A very short post about Elder Cook’s talk

When women are really allowed to work “side by side” with men in the church,  talks like this will be unnecessary.

Comments

  1. Amen

  2. I have no opinions about this. None at all.

  3. Natalie B. says:

    My feelings exactly, Kristine.

    I think that our church is starting to make progress in recognizing a broader range of roles for women in society and even in places like ward council. And I applaud their movement in this direction. I don’t want to discredit these attempts.

    But recognizing a broader range of roles for women places the question of why women are not men’s equals within church governance/priesthood even more in relief. Many LDS women here have said that they want to be treated as equals and given opportunities, but they don’t want the priesthood. If the Church begins to encourage equal opportunity for women without also opening up the more fundamental questions of priesthood and women’s role in the eternal theological scheme, I wonder if women will continue to feel that way. I rather suspect that the current rhetoric–I want opportunities, not the priesthood/change in doctrine–is just a compromise with the powers that be.

  4. Kristine, I think you have said this in response to similar talks in the past. At least that is what came to mind as I listened to the talk.

    (I think I will only to tweet-length post for a while)

  5. Kristine says:

    Chris, you’re right–there was nothing new here. (Except for the nod to the need for family-friendly workplaces, which I heartily applaud).

  6. Larry Ogan says:

    I have been concerned about the state of women’s reiligion partisipation. Elder Cook’s talk is what I needed to hear. I now believe the staus-quo is changing faster than I thought.
    Here is an interesting article for your information. http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2004/03/St-Paul-Friend-Or-Enemy-Of-Women.aspx?p=1

  7. Despite its brevity, very good post. Ditto, Kristine.

    PS: I’m also secretly hoping that President Packer’s statement about men being the head of the home and women being the heart of the home be edited out from the written conference record.

  8. Chris Gordon says:

    @Natalie B. (and any others, really), I have a sincere question as someone who (I hope) is a forward-thinking kind of guy. You mentioned “opening up the more fundamental questions of priesthood and women’s role in the eternal theological scheme.”

    Given the belief in revelatory guidance, how exactly do you see something like that going down on a higher leadership level? Are you hoping that the Twelve and the FP are regularly making inquiries of the Lord as to those questions? Amongst themselves? Do you think they’re not?

    As it relates to places where the church’s viewpoints are societally archaic (e.g., to women, homosexuals), I myself have often wondered how those councils, meetings, conversations happen, if at all. I’d be curious to hear your viewpoint.

  9. 7. It would look bad to have it edited out of President Packer’s talk, but not President Monson’s priesthood talk.

  10. Natalie B. says:

    #8: My hope is that church leaders are seeking guidance and asking questions. I hope that through forums like BCC we can bring the issue to their attention so that they think it is serious enough to pray about.

  11. Kristine says:

    Natalie’s more hopeful than I am. I don’t think they’re asking, and I don’t think they will anytime soon. There are lots of reasons for that, but the primary one is that most women in the church adamantly don’t mind their subordinate status.

  12. I agree with you Kristine. In the meantime, do you think talks like this are intended to move us toward an equality that the speaker/GA’s see as important and lacking, or do they serve to intensify the subordinate status by not addressing fundamental doctrinal concerns? Of course, the former might be intended with the latter as the result.

    My wife and I actually liked the talk and I think it could have good effects on how wards operate. It was certainly regrettable that the relief society sister in the main story felt she had to ask if sharing her opinion was appropriate and hoped Elder Cook would make it explicit that she shouldn’t have to beg her way into the conversation. I think that was the point, but it could have been emphasized.

  13. Naismith says:

    “There are lots of reasons for that, but the primary one is that most women in the church adamantly don’t mind their subordinate status.”

    A lot of women in the church don’t see their role as subordinate. We are equal. Having a different role does not make us subordinate, it just makes us different.

    Indeed, the church is the only place in my world that respects the work that women have always done. Whereas much of the world respects women only if they do the work that men have always done.

    For example, if I apply for a university or government job, I get preference in hiring for being a veteran. I think that there should be a similar preference for moms re-entering the workforce, but unfortunately that is not the case. And what provides a more important benefit to society, raising healthy people who will pay taxes, or knowing how to kill people? Of course both are important to our society’s well being, but why is only the men’s work respected in that way?

  14. Kristine says:

    I think such talks are sincerely intended to make women feel good about their contributions to the church, and they are a sincere expression of appreciation. I also think that many good men in the church, including presumably Elder Cook, really think women _are_ their equals, despite the structural inequity of the institution. The tensions and miscommunication that arise from talks like this are pretty much inevitable, as long as people with a strong desire to be just are operating in a system that insists on “separate but equal.”

  15. Kristine says:

    Naismith–I don’t intend “subordinate” as a value judgment. It is merely descriptive of a situation in which women are always governed by men.

  16. Natalie B. says:

    11: I, too, am fairly skeptical that they are asking. Hence, the word “hope.”

    But I tend to agree with Cort in 12 that I think that these talks are intended to move towards equality but inadvertently reinforce the underlining issues of doctrinal subordination.

  17. Naismith,

    The ONLY place. Really?

  18. “Whereas much of the world respects women only if they do the work that men have always done.”

    This is when I want to either slam my head or somebody else’s. I will give up instead.

  19. Natalie B. says:

    One more thought: In the end, I think that how women feel treated in the church is inextricable from the church’s fundamental doctrines about priesthood. For example, much of the frustration that women experience when doing callings comes from the fact that priesthood must often manage their work or that they are in fact subordinated to their husbands in our theology. These problems can never be adequately addressed without examining issues like women and the priesthood which the Church currently seems disinclined to do. Until then, we must persist in the uneasy state of wanting to treat women equally and yet having that message come from male GAs.

  20. Here, here, Kristine.

    Women praying in Conference and speaking more than 2 talks in 5 sessions of Conference would be a good start, if only because it is at conference that we always get these “women are great and equal because we, the men in charge, say so” talks.

  21. Yes, Cynth. It’s a staggering and totally un-self-aware bit of irony that Elder Cook chose a conference talk to use women praying in meetings as evidence that their contributions are equally valued by their male leaders.

  22. When feminists are really serious about understanding the nature of their role, as outlined in the Family Proclamation, talks like this will be unnecessary.

  23. “When feminists are really serious about understanding the nature of their role, as outlined in the Family Proclamation, talks like this will be unnecessary.”

    Read: when uppity women are willing to shut up and accept that they will always be presided over by men and never really work side by side with them, conference talks that try to convince them that subservience=equality will be unnecessary.

  24. Kevin Barney says:

    Yeah, there was a double irony there, in that women don’t pray in conference, as you say, but also in very many wards and stakes of the church women are only just barely now allowed to open sacrament meetings in prayer. And the new handbook notwithstanding, the old practice is probably so ingrained in some backwaters of the church that they *still* can’t pray in sacrament meeting in all sorts of places. An entrenched practice like that doesn’t die overnight. So yeah, holding up women praying in sacrament meeting when your quorum president has had his acolytes teaching against the very thing you’re holding up as against the unwritten order of things is irony with a capital I.

  25. Kristine,

    Talks like Elder Cook’s will be necessary so long as feminists insist that contributions of women in the church are inferior.

  26. I’ve got to honestly ask why we care about the role of women in the Church. Why is this such a big deal? It’s because we are fixated on the Church and the authorities running it. We cannot get past the telestial (see D&C 76:98-100). The role of women within the Plan of Salvation is of much deeper import and outlives the very existence of the Church.

    I commented at greater length here:

    http://www.livingzion.org/religion/womens-role-in-church/

  27. Kevin, I think Elder Cook’s “even in Sacrament meeting” emphasis might be intended for those backwaters.

    Talks like Elder Cook’s may not bring anything new, but I think church leadership genuinely wants the opinions of women to be as valued as those of men, and I think we’ll keep hearing talks like this until Kevin’s backwaters no longer exist.

    Obviously, women do work “side by side” with men in the church. What they don’t do is extend the callings, issue temple recommends, or perform the ordinances. I can’t say that will ever change, but if it were to change, talks like Elder Cook’s are a prerequisite.

  28. Raymond Takashi Swenson says:

    In the ecclesiastical order of the Church, everyone, including a bishop or stake president, or member of the Seventy or Apostle, is subordinate to someone else. And the President is subordinate to the Lord. So if anyone is miffed about being subordinate to someone else, this is not the Church you want to belong in.

    Having served in a number of Church positions, including a quorum presidency, a branch presidency, and high councils, the position where I felt the greatest freedom to make my own decisions was as a Gospel Doctrine teacher. In over a decade in that calling in several different wards in California, Utah, Washington and Idaho, I got advice only a couple of times, and that was because we had a member of the First Quorum of Sevnty by a house in our ward in anticipation of his “retirement”. I had no sense of being “subordinate” in terms of being able to direct how I did my calling and in what I taught, other than the basic messages in each lesson manual. I can’t imagine that the sistrs who taught the same classes before and after I did felt any more “subordinated” than I did.

