (a disheartening point of view):

    “It is the duty of the first wife to regard her husband not with a selfish devotion… she must regard her husband with indifference, and with no other feeling than that of reverence, for love we regard as a false sentiment; a feeling which should have no existence in polygamy… we believe in the good old custom by which marriages should be arranged by the parents of the young people.” (Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young – (New York World, November 17, 1869)

    Having shared that, I think the participation of women is of most vital importance just about everywhere, especially in religion. I have no problem visualizing the day women in the Church are called to be priestesses (as they are anointed to become in the Temple) and share in the decision making process of the afairs of the Kingdom of God. Their imput will certainly be precious. On the other hand, I share the feeling of very low expectations regarding this, since it is the men who ought to decide when this is to happen…

  90. Natalie B. says:

    87 – I agree. I’ve been in that situation before, and it caused a lot of good work to come to a halt when there was too much micro-managing.

    Also along those lines, I really don’t think men should be concluding speakers at events like the RS Broadcast regardless of how good they are as speakers. It sends the wrong message…

  91. Natalie B. says:

    88 – My mom made the YW visiting teachers when she was RS president. I think it was a great idea.

  92. Ardis #74 said, “Reading the last 60 comments in one sitting may overemphasize for me the number of people who still equate priesthood for men with marriage and motherhood for women.
    Hogwash. And I don’t care how many general authorities have said it — it’s still hogwash.”

    I will have to agree with you. Marriage and motherhood for women far exceeds the importance of of priesthood for men. . .as does marriage and fatherhood for men. . .

  93. I have to agree with Ardis and disagree with Jerry on the FLDS/LDS ancestral polygamy issues.

    Brigham Young encouraged women to be educated. He would not allow men to file for divorce, but the women could. BF Johnson tells about one of his polygamous wives being unhappy in the marriage, and he went to Pres Young for advice. Brother Brigham told him to let her have the divorce, as it would be a blessing for both of them.

    You just wouldn’t see these things occurring in the FLDS environment, where women do not go the college (Brigham sent many of his daughters), have the ability to work outside the home (Brigham had women run ZCMI departments), speak in Church, or purchase property.

    Women were to be equals in LDS homes, although in practice that didn’t always occur. In the FLDS environment, women are subjugated and made 2nd class citizens through their leaders’ teachings.

  94. women might do better to articulate how they have been made to feel as a consequence certain practices within the church

    I totally agree. I hope more young women will articulate it, too. Young women with slightly more credibility than my scenery-chewing 11-year-old. (Not that she doesn’t serve a valuable function, too–I’m just saying, a diversity of voices would be helpful.)

  95. “Women were to be equals in LDS homes, although in practice that didn’t always occur. In the FLDS environment, women are subjugated and made 2nd class citizens through their leaders’ teachings.”

    Not in the 1800’s and most of the 1900’s that is simply folklore. Women had respect in most Mormon homes but never ever was there any type equality as we use that word today. Most of the polygamist wives either subsisted on what they raised if they had a farm or their male children’s incomes or on charity they were not encouraged and rarely worked outside the home. That sounds equal. The interview yesterday the FLDS women claimed they are encouraged and allowed to get educated at college as well. But I don’t think many FLDS men or women do. They repeatedly laughed at the thought that they were mistreated or subjugated in any way shape or form they claimed to be more fulfilled and happy than anyone they knew on the outside. Again I am only comparing what they said and taking it at face value. The fact is you see them as subjugated and that is exactly how many outside our communities see us.

    You are not implying that women are actually encouraged to get an education before starting a family today, are you? During my time at Ricks and BYU that was clearly the opposite of what was stressed and practiced. Are you also implying that women are treated equal today? You must be living outside the Mormon corridor. Because while the prophet does stand up and encourage women to get educated and be treated fairly but they are definitely not encouraged to leave the home to work and find fulfillment beyond being a mother until after the kids are raised.

    I understand how awful it sounds to be compared to the FLDS but if you step back one minute and look at what someone that is unfamiliar with the LDS church sees they see us in very similar terms to the way we see the FLDS. I was talking to a guy at work last week and he drove through Manti on his Harley enroute to the Grand Canyon. His description of what he saw was very very similar to what most people I talk to see when they see the FLDS. The perception is changing but we are viewed as a bit odd.

  96. Stephanie says:

    Ooh, how cool that my comment from FMH was referenced for this post (although the comment this links to is not mine).

    Re: 69 – I think the difference between the priesthood callings and female auxiliary callings is that the men leave their homes to perform all their work and we do our work while juggling taking care of kids, making dinner, etc. It particularly sucks to be a cub scout leader and have to drag all my kids with me to do my calling.

    Re: 87 Amen!

  97. Nothing more to add that hasn’t already been said, except for one thing: Limericks should really be used more in daily life.

  98. Most of the polygamist wives either subsisted on what they raised if they had a farm or their male children’s incomes or on charity

    Jerry, you simply know too little about Mormon history to be pontificating this way. Your statement quoted above, along with several others in your latest, is poppycock. Yeah, you could find examples where the above is true for a limited time (during a husband’s mission, for instance), or perhaps even in the full married lifetime of some individual woman whose husband did not live up to his responsibilities, but as a whole, this description is false. Untrue. Stereotype taken from bad fiction. This goes against every sermon Brigham Young gave on the subject of marriage, and it goes against his specific direction in the few cases where husbandly neglect of plural wives was brought to his attention.

    I’d suggest you stop posing as any kind of informed authority on 19th century Mormon polygamous life, because you look worse and worse as this thread goes on.

  99. nonSugarCoatedReality says:

    …some little foolish things were circulating in the society, against some sisters not doing right in laying hands on the sick. Said that if the people had common sympathies they would rejoice that the sick could be healed…“—Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p224.

    Respecting females administering for the healing of the sick, he further remarked, there could be no evil in it, if God gave His sanction by healing; that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on and praying for the sick, than in wetting the face with water; it is no sin for anybody to administer that as faith, or if the sick have faith to be healed by their administration.“—Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p225.

    President Smith then gave instruction respecting the propriety of females administering to the sick by the prayer of faith, the laying on of hands, or the anointing with oil…Who better qualified to administer than our faithful and zealous sisters, whose hearts are full of faith, tenderness, sympathy and compassion. No one. “—Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p229.

  100. nonSugarCoatedReality says:

    Reposting due to typos.

    …some little foolish things were circulating in the society, against some sisters not doing right in laying hands on the sick. Said that if the people had common sympathies they would rejoice that the sick could be healed…“—Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p224.

    Respecting females administering for the healing of the sick, he further remarked, there could be no evil in it, if God gave His sanction by healing; that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on and praying for the sick, than in wetting the face with water; it is no sin for anybody to administer that has faith, or if the sick have faith to be healed by their administration.“—Teachings of the Prophet Joseph

  101. nonSugarCoatedReality says:

    Reposting due to typos.

    …some little foolish things were circulating in the society, against some sisters not doing right in laying hands on the sick. Said that if the people had common sympathies they would rejoice that the sick could be healed…“—Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p224.

    Respecting females administering for the healing of the sick, he further remarked, there could be no evil in it, if God gave His sanction by healing; that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on and praying for the sick, than in wetting the face with water; it is no sin for anybody to administer that has faith, or if the sick have faith to be healed by their administration.“—Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p225.

    President Smith then gave instruction respecting the propriety of females administering to the sick by the prayer of faith, the laying on of hands, or the anointing with oil…Who better qualified to administer than our faithful and zealous sisters, whose hearts are full of faith, tenderness, sympathy and compassion. No one. “—Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith p229.