    By contrast, serving in line leadership means you are regularly being given direction from above. If you don’t like to take direction, to be “subordinate”, don’t ever accept a calling in a bishopric or stake presidency or high council. You will get direction not only on how to do your calling, but on how to wear your hair (e.g. no beards or mustaches) and wear a suit every Sunday, not getting by with just a shirt and tie.

    Until you have learned to be happy being “subordinate”, you will never be ready to be a priesthood leader. Indeed, learning to give up your own ego is one of the positive demands that priesthood makes of men, that they are not naturally inclined to do. Most men need that lesson more than most women.

  29. Kristine,

    Political speeches about the important contributions women make to the health of the republic within their appointed sphere of disenfranchisement will be necessary as long as rabble rousing feminists insist that not having the vote makes their contributions somehow inferior.

    When are you hysterical ingrates going to finally accept that always having your administrative decisions subject to the (dis)approval of men and having to defer to men to elucidate doctrinal matters and being permanently, intrinsically ineligible for most Church leadership positions and never being permitted to administer a saving ordinance and being told to secure your salvation with a covenant to obey not God but your husband does NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT make you inferior?

  30. Kevin Barney says:

    Good point, Martin; the reference to sacrament meetings may well have been intended as a slam dunk against that prior sometime practice. If so, good for him.

  31. Raymond, you are illustrating precisely what’s at stake in all this. Particularly given the intensity of our hierarchical administrative structure, the increased fervor with which we associate administrative authority with Priesthood (with God’s own authority), and the largely lay ecclesiastical structure, male priesthood holders are both always being presided over and always presiding. Women are only presided over. The balance between egalitarian populism (with all it implies about potential social/ecclesiastical mobility) and authoritarianism (with all its entailed forms of subordination) only exists for men. Women are positioned within the structure as subordinates only, with no countervailing force of universal priesthood. Women experience the authority structures of the Church in a fundamentally different way than men do, and pointing out the fact that men are also subservient to leaders does nothing to change that.

  32. “Until you have learned to be happy being “subordinate”, you will never be ready to be a priesthood leader.”

    Tell that to generations of women who have happily borne their subordinate status in full knowledge that they will never be permitted to lead in the way men do, to speak as one having authority.

  33. There are lots of reasons for that, but the primary one is that most women in the church adamantly don’t mind their subordinate status.

    Kristine, what do you think this says about most women in the church? I’ve been developing a rather negative answer – that a lot of women actually like to be told that they’re spiritually superior and pure – even if it costs them a real shot at presiding.

    My own 2nd hand account is that husband bashing is good sport in certain quarters of the RS. And what better way to keep the legend of bonevolence in check than to never get the opportunity to fail miserably (like priesthood holders have been doing for ages).

    There – I said it: Women should be given the priesthood so that men can finally be their equals!

  34. “Male priesthood holders are both always being presided over and always presiding.”

    Not true.

    “Women are only presided over.”

    Not true.

  35. I’ll happily qualify both statements with “potentially.” That doesn’t in any way change the larger point, which is that women fit into the authority structure in a way that does not counter-balance their subordination with the potential (and actual) experience of presiding as well.

    There’s literally only one place of leadership in the entire Church where women and men serve side by side (and technically it’s outside of the Church): the Cub Scout Council.

  36. So if you could spend a few minutes the couple in charge (our heavenly parents) and the answer provided was that this benevolent patriarchy is in place for a reason how would that change the tenor of this conversation. You can insert your own “reason.” I’m genuinely interested in the feminist response to the possibility that this is not an artifact of a male dominant culture but instead actually what They intended. I see no reason why a woman shouldn’t hold the priesthood – I just wonder if there’s a divine reason rather than a failure to be progressive on the part of the brethren.

  37. Kristine says:

    Raymond, I am pretty happy being subordinate. Mostly I just want to be the choir director or primary pianist forever. How I _feel_ about it has nothing to do with whether or not it is just.

    CJ–mostly I think it means that women have become acculturated to this system, and make the necessary psychological adjustments to make it work and minimize cognitive dissonance.

  38. poriphon says:

    The Church organization is much less important than the family organization. Talks like this will continue into the future.

  39. You know, women do get two talks per conference. I wonder why they never see it as prudent to use that time talking about why they are so wonderful.

  40. “I’m genuinely interested in the feminist response to the possibility that this is not an artifact of a male dominant culture but instead actually what They intended.”

    I think that’s a fair question, but I also think that if this were the case, what we would be hearing is an acknowledgment of the injustice and inequity of the current state of affairs coupled with assurances that, whatever the reasons, and despite repeated efforts to understand why it should persist, our heavenly parents really do want this system. Instead we get well intentioned but nevertheless extremely condescending and disturbingly un-self-aware assurances that women really are presided over by their equals and that there’s absolutely no inequality here, that men presiding over women is the very definition of equality, &c, &c.

  41. Until you have learned to be happy being “subordinate”, you will never be ready to be a priesthood leader.

    If I understand RTS correctly, and I think I do, women should get the priesthood. They are ready.

    You are RTS correct, in LDS hierarchy all are subordinate. Women are just blessed to be more subordinate than others.

  42. When feminists are really serious about understanding the nature of their role, as outlined in the Family Proclamation, talks like this will be unnecessary.

    Not only is this self-righteous comment offensive, insensitive, and downright jerky; I’m pretty sure it is completely inaccurate. I might be wrong, but I imagine GA talks about divine womanhood, etc., predate even the word feminism, not to say the existence of an actual Mormon worthy of that title.

  43. Kristine says:

    Actually, CJ, I don’t like how my answer sounded–I can’t possibly know why most LDS women feel what they feel. I suspect their reasons for preferring the status quo are at least as varied and complex as the reasons some women think the status quo is wrong/uncomfortable/untenable/etc..

  44. Kristine says:

    poriphon–there were also at least a couple of reiterations of the idea that men should preside in the family during this conference, so I’m not sure your distinction makes all that much of a difference.

  45. The current road block to women holding the Priesthood is women not men Natalie B. and Kristine tell us why:

    “Many LDS women here have said that they want to be treated as equals and given opportunities, but they don’t want the priesthood.”

    “…most women in the church adamantly don’t mind their subordinate status.”

    The reason is not enough women want the Priesthood. For now gender equality should be sought in other areas while raising the consciousness level of sisters.

  46. Kristine says:

    Howard, I’m not sure the issue is really whether or not women are ordained to priesthood office. In fact, I’m pretty sure that is NOT the only, and maybe not even the primary obstacle to women being treated equitably in the church, so it’s a bit of a red herring. Women are not subordinate only because they don’t hold priesthood keys, but because they are systematically excluded from decision-making–that could change with no revelation about priesthood.

  47. Kristine “I’m not sure the issue is really whether or not women are ordained to priesthood office. In fact, I’m pretty sure that is NOT the only, and maybe not even the primary obstacle to women being treated equitably in the church”

    I agree.

  48. The current road block to women holding the Priesthood is women. . . The reason is not enough women what the Priesthood.

    I don’t want to be Bishop, but I’m pretty sure it would be inaccurate for me to say ‘The reason B.Russ isn’t Bishop is because he doesn’t want to be Bishop.’ FWIW

  49. Of course, if women, with their superior spirituality and organizational skills, were allowed equal decision making and authoritative power the men would soon find themselves with nothing to do. It is our subordination which makes possible their progression. Or something like that.

  50. I am sure that this is mainly due to a somewhat rosy view of things, as well as my fortunate luck to be in a place where the Priesthood leaders do actively seek input from the women in the ward and encourage them to act on their own, but I heard Elder Cook’s as a smack to the head for all the men who live in the backwaters that Kevin spoke of earlier. I think he was saying that women are supposed to be more involved, and men who think otherwise are not following the Lord’s guidelines.

    I guess that I saw this as a strong step forward in promoting more balanced gender roles in the church, even if they aren’t fully equal.

  51. Alex,

    That may have been the intent. To me it came across as reassurance directed toward those who might think there is inequality, rather than a directive to squelch said inequality.

  52. Kristine says:

    Alex, I hope you are right. The problem I see is that a talk that also extols a version of femininity that involves breath mints and recipe cards is unlikely to deliver the requisite dope-slap.

  53. Mark Brown says:

    Since there is simply no polite, tactful way to say this, I’ll just say it bluntly.

    When we speak of unenlightened backwaters were men act like jerks by not allowing women to pray in meetings, it is worth asking when the last time was anybody heard a woman pray in general conference.

  54. The two primary outcomes of the correlation process are 1) stronger subordination of auxiliary organizations to the priesthood, and 2) elevation of the eternal family to the point where it is the central idea of the plan, which causes emphasis on defined gender roles. Given these results, one can’t go further than QLC went without starting a new process that undoes these primary outcomes.

  55. BWJohnson says:

    Men have always determined where and how I will serve in the Church – even when I have been called as a counselor by a new auxiliary president. Men have always determined my worth, my talents, my skills, where I will serve, when I will serve and how long I serve in a position. I have little or no input into those ‘inspired’ decisions. As long as men determine my worth, I am not on an equal basis with men.

  56. I too thought it was ironic to laud the incredible women of the church, but then only let us hear from two of them in ten hours of broadcast.

  57. This post is making me feel much better that I do not seek leadership positions, nor base my entire life from the social church.

  58. Brad #40: Very interesting comment. I think your logic is just a little off though. The fact that we don’t hear acknowledgments that the current system doesn’t seem fair coupled with assurances that God still wants it this way does not prove that this is not His intention. Rather, it just shows that we don’t currently know whether the current system is God’s plan or not. Presumably this is because the status quo has been accepted by those in charge without any serious questioning.

    So I agree with you that these statements without self-awareness give us little assurance that the current setup is what God actually intends. But I don’t think they provide evidence either way as to what God actually intends.

  59. michelle says:

    I can’t possibly know why most LDS women feel what they feel. I suspect their reasons for preferring the status quo are at least as varied and complex as the reasons some women think the status quo is wrong/uncomfortable/untenable/etc..

    Kristine, thanks for this. Can I add that I’m not sure that even using the label of people like me as people “preferring the status quo” captures the complexity?

    Presumably this is because the status quo has been accepted by those in charge without any serious questioning.

    I think I’d use your own thoughts in response to this. I don’t think having things the way they are in any way proves that they are not asking questions about gender issues.

    I also think that if this were the case, what we would be hearing is an acknowledgment of the injustice and inequity of the current state of affairs

    What if they see the differences of administration not as an injustice (inherently wrong) but just as a difference (morally neutral, or maybe even with some purpose to it?) Isn’t some of this possibly about different definitions of what equality ‘should’ look like or entail? I think different people w/ different perspectives often sort of talk past each other because of this.

  60. Thomas Parkin says:

    I think the ‘equal-partner’ talk that we hear is like the civil dawn before sunrise. We are still in this tension, not night, not morning. Light is emerging along the eastern horizon, but it is still dark where you are. The sun has certainly not begun to rise, but all signs point to a glorious morning.

  61. Male only Priesthood and the strong family focus produces the following pecking order; stay at home moms are one down, working moms are two down, single moms and never married women are three down. Divorced women?

  62. I don’t know if “prefer the status quo” is how I’d put it. I know God has a mission for me in this life and He is helping me fulfill it. Why would I want more than that? I’m sure any power needed would be granted .

    As far as the world appreciating “woman’s role”. With the economy struggling, and slightly before that, there has been an upsurge in appraciation for homemaking. (I’m including preserving, gardening, baking, resourcefullness, sewing and other creative arts here). It’s “in” to knit and grow your own produce.

    Also with the internet such a predominant part of the work place…the work place is becoming more flexible. Working at home, saving money by the “Work” you do at home, bringing work home…it’s becoming more of a continuim, and not the cut and dry world of the 50s in which you LEAVE your home to be productive. Growing your own “bacon” is just as productive as bringing it home.

    I think as long as woman are the only ones having babies, there will be talks like this. A woman’s role is by necessity different during the child bearing years (which can easily stretch into decade with our doctrinal emphasis on having children).

  63. John Taber says:

    Howard #61: You forgot the way single men (especially over 25 or 30) are treated like lepers. Pres. Monson’s talk in the Priesthood session only encouraged that. For instance – my 27-year-old sister-in-law is more interested in having a good time than finding a spouse. That was not the case for me at that age (I married at 31), though it was certainly implied in that talk.

  64. Droylsden says:
  65. Divorced women?
    We’re the failures. Embarrassing red-headed stepchildren. ;)

  66. FWIW, when Elder Scott came out and shared a similar message with the muckety mucks in our region just a few weeks ago, Elder Cook was one of his traveling/speaking companions and the message (perhaps a bit more fleshed out since it was presented in a Q&A back-and-fourth, asking and clarifying manner) was very much as Alex communicated in #50. I just thought it interesting to draw that line–not sure I would call it a movement, but it is at least more than a one-off, wouldn’t it be nice kind of idea.

  67. Mark Brown says:

    What if they see the differences of administration not as an injustice (inherently wrong) but just as a difference (morally neutral, or maybe even with some purpose to it?)

    m&m, that’s a thought, but that is also why the absence of women saying prayers in conference is so telling. Obviously Elder Cook thinks women praying in meetings is a good thing, otherwise he wouldn’t have presented it in the manner he did. (And let’s not forget that, 30 years ago, the practice of women praying in sacrament meeting was limited by the First Presidency.) And yet, on Mormonism’s biggest stage, broadcast to the world — nothing. And there appears to be no good reason for this. It does not violate the Proclamation, it doesn’t take a woman away from the home, prayer is not a priesthood function, it isn’t even in the unwritten order of things. The only reason I can see is because of “the foolish traditions of their fathers”. There are dozens of things like this which we don’t even notice as we blithely try to claim that men and women occupy separate but equal places in the church.

  68. What is this church bias toward stay at home mothers? My daughter attended montessori preschool since infantcy the socialization and education was excellent and she has a wonderful mother too! How can this be achieved at home? How is this or her mother somehow less?

  69. I’m sure I am pointing out the obvious, but to me, women speaking in GC is a matter of simple mathematics. There are nine women spread among the three presidencies. Three spoke at the YM mtg, two in GC. Three more will speak in Sept at the RS mtg and two more in GC in October. That means that every year, the nine women will have an opportunity to speak to the general population of the church.

    That is not the case with the 108 men that sit in the various quorums. By my count, 26 different men gave 31 talks. That leaves 82 men that did not speak. You’ve got to give them something to do so you assign them prayers.

    Now the fact that there are 108 men to 9 women in general leadership positions…

  70. Kristine says:

    Waldo, first of all, those 9 women DON’T have the opportunity to speak “to the general population of the church.” As you’ve pointed out, they’re mostly speaking to other women. if you include not just presidency members, but general board members, who fit into the org chart something like 70s do, the numbers get a little trickier. Also, it’s worth calculating what percentage of the general RS meeting and general YW meeting time are taken up by male speakers, compared to the amount of time in the priesthood session spent listening to representatives of the women those men are being told to honor…

  71. Mike RM says:

    #59

    I agree with you when you say “I don’t think having things the way they are in any way proves that they are not asking questions about gender issues.” We just don’t know. And I am okay with that. I think the critical thing about this life is becoming more like Christ and following the two great commandments. I don’t say that to mean we shouldn’t discuss these things, but to say that no matter what the ultimate answer turns out to be, I am okay with it.

  72. Kristine,

    I totally agree. But I think that those in charge feel that they are speaking to the general body of the church, after all those talks are included in the conference Ensign edition and on the GC web page on lds.org…

  73. Crystal says:

    Hi, I’m a lurker and this is my first post here.
    I really appreciate this conversation.

    I just had a thought that I wanted to share as I was reading this discussion.

    After studying the RS history I don’t feel that having the priesthood is necessary, I just feel that the Relief Society needs to be treated as a true equal.

    As I’ve been studying the history I see where it has evolved into this very seemingly saccharine and submissive organization, which is unfortunate.

    Looking at the historical pattern I don’t claim that things were peachy in the past, however, it just seems that the women of the RS had much more power/responsibility to take care of needed business.

  74. Why anyone would actively seek the responsibilities of the priesthood is beyond me. For most men it can be a millstone around the neck at times — a grand opportunity to learn something about grinding one’s personal interests to powder.

    Now the blessings of the priesthood is a different matter — those things that Abraham sought. Women may receive them in full force in this life, according to their faith.

  75. Stephanie says:

    Crystal, that’s why I think Sister Beck is pushing for us to learn our history – to reclaim that power.

    Waldo, my husband downloaded October’s conference onto my iPod for me. All of the “sessions” were included (including the Priesthood session), but the General Relief Society “meeting” was not. That speaks volumes about who the intended audience is.

  76. Waldo,
    If they thought they were addressing the whole body of the Church, they would be. There wouldn’t be women only meetings or male only meetings.

    Jack,
    “For most men it can be a millstone around the neck at times — a grand opportunity to learn something about grinding one’s personal interests to powder.”