  102. Nameless says:

    I keep rolling this thread around in my head–especially the idea of identifying concrete problems and coming up with solutions. The thread dealing with the stake disciplinary council brought to mind a concrete problem. Are there ever circumstances where women are included on a disciplinary council?

  103. Nameless–nope. I think women can be called as witnesses, but they are never involved in the decision-making.

  104. Jon Miranda says:

    Thomas Parkin Said
    I _personally_ see _nothing_ wrong with a women pronouncing a healing blessing if truly moved to do so by the Spirit.

    You have to be very careful with this. Right now there are people baptizing all over the world in various denominations and churches. Is it recognized? Church doctrine says it is not. You must have authority.
    What if Thomas Parkin had said this:

    I _personally_ see _nothing_ wrong with a women baptizing if truly moved to do so by the Spirit.

    If you do not have authority no matter how well meaning you are, your act is null and void and is not recognized by God.

  105. #104

    Sorry, Jon, I call BS. Thomas Parkin is talking about a healing blessing, not an ordinance. The authority given by the church is necessary for an ordinance to be valid on the records of the church, otherwise, it really doesn’t get involved.

    Are you really comfortable speaking for God? Especially with such breathtaking and generalized statements? Perhaps you should simply leave it up to God to decide who gets blessed, and whose blessings get heard. That seems the wisest course, no?

  106. I personally see nothing wrong with a woman baptizing if truly moved to do so by the Spirit.

  107. Jon Miranda says:

    The First Presidency also says to call the elders when a blessing is need/required.

    I repeat, if you do not have authority no matter how well meaning you are, your act is null and void and is not recognized by God.

  108. Thomas Parkin says:

    Jon,

    Think of it like this, then. Does a woman have authority to prophesy, in her domain, if she has been confirmed, is in possession of that gift, and is keeping her covenants? Clearly she does. Then let her prophesy that her loved one will be healed in their presence. If truly moved upon to do so by the Spirit. I emphasize truly.

    I agree with what you say about authority. Although, unlike baptism, authority is hardly enough when it comes to either healing or prophesying.

    Don’t quench the Spirit, Jon. We have enough of that around here. ~

  109. nonSugarCoatedReality says:

    “Does a woman have authority to prophesy, in her domain…” — Thomas Parkin

    Moroni 10:8 …And there are different ways that these gifts are administered…and they are given by the manifestations of the Spirit of God unto men, to profit them.

    D&C 45:26 And all these gifts come from God, for the benefit of the children of God.

    D&C 82:17-18 And you are to be equal, or in other words, you are to have equal claims on the properties, for the benefit of managing the concerns of your stewardships, every man according to his wants and his needs, inasmuch as his wants are just— 18 And all this for the benefit of the church of the living God, that every man may improve upon his talent, that every man may gain other talents, yea, even an hundred fold, to be cast into the Lord’s storehouse, to become the common property of the whole church

    Conclusion: Gifts (to be consecrated) are for the benefit of the whole church. A person’s range is extended due to the inability of others or absence of a gift (hint at D&C 20:49,56; Isaiah 41:27-28).

  110. nonSugarCoatedReality says:

    “The First Presidency also says to call the elders when a blessing is need/required.” — Jon Miranda

    James 5:14-15 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

    Conclusion: The First Presidency keep the scriptures.

    1 Cor. 14:5,31 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. 31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

    Conclusion: I would that all excercised gifts.

    Numbers 11:27-29And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. 28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. 29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!

    Luke 9:49-50 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him[/her] not: for he[/she] that is not against us is for us.

    And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. 39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. 40 For he that is not against us is on our part.

    Conclusion: God does the miracle. Forbid not God to do a miracle.

  111. nonSugarCoatedReality says:
  112. nonSugarCoatedReality says:

    Fixed typo.

    “The First Presidency also says to call the elders when a blessing is need/required.” — Jon Miranda

    James 5:14-15 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

    Conclusion: The First Presidency keep the scriptures.

    1 Cor. 14:5,31 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. 31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.