    Imagine if I said: For most women motherhood can be a millsotine around the neck at times–a grand opportunity to learn something about grinding one’s personal interests to powder. I don’t know why anyone would want to be a mother.

  77. #63 Good piont. Why is the church pressuring singles to marry? We have been admonished to marry soon, choose carefully and stay married. Isn’t this contradictory? How do you choose carefully and quickly?

  78. Brad,

    Not sure your sassy analogy about the vote hits the mark — unless you believe the powers of the priesthood to be founded upon utterly secular principles. Section 121 clearly denies that proposition. In fact, if women not holding the priesthood is such a great evil then I wonder that the heavens haven’t withdrawn and a grand “amen” hasn’t been pronounced against the priesthood leadership.

  79. Kristine says:

    Jack–read carefully. I don’t think the discussion is about “actively seeking the responsibilities of the priesthood.”

  80. Jack,

    “Why anyone would actively seek the responsibilities of the priesthood is beyond me. For most men it can be a millstone around the neck at times — a grand opportunity to learn something about grinding one’s personal interests to powder.”

    In rebuttal, let me quote to you what President Monson said in just this past priesthood session:

    “The gift of the priesthood is priceless. It carries with it, the authority to act as God’s servants, to administer to the sick and to bless our families and bless others as well. Its authority can reach beyond the veil of death, on into the eternities. There is nothing else to compare with it in all this world.”

  81. mmiles,

    How many men are actively seeking to become mothers?

  82. That’s a little joke.

  83. Me,

    While that may be true on the one hand there are also increased burdens on the other. I don’t think most folks really understand the grief most bishops must endure as they shoulder the burdens of ward members.

  84. Paging Ms. Jack. Please come collect your Jack.

  85. Jack,
    I actually don’t think motherhood=priesthood. But it never makes sense to say something is difficult (ie. holding the priesthood), therefore no one would want it.

    Also, this post really had nothing to do with women seeking the priesthood. Having a voice and being equal doesn’t demand that women have the priesthood.

  86. mmiles,

    All joking aside — most women become mothers because they want to.

  87. C’mon, Kristine.

  88. Jack,
    And men recieve the priesthood because they want to.

  89. “Having a voice and being equal doesn’t demand that women have the priesthood.”

    I agree. But I doubt that many others would.

  90. mmiles,

    Could be — though I can’t put aside the fleeting notion that most men might receive the priesthood because they’re *supposed* to.

  91. JamesM,

    Not working. Now, perhaps if you paged Mrs. Jack…

    And with that I’m whisked away…

  92. Stepahnie,

    “Waldo, my husband downloaded October’s conference onto my iPod for me. All of the “sessions” were included (including the Priesthood session), but the General Relief Society “meeting” was not. That speaks volumes about who the intended audience is.”

    Actually it merely speaks volumes to what your husband thought should be downloaded onto your iPod.

    If you look at the official LDS General Conference Podcast in iTunes you will find that the five sessions of General Conference are preceded by all of the March 26th talks from the General YW meeting and then the talks from the September 2010 General Relief Society meeting.

    You’ll find the same categorization occurs on LDS.org where Conferences are identified as available including General Conference + YW + RS meetings. So they are intended for all members to access.

  93. Kristine says:

    Jack, c’mon yourself. I’ve said (as have others, several times) that women’s ordination is not the issue. If you think that ordaining women is the only way to give them an equal voice, then maybe you need to check your own assumptions about what priesthood means. But really, this is not a discussion about ordaining women to priesthood offices.

  94. Crystal says:

    How is priesthood equal to motherhood? I have NEVER understood that…wouldn’t it be more fatherhood is equal to motherhood????

    I agree with Kristine in that the big issue is that women don’t have a strong voice in church.

    While I loved the fact that in Elder Cook’s talk he spoke of a priesthood leader actually listening to the council of the Stake RS President..I find it problematic that a) she felt the need to ask permission to share her insight and b) that her insight could have just as easily fell on deaf ears.

    Even in leadership callings women are in many ways completely dependent upon men to follow through with what they need to get things done. Look at callings, I don’t think I have ever been an RS Presidency where there wasn’t a problem calling teachers. We’d go over a list of women pray about it, feel good about it, then have it second guessed by the bishopric. Then we would start the process over again..and again..and again.
    I remember in one instance, the Bishopric kept hem hawing about filling a specific calling with a certain sister so the RS President went up to the sister herself and asked her to help out with that responsibility in an unofficial capacity. I can tell you that didn’t go over too well with that Bishop, but what was the RS President to do? She needed the help. The problem is, not all women in the church are that bold.

  95. Seems to me that there is room in the gospel for seeing the priesthood as having ritual function and being confined (for now) to men whilst simultaneously decoupling priesthood from bureaucratic authority and thus creating an equal space for women.

  96. Stephanie says:

    No, Alain, when he dowloaded it, he downloaded it as “Complete Conference”. They may have changed it since then.

  97. So Kristine, explain for me how the better inclusion of women’s voices would happen? Because at first I thought the advocacy was for women to have all of the same administrative and ordinance responsibilities as the Ward and Stake Priesthood leaders have as well as the general bearers of the priesthood. But if the request isn’t to be the ones doing the temple recommend interviews or serving the sacrament or extending callings or making the final decision on a particular adjustment in Church policy, then what is it?

    I think of the Bishopric I serve in how we spend an enormous amount of time gathering insight from the sisters as we dig into potential callings, changes within the organizations, and setting up the way the Ward runs. I rarely find myself recommending a particular name for a calling without quietly exploring who might be the best fit with sisters in leadership roles and other sisters in the Ward. I know they have a greater awareness and insight that I may not have and we rely upon that information to help determine what is taken to the Lord. We tread very lightly when an Auxiliary President requests a name for a particular calling and only suggest adjustments when the Sister isn’t seeing the bigger picture of changes that need to happen across the Ward or isn’t aware of other insight that might preclude that person from serving.

    I can’t emphasize how heavily we rely on insight from the Sisters and I find myself trying to pull more input out of them as we meet in councils. It can be a challenge though since there are some brethren in the councils who are more aggressive in making their points and this can cause some sisters to shrink from the discussion – which means I have to pull them back in. All I can say is that it’s an ongoing process but the goal as I see it is that all speak freely and are openly encouraged to provide their input.

    I’m of a rather liberal mindset, every time we start looking for a calling I examine the wording of the HCI to determine whether it explicitly says a calling must be a man or woman. And I frequently found myself as an Executive Secretary pushing back against a Bishop who insisted that only brethren should pray at the end of sacrament meeting. I actually would prefer to see meetings where no one but sisters are speaking and praying just to break the mold further. And I’m not talking about a Relief Society meeting or the annual Primary Sunday.

    So is it that ultimately the Bishop or the Stake President makes the final decision (which I see some have issues with in this thread) or is it that there’s insufficient opportunity for inclusion of Sisters in the discussion of the issues and needs of the Ward and Stake?

  98. Mike (70),

    I agree with you when you say “I don’t think having things the way they are in any way proves that they are not asking questions about gender issues.” We just don’t know. And I am okay with that. I think the critical thing about this life is becoming more like Christ and following the two great commandments. I don’t say that to mean we shouldn’t discuss these things, but to say that no matter what the ultimate answer turns out to be, I am okay with it.

    (emphasis added)

    Didn’t Christ spend most of his ministry looking for hypocrisy in the status quo and usurping authority?

    Just sayin’.

  99. Great way to put it succinctly, Ronan.

  100. Jack, c’mon yourself.

    Well said. =)

  101. Jack (81, 86, 90)

    How many men are actively seeking to become mothers?

    All joking aside — most women become mothers because they want to.

    Could be — though I can’t put aside the fleeting notion that most men might receive the priesthood because they’re *supposed* to.

    Well, at least you have consistency of thought because after all, everyone knows that there is no social pressure on women to have kids.

    (FWIW, I never felt social pressure to receive the priesthood – serve a mission? sure, some, but to receive the priesthood? not at all. I don’t even understand your argument to be honest.)

  102. Kristine says:

    “So Kristine, explain for me how the better inclusion of women’s voices would happen?”

    Alain, that’s a book-length question, and I’m not going to try to answer it in a blog comment. But you could start answering the question by re-reading your comment, and checking who is the agent in every situation you describe–women are included if _men_ are magnanimous enough to make it happen. Women are not part of the “we” you describe as the decision-making body, even when that decision is choosing her own counselors. It’s nice of you to be deferential, but you don’t have to, and you can presume that your vision of the big picture should override hers.

    No woman could write any of that with men as the objects of the verbs.

  103. Stephanie says:

    Actually, Alain, go to lds. org to the October 2010 General Conference page. Download the audio at the top of the page that says “Entire Conference”. I just did. There are NO talks from the General Relief Society Meeting.