    Conclusion: I would that all excercised gifts.

    Numbers 11:27-29And there ran a young man, and told Moses, and said, Eldad and Medad do prophesy in the camp. 28 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Moses, one of his young men, answered and said, My lord Moses, forbid them. 29 And Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them!

    Luke 9:49-50 And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. 50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him[/her] not: for he[/she] that is not against us is for us.

    Mark 9:38-40And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. 39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. 40 For he that is not against us is on our part.

    Conclusion: God does the miracle. Forbid not God to do a miracle.

  113. Anybody else craving a little sugar coating?

  114. Conclusion: I would that NSCR abstain from any further reposting.

  115. Fixed typo.

    Conclusion: I would that nSCR abstain from any further reposting.

  116. There is meaning in priesthood. Anyone can serve and build up the kingdom without holding the priesthood, but God and God’s Church requires priesthood for ordinances and for presiding. This is right.

    A man who holds the priesthood may be called by God’s servants at any time to fulfill a Church responsibility outside his home, even if the assignment interferes with his home duties — if so, it then becomes his duty to balance the two and magnify both. But not so with a woman, who will not be called into a Church or auxiliary calling unless the assignment will not interfere with her duties in her home. This is according to Church policy, as I understand it. This is right.

    The office of member (see D&C 107:10) is an important office in the Church. Not everyone is called as an apostle. Not everyone is called as a high priest, elder, priest, teacher, or deacon. Some members hold only the office of member. Just as no elder should complain if not called as an apostle, doesn’t it seem that no member should complain if not called as an elder?

    Some positions or roles in the organized Church have member or priesthood prerequisites, and some don’t. For example, only a high priest can serve on a stake high council, while any member can be a teacher in the Sunday School and any member or non-member can be a committee member for the ward’s Boy Scout troop. There is no unfairness here, as any organization must have rules to govern itself and to establish the qualifications of its officers.

    If one magnifies his or her calling, however large or small, he or she will receive an exaltation in the celestial kingdom of our God. One must not choose to feel embittered towards God and God’s Church for not providing a coveted office. In such a case, is the error with God or God’s Church (for not providing the coveted office) or with the individual for coveting that which is coveted?

    God’s ways are not our ways, and we will not always understand why things are as they are. But the more I consider the things of God, the more beautiful and complete the pattern becomes in my own mind. I know that God loves all his children, male and female, created after his own image. God has always required certain men to preside and to perform the outward ordinances, as servants to the larger population faithful members, and he gives them priesthood offices so that each knows his place and role. Why men? I don’t know. But I trust God, and I trust the leaders of God’s Church.

    I appreciate the original posting — if “significant numbers of women feel marginalized” in today’s Church, then a discussion of what can be done to help those women feel needed and valued is a good discussion to have. I hope my comments can contribute to that discussion.

  117. AspieMom says:

    Jospeh Smith ordained women to the priesthood.

  118. Dear AspieMom, But the current prophet, seer, revelator, and President of the Church, upheld by the confidence, faith, and prayer of the Church, acting unanimously with his counselors and the Twelve and the Seventy, does not. Is not his and their decision “entitled to the same blessings which the decisions of a quorum of three presidents were anciently, who were ordained after the order of Melchizedek, and were righteous and holy men”?

    When these men make decisions, and do so “in all righteousness, in holiness, and lowliness of heart, meekness and long suffering, and in faith, and virtue, and knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and charity,” can we not trust that they will be “fruitful in the knowledge of the Lord”?

    And do we not have confidence “in case that any decision of these quorums is made in unrighteousness, it may be brought before a general assembly of the several quorums, which constitute the spiritual authorities of the church; otherwise there can be no appeal from their decision”?

    [Quotations from D&C 107]

    Why, then, are some appealing to public opinion in the bloggernacle for a change in their decision?