    So, what was that about my husband again? Or how about you explain how the Relief Society Broadcast is intended for “everyone” when it is not part of the “complete conference”?

  104. Kristine, perhaps I was imprecise in my wording but I think you answered my question. It is about who makes the decisions then. To be clear, I don’t see my efforts in including sisters as being magnanimous as a Bishopric is doing it wrong if the sisters voices aren’t a part of the decision.

    Let’s take a case in point, say the Primary President comes to the Bishopric and recommends a new counselor. The woman in question has some health challenges of which the Primary President may not be aware. Clearly the Primary President has prayed about this and feels the Lord has revealed who her next counselor should be. My role as the member of the Bishopric is to cautiously discuss this health challenge (without disclosing confidential information) with the Primary President and jointly discuss if that changes what she feels she has heard from the Lord. If she still feels strongly then it is up to her and the Bishopric to jointly pray and receive confirmation that this is what the Lord wants. Either the answer comes back yes or no but it should be something all agree on. If they cannot then more time should be spent contemplating the decision until all receive an answer from the Lord.

    How should that be handled differently?

  105. Raymond Takashi Swenson says:

    If you resent the callings that are extended to you, because you don’t get to pick and choose what you want to do, then your problem is not with whether men or women hold the priesthood, but with the whole idea of a church that relies on its members as general volunteers who are willing to serve anywhere they are needed, and which relies on leaders at every level to seek inspiration from God about the people asked to fill each longer term assignment.

    We all know that the leadership positions in Relief Society involve real work of real significance in the physical and spiritual well-being of women and their families. It is just as vital as the work done by the leaders of Melchizedek Priesthood quorums.

    The work done by those who lead and teach the young women is just as important to raising the next generation of Latter-day Saints as the work of the Aaronic Priesthood leadership.

    The work done by the Primary leadership (including overseeing the work of male teachers, pianists and choristers) is also foundational.

    Even without ordination to the priesthood, women in the Church do things that are just as significant in terms of the number of people affected by their leadership and decision making and execution on a daily basis as the work that is done by most of the men. An observer from outside the church who was not familiar with the priesthood infrastructure would primarily see, Sunday to Sunday, women doing pretty much the same thing men are doing within each congregation, including things that are done in some churches by women who are formally assistant pastors.

    The only person I ever knew who actually aspired to be a bishop or stake president was one of the worst missionaries in my mission. I think there is a connection between holding a distorted vision of what leadership callings are about and behaving in a way that makes receiving such callings unlikely.

    If you were to replace your bishop, would you extend callings in a different way, telling people they have no obligation to accept callings that are not a comfortable fit for them, that put them in places where they feel inadequate or poorly prepared, and that you would never release someone who was enjoying a calling just because the ward needed them somewhere else? How would putting a woman in the position of bishop change any the problems you have with the way callings are extended?

  106. Kristine says:

    Well, maybe the way Eliza R. Snow did it, which was to just go out to Farmington and set apart the woman she thought should be the Primary president…

    :)

    (Also, who are you talking to? Has anyone expressed resentment about the callings extended to them?)

  107. Chris Gordon says:

    I’d like to put a different spin on things, if I may. I have trouble pitying the under-representation of female speakers and any grander societal implications in light of the following observations about the content of most talks that aren’t universally applicable in topic (e.g., “faith,” “sabbath worship,” “etc.”). Nearly every talk meant to encourage men in their duties involves something related to not living up to the sisters, such as:

    1) Every talk I ever heard as a missionary included a dig on the elders for not living up to the spirituality and example of the sisters.

    2) Pornography denigrates and destroys a proper relationship with women.

    3) Lack of leadership in the home leaves women, who are by their nature more prone to and more gifted at spiritual leadership in the home, in the lurch, alone, and disappointed.

    4) Not paying sufficient attention to marriage, young men, leaves behind so many worthy, wonderful sisters (who are in no way contributing to the situation), who are waiting for their eternal companion.

    5) Being too angry, men, will destroy your relationship with your wife.

    6) Divorce is more often than not uniquely your fault, men.

    Contrast that with flowery messages of inspiration, affirmations of worth, and challenges to do more within the near limitless potential for good innate to all women given in nearly every Relief Society meeting.

    I recognize the structural inequalities in the hierarchy of church leadership. I deplore the false traditions of our fathers that devalue the input, inspiration, and leadership potential of women. I call to shame any bishop who imposes his will on a sister called to a position of presidency and doesn’t give utmost heed to her direction regarding her stewardship, or who stupidly thinks there’s any good reason not to have a sister pray here or there in any given meeting.

    I ask only that apart from bemoaning the inequity in structure, you acknowledge that in content, in theme, and in actual word, men and their tendencies toward foible are berated on every turn and couched in “You’re not measuring up”-ness WAY more than anything the sisters ever get subjected to.

    If any sister out there can remember a talk where she was so criticized, I’d love a cite because I’ve never read one.

  108. Alain,
    It would be different if their was, for instance, a woman as a counselor in the Bishopbric.

  109. @Stephanie, the General Conference sessions occurred on April 2-3. The General YW meeting occurred on March 26th. Podcasts are generally grouped according to a particular time frame. So you can download individual talks or one single audio file for a particular “meeting.”

    Yet all of the sessions and meetings are grouped under the title of General Conference in the Podcast AND under the title of Conferences on the LDS.org site. All of these talks are also included together in the April / October Ensign while also being distinguished for occurring on separate days.

    I’m simply suggesting not seeing malice where an alternative explanation exists. Clearly the brethren intend for these conference talks to be available and referenced by all. And for the record, I wasn’t attacking your husband. It was more tongue in cheek since I know my wife asks me to do things and while I might complete the task as I understood it, what I deliver might not be what she needed or wanted.

  110. Anyone looking to man, including the General Authorities of the Church, for answers to these concerns/questions is going to be disappointed – no matter the answer. We are told to ask Christ Himself for answers to our questions. Why not do so? There is nothing stopping you from expressing concerns and questions to the Lord Himself. In fact, we are asked to do so and told that we will receive an answer if we ask in faith. Ask the Lord, humbly, in prayer and the Holy Ghost can manifest the answer to us. We all are promised the spirit of revelation – and that is what is needed to answer the question. Pray, ask, and search the scriptures; the answers are there. You won’t receive the answers on a blog or in General Conference.

    Lastly, concern for who presides or leads within the Church is of no importance. Our exaltation is what is important, and that stands independent of the organization of the Church. The first chapter of 1 Nephi makes that plainly obvious.

  111. Kristine says:

    Chris, that’s _exactly_ the problem. We speak as if women were perfect, and behave as though their perfection makes them incapable of functioning in the nasty business of self-governance.

  112. C’mon, Kristine,

    When, one day, we can formulate a cogent answer to the “problem” of “presiding” without bringing priesthood into the equation then I’ll be all ears.

    B.Russ,

    Surely you’re not implying that my argument is over your head? ;>)

  113. OK, now I’m gone…

  114. Stephanie says:

    Alain, this was my experience: I grabbed my iPod after DH downloaded the “complete conference” on it and headed out to run. I thought, “Hmm. I’ll start with Sister Beck’s talk from the RS Broadcast”, and lo and behold, it’s not there.

    Do you have any idea how that feels? It reminds me that I am the “other”. If I want to listen to the RS Broadcast, I have to go and download it separately, on my own. Because it’s not part of the official conference. It’s not for everyone. But the priesthood session is. How many men do you think download the complete session and then go back and look for the RS Broadcast?

  115. @108. mmiles,

    I’m all for it. There is however the pesky challenge of priesthood ordination since to serve on a Bishopric you must be a High Priest. And I thought we were saying that this discussion wasn’t about priesthood ordination? :)

    Honestly, I generally consider the Relief Society President as a fourth head of the bishopric given how much responsibility and input she provides to the whole decision making process on almost every aspect of administration and even moreso on ministration to the needs of individual members.

  116. Stephanie says:

    Alain, I am not suggesting malice. I am suggesting blindness. Quite honestly, I don’t fault our church leaders for women being in the blind spot. I think we are a reflection of our own culture. And as long as men are willing to make arguments like, “Well, you can find it if you look for it” instead of “Oh, yeah, I can see how that reinforces that women aren’t quite equal to men yet”, we will make very slow progress.

  117. Stephanie, I’ll readily concede the point. I don’t know why they don’t incorporate all of the recordings into one single download so that someone could listen to all of the conference talks that occur in March/April and September/October. I also don’t know why they hold the sister’s meeting separately from the defined weekend of General Conference other than that’s the way it has always been done AND because there’s not enough time.

    I would gladly trade with you – we can move the Sister’s session to Saturday night and I can stay home and hang out with my daughters because the Priesthood session is scheduled for the week previous.

  118. Stephanie says:

    That’s not necessary, Alain. Including the RS Broadcast as a session instead of a “meeting” is enough. But, thanks for listening and understanding.

  119. Cody,

    Anyone looking to man, including the General Authorities of the Church, for answers to these concerns/questions is going to be disappointed – no matter the answer. We are told to ask Christ Himself for answers to our questions. Why not do so?

    Do you understand the irony of saying that looking to General Authorities for answers is a poor solution, and then saying “We are told” to ask Christ instead?

    You won’t receive the answers on a blog or in General Conference.

    I regularly receive answers to many questions in both of those forums.

  120. Jack, what’s worse, being the Bishop, or being the Bishop’s wife?

  121. Kristine,

    I honestly don’t get how you can have female leadership “equal” with male leadership (hierarchically) unless you’re arguing for women to get the priesthood or you’re arguing the office of bishop doesn’t need to be based on priesthood authority.

    Priesthood authority is the premise for leadership within the church at the highest levels. If women are to have those positions, they either need the priesthood, or the priesthood needs to be restricted to ordinances (which women perform/performed at least to some extent).

    How do you feel women can be equal without the priesthood?

  122. Alain,

    Stephanie, I’ll readily concede the point.

    Wise choice. Your 109 had some insanely large stretch marks on it.

  123. I totally get what Kristine is saying, and I love the Eliza R. Snow example. However, it seems that some of us at BCC, while agonizing over the lack of female speakers and prayers at General Conference, were also decrying the “primary voice” of the female speakers that were represented.

    Perhaps if they were looked more upon as equals and given more of the respect and equality they deserve, we’d be less likely to look down on the sisters and they’d be less defensive, if I may, in their tone. Really, how much of that primary voice and delivery can be linked to these kinds of parity issues?

    It seems that we’ve not yet even reached the dubious plateau of “separate but equal”.

  124. Kristine says:

    “Really, how much of that primary voice and delivery can be linked to these kinds of parity issues?”

    92.6%

  125. Kristine, really? I was thinking 92.4%, but then I’m a guy. I’ll go with your figure.

  126. Since I brought up the website rabbit trail, I was just going by my experience. I went to the Itunes Store, typed in LDS General Conference in the search tool and was given the option to download every session, plus the YW mtg…

    And on further inspection, I see that the last RS session is there too…

  127. Kristine says:

    The real question, Waldo, is whether you, or any other man reading this thread, has ever downloaded and listened to one of those talks.

  128. Kristine, actually I downloaded one of them today (Sister Beck’s). And I read them from the Ensign when they come about as religiously as I read the rest of the talks from General Conference. In other words, I don’t discriminate between sessions and meetings as to what is relevant.

  129. Kristine, I listen to them, but not the most recent ones

  130. Martin, 121, see Ronan’s 95.

  131. I haven’t downloaded them, but in full disclosure, I don’t normally download GC either. I did this time, but will be hard pressed to actually listen to them. We do, however, usually listen to them (RS/YW/GC) as they happen.

  132. Stephanie says:

    Uh, Waldo, go back and read my comments again. The point is not that the RS/YW meetings are hidden or inaccessible. The point is that they are not part of the ENTIRE CONFERENCE DOWNLOAD – one download of all the conference. The complete conference in one download. The RS meeting is not there. Shall I say it again a different way?

  133. Kristine,

    Somewhat guilty. I’ve read a few of the RS talks, but generally only after my wife has remarked about them.

    If we are viewing these issues equally, then “[threads] like this will be unnecessary.”

    Point well taken. Think globally, act locally.

  134. Kristine says:

    Well, if it’s true confessions time, I’m equally guilty of not listening to Priesthood Session and the RS meeting :)

  135. Sorry Stephanie, I guess I didn’t catch that…

    Personally, I wish they would combine the RS/YW, have it during the semi-annual conference in place of PH and then hold PH during the annual conference…

  136. Priesthood session is held twice a year, whereas the Relief Society meeting is only once a year.

    Guys really must be more important than the gals after all. Or wait, it’s that we NEED that extra meeting to even begin to approach the greater spirituality of the women of the Church. (Rolling my eyes at my own comment….)

  137. I really am interested by whether the self-proclaimed feminists here feel equality requires women to receive the priesthood. I don’t think many disagree that women should speak more and pray more at general conference. I’ll bet you won’t find anybody here who’ll claim women shouldn’t pray in sacrament meeting. But this is hardly the same as working “side by side” with men in the church.

    Within my ward, I feel the RS pres does work side by side with the HP and EQ leader/pres. I do feel the YW and YM presidents work side by side. Women pray just as often in sacrament meeting and even speak after their husbands on occasion. I’m not sure what progress is lacking, other than within the bishopric, and that would require a very fundamental change in the way “priesthood” is used within the church. Even the complaint that deacons presidents stand before RS presidents in ward conference sustainings is based on the idea that deacons presidents have priesthood keys (though I’ve never grasped what they were).

    Brigham Young’s claim to authority was based on the fact that the 12 held priesthood keys. He had no other basis, as far as I understand. Presiding leadership is based on priesthood keys, and that seems to be a pretty core belief.

    So, specifically, what is being requested? That the beehives pass the sacrament? Or that women be ordained bishops?

  138. Kristine, I go to the PH session, and often don’t listen, either (naptime during the first hour).

  139. Alex P. Keaton says:

    There was a time when women/girls actually did prepare and pass the sacrament. Then it was decided that the deacons needed something to do, so the practice changed.

  140. I read the priesthood session first…as it’s what I have missed.

    I guess I’m missing the lack of call to repentance for woman. I feel called to repentance. President Beck does that alot. She frequently sets forth an ideal and challenges women to live up to that ideal. http://lds.org/general-conference/2007/10/what-latter-day-saint-women-do-best-stand-strong-and-immovable?lang=eng&query=sisters+living+up+potential+Julie+Beck

    I know the titel of the talk is “what women do best, stand strong and immovable” but it is clear in the talk that we are not all doing that…and how different it would be if we did.

    I have noticed that it seems women tend to be telling women how they CAN be…whereas the men tend to be told both what they are doing wrong and what they can be. Both are calls to repentance, IMO.

  141. Alex, yes, my point was that passing the sacrament doesn’t require the priesthood, but being ordained a bishop does.

  142. Martin, I’m the HP GL in our ward, and I work very closely, side by side, with the RS president. We also play together, take vacations together, go to movies together, and eat meals together. We’ve been married a long time.

    But on a serious note, I do get a lot more insights into the women’s side of things because she is my wife, and it makes it a whole lot easier to understand what’s going on. Otherwise, I’d just be restricted to what I hear in ward council, and that’s not a lot of time. I definitely view RS issues in a whole different way than I do Primary issues, FWIW. It points out to me the reality of men and women in church leadership being unequally yoked in this discussion.

  143. Kristine says:

    “So, specifically, what is being requested? That the beehives pass the sacrament? Or that women be ordained bishops?”

    If we were really committed to the idea of women being able to participate equally, I’m sure we could come up with creative practical solutions. Until we make that fundamental commitment, though, the current priesthood structure will inevitably be seen to present insurmountable obstacles.

  144. titel sigh. It’s ancient egyptian for typo master.

  145. Chris Gordon says:

    @Kristine, since when did capacity have anything to do with calling?

  146. Kristine says:

    Chris,
    huh?

  147. Kristine, that’s my point. Say we were fundamentally committed. What would be a solution?

    Currently in my ward, the ward council represents RS presidents and EQ/HP pres/GL as equal, YM and YW pres., as equal. The YW budget matches or exceeds the YM budget per capita (of course, the RS budget is 10x the combined EQ/HP budget, but never mind). Admittedly, PEC still exists, but it’s pretty much a bishopric/EQ/HP coordination of hometeaching that the RS pres also attends and gives input to.

    I just don’t know what to do next that isn’t fundamental. I guess the clerks/exec sec could be women…

  148. Perhaps when women are allowed to work side by side outside the church in the professional realm without cultural backlash there will be greater ease working side by side inside the church.
    Just a thought. I appreciated the talk.

  149. Mark Brown says:

    Changes that could be made which do not require female ordination:

    1. Men and women serve together in Sunday school and Primary presidencies.

    2. When someone in the ward needs compassionate service in the form of a meal, men in the ward are asked to help.

    3. The calling of Relief Society president becomes elevated. She could be asked to sit on the stand during sacrament meeting, or speak more frequently. Her testimony is more important to hear than the testimony of the bishop’s counselors.

    4. RSP conducts council meetings where men are present now and then. This does not require priesthood.

    That is just off the top of my head in two minutes.