  119. #118: ” Why, then, are some appealing to public opinion in the bloggernacle for a change in their decision?”
    Maybe… “and all things shall be done by Common Consent in the Church…..” [?]

  120. AspieMom says:

    Bob, amen.
    ji, WE are the church. I believe its God’s church, but if we have needs, then we should express them to our leaders. The prophet went to the Lord about blacks and the PH, a change was made. Why do people feel that this would be wrong regarding women and the priesthood?

    I am not asking to take over the church, I am just asking for a little help. My DH is disaffected. I believe our home would only be blessed if I had some small right to the PH. I don’t want power, I want peace, protection and a little heavenly assistance.

  121. Dear AspieMom, I’m always willing to allow that people will see things differently. As I see it, your desires or needs are best expressed privately so as to avoid damaging the faith of the weak or diverting the focus of the observer. As I understand our history, the prophet at the time approached the Lord in all privacy about the matter of priesthood for those of African ancestry. And when he and his brethren had made a decision, they submitted it for a vote of common consent. Dirty laundry, if this matter be seen as such, is best hidden from company and neighbors, isn’t it? I hope you find happiness, although I am not convinced that conferral of the priesthood will necessarily bring happiness.

    Dear Bob, If such a change were made, I tend to suppose it would be offered for acceptance and sustaining of a vote of common consent. Even if not, any individual conferring of the priesthood will require common consent. Surely you appreciate that common consent in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the privilege of the membership to sustain the decisions of the priesthood leaders, rather than for the membership to introduce legislation to the floor, so to speak.

  122. AspieMom says:

    I hardly think this issue is mine alone. I also do not consider it dirty laundry. But even if it were, I would rather it be aired in the light of the sun than tumbled for years in some dark dryer.

    I apologize if I have damaged your faith, that is certainly not my intent. Surprisingly, my faith, and I assume that of others, is strengthened by these discussions. How blessed we are to have minds and the means to use them!

    BTW, I believe in DH’s PH power and his ability to bless our family with it, even though his faith is waivering, his worthiness is not. For this, I am so grateful.

  123. AspieMom–

    The prophet went to the Lord about blacks and the PH, a change was made. Why do people feel that this would be wrong regarding women and the priesthood?

    These two sentences are not _really_ related to each other. Whether “people” think it is right or wrong need not have any bearing on whether Thomas S. Monson & Co. pray about it. So, do you really sincerely believe that none of the current Prophets and Apostles have ever just, you know, considered asking the Lord if it would be proper to given women the Priesthood? Because I’m willing to put down good money that they have prolly talked about it before.

    ji–While I am not troubled by AspieMom’s concerns, and have myself a very low tolerance for griping about the Church (not suggesting that is what AspieMom is doing), if “dirty laundry” is what you’re trying to avoid, and protecting the “faith of the weak” is your goal, I humbly submit that it is you, not AspieMom, who has wandered into foreign waters here. BCC welcomes all views, as long as they’re not obnoxious or stupid.

  124. Dear Scott B., Perhaps I have “wandered into foreign waters here”, and I hope my perspective isn’t unwelcome at BCC, but in reading the postings here I wanted to contribute a balancing thought which hadn’t yet been raised. I have long seen great value in the counsel in Leviticus 19:14 and Romans 14:13 that we should not put stumbling blocks in front of those who might not be able to overcome them. And I tended to feel that a person who stumbled into BCC following a Google search in a spirit of honest inquiry might walk away with an attitude that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is unkind and unfair to its women members by denying them the priesthood. But the Church isn’t unkind or unfair, and I believe its leaders at the highest levels most sincerely love all its members. In my mind, I have a positive duty to help strengthen the faith of others, and I made my comments no. 116, 118, and 121 in this light.

    I still appreciate the original posting — if “significant numbers of women feel marginalized” in today’s Church, then a discussion of what can be done to help those women feel needed and valued is a good discussion to have. I hope my comments can contribute to that discussion.

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