  150. Mark 149

    1. I think there is worry that this would cause some awkward situations where the men and women are alone together.
    2. have no problem with this
    3. This would be a punishment to the Relief Society president. I would hate to have to ask her to do that in my ward. I don’t know anyone who likes staying on the stand.
    4. not sure what this would accomplish

  151. Unless/until we’re OK with men taking care of business at home, I don’t think women are going to have much success achieving equality (via Priesthood or just general participation) at church. If women are better at home than men are, why give them all those responsibilities that take them out of the home? If the men are gone it’s no big deal, right? As the so-called “head” of the home, men seem to be expected to do relatively little actually in the home.

    On the other hand, I see some progress. Unnecessary meetings are being trimmed which hopefully gives priesthood leaders more time at home. Ward Councils where women leaders are present are being trained to take on more responsibilities and it is giving the women more of a voice, at least at a local level. At the very least in my Ward it seems to be working in that way. So while women may never get the priesthood (but hopefully they do before my son turns 8, I’d love to see my wife perform the baptism!) hopefully we’re working towards giving them greater voice at least.

  152. Mark Brown says:

    jtb, 150,

    1. Yup, that’s the worry, and we need to get over it if we want to claim that “men and women work side by side”. We already do this with scout committees and activity committees without a noticeable increase in excommunications for adultery. We actually already do it now sometimes with the SS presidency, since sometimes we call a woman to be the SS secretary. Why not take a walk on the wild side and call a woman to be 2nd counselor?

    3. Right, nobody wants to sit on the stand. Do you hate to do it to your bishop and counselors?

    4. It would accomplish a lot. Just being in a room where a woman is giving assignments to men and asking them for accountability for the assignments which were given last week would help us all see women a leaders.

  153. Stephanie says:

    jtb, it would reduce the perception that men are over women, that men have the last say or the final say.

  154. Historically, the RS has had a lot more power to carry out their charge in helping the poor and the needy w/o needing to be priesthood holders.

    This really isn’t a doctrinal issue as much as it is a church policy/ cultural one.

  155. Chris Gordon says:

    @ Kristine, back when I made my initial rant about how most of the content of talks extolls women’s virtues and decries men’s foibles, you countered that that is really the point–that

    “We speak as if women were perfect, and behave as though their perfection makes them incapable of functioning in the nasty business of self-governance.”

    So I ask, since when does capacity have anything to do with calling?

  156. Stephanie says:

    Just being in a room where a woman is giving assignments to men and asking them for accountability for the assignments which were given last week would help us all see women a leaders.

    Amen. That’s actually kind of a mind-blowing thought.

  157. “I think there is worry that this would cause some awkward situations where the men and women are alone together.”

    Can we get over the whole “awkward” situations mentality? The whole veil of awkwardness we place over relations with members of the opposite sex is a tired one, if you ask me. As if men and women can’t work beside each other in some presidency without the risk of them tearing each others clothes off each time they’re alone.

    Does it happen? Probably. Should we cast a stigma on the whole idea because some people just can’t control themselves? Probably not.

    Let’s be adults and stop fearing the boogeymen and boogeywomen that everyone says are waiting around every corner where men and women are alone. Do men & women not coexist in the business world relatively fine, working together? Absolutely. Some great friendships develop. Some trysts develop. Some acrimony develops. That’s human nature, but stop trying to fear everyone into thinking that men and women can’t work/serve together.

  158. Kristine says:

    Chris, the discussion of women’s supposedly superior virtue has as little basis in reality or righteousness as the exclusion of them from governance. Women are fully human, with the capacity both to sin and to lead. Not acknowledging one is part and parcel of denying the other.

  159. Alex P. Keaton says:

    Mark, I really like the idea of men being asked to serve in Primary Presidencies (with women). Another idea would be for boys and girls (deacons and beehives) to pass the sacrament.

  160. I just don’t know what to do next that isn’t fundamental. I guess the clerks/exec sec could be women…

    They were, until about 15 years ago. My aunt, Evelyn Taylor, was the long-time membership clerk in her Poplar Grove (Salt Lake City) ward.

  161. 57 “This post is making me feel much better that I do not seek leadership positions…”

    I used to feel confused about this issue when I was new to Mormonism also, so don’t feel bad. If it helps print out this handy reminder OR( if you are a real go-getter) ask one of those nice ladies from the Relief Society to cross-stitich it on a pillow for you. From the newly correlated LDS Style Guide:
    “When a woman is referencing a lay position within the Church of Jesus Christ-Latter Day Saints the position referred to is termed one of “authority,” insofar as she is attempting to place a woman in that role. If a male is speaking in reference to a male performing in that same role it is to be termed a “service,” role.”

    Tricky, right? Like when you were first learning French and couldn’t figure out why your pencil had a gender. Stay with it though, I sense real promise in you.

  162. Mark Brown (152),
    Sure, we could make all of those changes. And more–like VT assignments regularly for YW, and men being allowed to teach in primary without a chaperone. Still…What Ronan said above (which is just a restatement of Brad’s mantra)….

    Does anyone really believe that any of these things would solve the problem? I’m very, very skeptical. If each and every single one of those things were implemented today, the argument would shift immediately from “Why can’t women do these things which don’t require the priesthood?” to “Why can women do all of these 98% of assignments, and not those other 2%?” Using slippery slopes as an argument is kind of weak sauce, but it’s often the fact: If we, as a religion, make any concessions on any issue, it just makes it harder and harder to defend any other inequalities.

    I am in favor of making the changes you mention, Mark. I just also think that anyone who expects that such changes would make anyone happy for more than a week or two is delusional.

  163. Stephanie says:

    Another idea would be for boys and girls (deacons and beehives) to pass the sacrament.

    But that requires the priesthood.

  164. B.Russ,

    Surely you’re not implying that my argument is over your head? ;>)

    You are correct Jack, I am not implying that.

  165. Chris Gordon says:

    @ Kristine, I agree that the rhetoric is flawed. I only make the point that it’s difficult to accuse leaders of parochialism when in every opportunity they praise those you you accuse them of subjugating and essentially rip on their own left and right.

  166. Alex P. Keaton says:

    Stephanie, there is no scriptural requirement to hold the priesthood to pass the sacrament, only to bless it. And as mentioned above, it used to be the case that women/girls did help prepare and pass the sacrament. I’m not sure when exactly it was changed and don’t have time right now to look it up. I’d bet that Ardis knows.

  167. Stephanie says:

    Good to know, Alex. Thanks.

  168. Do we have any old testament scholars who know how this was worked out when the sons of Aaron had the priesthood but the other tribes didn’t? How did the other tribes deal with it? Were concessions made? Did other tribes have positions of authority?

    sigh…Maybe I should look into it.

  169. A nice start would be calling the RS President, the YW President, the Primary President, etc., “President so and so”. Instead we use “Sister so and so” which demonstrates the fact that although they are called to serve, they are not called to preside.

    #163 – It does? Women pass the sacrament in the pews every Sunday in my Ward (it only causes a riot if one dares walk the tray across the aisle to the next row of pews).

  170. Hearty amen to Mark Brown’s comments, especially #152 point 4.

  171. Kristine says:

    “I only make the point that it’s difficult to accuse leaders of parochialism…”

    Well, I don’t think it’s parochialism anyone’s accusing them of. But the praise doesn’t really mean much, because it’s unattested by corresponding action. It’s intended to deflect criticism, and it’s necessary only because the structure screams so loudly that women are less valued.

  172. I believe women are meant to receive the priesthood at some point in the history of the earth, and that eventually they will. I do hope, and I pray hard, actually, that the First Presidency and the apostles will become open to the idea – entertaining the possibility, praying for it, even hungering for it.

    I guess one scenario would be that a husband and wife serve together as bishop and stake president, and so-on up the line. There are lots of possibilities for who would serve as counsellors – married, single, male, female. I haven’t thought through this scenario in any detail. It obviously brings up lots of issues, including overcoming eons of cultural tradition. I guess it will be helpful when we receive more information about how our Heavenly Parents function together. At least we know they both hold the priesthood.

  173. I guess one scenario would be that a husband and wife serve together as bishop and stake president, and so-on up the line.

    I think that having relationships between leaders which are stronger than relationships between leaders and the people/institution they lead is a very dangerous road to travel.

  174. “A nice start would be calling the RS President, the YW President, the Primary President, etc., “President so and so”. Instead we use “Sister so and so” which demonstrates the fact that although they are called to serve, they are not called to preside.”

    Actually in the wards I have lived over the past few years, I noticed this trend and I have even seen them listed them in the Sunday program as “President so and so” which I found refreshing.

  175. One to add to Mark’s list in #152:

    5. 50% of participants in stake disciplinary councils to be women.

    I realize that D&C 102 specifies that high councils are made up of 12 High Priests, but I personally see nothing that occurs in a disciplinary council, in terms of the members of the council, that actually presupposes priesthood ordination. The stake president presides, but for the participating members, what is called for is to listen to those who are the subject of the disciplinary council, and to seek inspiration and guidance during the proceedings and ask questions, and give counsel to the stake president, who makes the ultimate decision.

    No ordinance, no specific priesthood functions, and the ultimate decision is made by the SP who holds priesthood authority. That would be an interesting change for these councils.

  176. #84 JamesM ~ Paging Ms. Jack. Please come collect your Jack.

    Hey, he ain’t mine. My “Mr. Jack” knows that bad things would happen to him if he spouted platitudes like “but women get all of the blessings of the priesthood!”

    I’m saving my thoughts on Elder Cook’s talk for my own blog post, but I like your short post, Kristine, and I see a lot of good thoughts happening on this thread.

  177. Mark, #152, thanks, that was what I was looking for. But I completely agree with Scott B. in #162. If equality is what we’re looking for, and we don’t believe that “separate but equal” truly exists, then eventually the only answer is that women must have the priesthood. I never know if self-proclaimed feminists who back away from this are confused about this point themselves or slightly disingenuous, wanting to lead us carefully along with milk before we can handle the meat. Maybe they’re afraid to be labeled heretics.

    Of course, yet another possibility is maybe the real reluctance to wanting the priesthood for women comes from buying into the idea that somehow being female is special in a different way than is being male. I don’t see how that could be anything other than sexist, though.

  178. Mark Brown says:

    Martin, speaking only for myself, I think female ordination is a secondary consideration. I would be happy if we could recognize sexism for what it is and quit making up excuses for it. But until we do away with all the excuse-making, we will never be able to think clearly enough to have a real conversation about it. As it stands now, we are like people in 1960, making up fairy tales about black peoples’ lack of valiance in the pre-existence.

  179. Mark Brown says:

    Another way to say it is that once we are able to jettison our sexism, female ordination will cease to be a big thing at all and will happen naturally, as a matter of course. It is possible that sometime in the future our children or grandchildren will look back on our era and shake their heads in disbelief.

  180. @Scott B. #119

    There is no irony in what I said. Do you look to the GAs to provide the revelation in your life or do you ask God and then search the scriptures (which includes GA talks in General Conference)? The modern idea of sitting at the feet of GAs for all our revelation astonishes me. It’s a cult of personality that is a crutch for those not seeking the gifts of the Spirit. The scriptures tell you to ask God. The GAs might provide some insight, but ultimately your answer has to come from God through the Holy Ghost, regardless of what the GAs say. In fact, we are obligated to do so rather than blindly follow men.

  181. Mark (178)

    Martin, speaking only for myself, I think female ordination is a secondary consideration.

    I believe you if you insist that is the truth, but as I told SB2 earlier today, “it just seems stupid to say, ‘I insist on A in the name of equality! But I don’t insist on B in the name of equality!’

    If anything but full, complete, unadulterated equality is the goal, then arguments to improve the place of women in the Church should not be couched in terms of equality at all. Fairness? Okay. Decency? Okay. Kindness. Okay. But to me, it’s an insult to equality to drop the campaign at 80%.

  182. Cody (180),
    You realize that every scrap of scripture which says “Ask God” comes from people who are, in effect, “General Authorities” right?

  183. It took me forever to read the comments, but my thoughts are:

    1) Exactly what Ronan said in #95. It’s not a hard thing conceptually, but in practical terms . . .

    2) I’ve seen a LOT of effort by the global leadership to redefine “preside” over the past 10-15 years – and progressively more references to women in non-traditional ways from the pulpit at General Conference. There were a couple of very direct instances this past week that were very encouraging to me.

    3) Speaking to a widely diverse group of people with wildly varying views on issues like this is not an easy task. Large ships simply can’t spin on a dime without capsizing, but I absolutely am seeing real directional change – and the pace it quickening in the last couple of years, especially.

  184. Josh B. says:

    err… just curious,but why would anybody want leadership?

  185. Mark, see that’s what I’m talking about. You say in one sentence that female ordination is secondary, and bring up the fairy tales used to justify the exclusion of blacks from the priesthood in another.

    That last sentence means either women should get the priesthood, or the first sentence means blacks didn’t need the priesthood, they just needed to be treated properly.

  186. Scott beat me to it.

  187. Mark, sorry, I hadn’t seen you come clean in #179.

  188. Ray (183),

    Large ships simply can’t spin on a dime without capsizing, but I absolutely am seeing real directional change – and the pace it quickening in the last couple of years, especially.

    Fortunately, we don’t need to spin on a dime. We just need need a very small helm and to do all things that lie in our power.

  189. Scott B. (182)

    Yes, they are saying, in effect, “Don’t believe me. Ask Him yourself.”

    Do you truly believe Elder Cook’s beliefs regarding women’s role within the Church has any bearing whatever on, say, my wife’s salvation?

  190. Cody,
    I don’t know, Cody. Why don’t you ask her that question?

    More to the point, I believe the following:

    1. The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints is the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, and represents the Kingdom of God on Earth.
    2. TCoJCoLDS houses authority to perform and make saving ordinances and covenants.
    3. If we have policies and cultural attitudes which are a) unnecessary and b) prevent additional children of God from partaking of full fellowship in His Kingdom, we should jettison them.
    4. We are commanded to bind up the wounds, sorrows, and pains of our fellow brothers and sisters, and our willingness to so affects our salvation.
    5. Anyone who responds to attempts to reduce confusion and pain with repetitive questions of the form, “What does this have to do with salvation?” is a tool.

  191. Mark Brown says:

    Scott, my bugbear is not inequality, but sexism, recognizing that there is some overlap.

  192. Scott,

    I am not trying to be difficult and I appreciate your honest response. I agree that we are to bind up wounds, succor our fellow man, etc. – all of which have to do with salvation. But those things are between you and the Lord.

    I don’t understand how #3b within your comments applies, though. How are women prevented from full fellowship within God’s kingdom (which is a different thing than the Church, I might add)? I mean this sincerely. Are you referring to those who have been or would be offended that women are not numbered among GAs or don’t hold the priesthood?

    I am of a quite liberal mindset regarding these things. I find it sad that we don’t talk about prophetesses more, for example. The definition of a prophetess was asked in my local Sunday School a few weeks ago and the room went silent. Is that the GAs or the Church’s fault? No, it is the fault of the members for not searching the scriptures, where the answer lies.

    I’m not trying to be daft or insensitive, but I think there is a true lack of faith exhibited in many of the comments here, and that is indicative of people who rely solely upon men and telestial institutions for direction.

  193. “The Church of Jesus Chris of Latter-day Saints is the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, and represents the Kingdom of God on Earth.”

    The Kingdom of God on Earth and the Church are two necessarily distinct and separate entities.

    TCoJCoLDS houses authority to perform and make saving ordinances and covenants."

    No matter how much we may say differently, nothing we do here on earth is really valid unless it is accompanied by the Holy Spirit of Promise. We can use all the language in the world to say we are “sealed” or whatever the case may be, but unless that Holy Spirit seals the sealing or other, then it’s nothing more than anything else we do on earth.

    “All covenants, contracts, bonds, obligations, boaths, cvows, performances, connections, associations, or expectations, that are not made and entered into and dsealed by the Holy Spirit of promise”

    We don’t house authority any more than authority can be housed (not at all). Authority is God’s and God’s alone. Man may claim it, but claiming it does precious little in the eternal scheme of things. The Priesthood exists independent of the Church and the Church independent of the Priesthood. There is some overlap that the Church claims, but the Priesthood simply cannot be “controlled nor handled” but upon principles we largely misunderstand (myself included).

  194. It's Not Me says:

    Talking in circles.

  195. Cody,

    I agree that we are to bind up wounds, succor our fellow man, etc. – all of which have to do with salvation. But those things are between you and the Lord.

    No, see–that’s the thing: Me being willing to help bind up the pains and wounds of my fellow man is not between the Lord and myself. It’s between the person whose wounds need binding and myself.

    I don’t understand how #3b within your comments applies, though. How are women prevented from full fellowship within God’s kingdom (which is a different thing than the Church, I might add)? I mean this sincerely. Are you referring to those who have been or would be offended that women are not numbered among GAs or don’t hold the priesthood? … I’m not trying to be daft or insensitive, but I think there is a true lack of faith exhibited in many of the comments here, and that is indicative of people who rely solely upon men and telestial institutions for direction.

    Cody, I’m sorry. I’m afraid I can’t help you out here.

  196. Nobody (193),
    You’ve earned a special response that is usually reserved only for conversations involving misconstrued statements about economic theory:

    YAWN.

  197. michelle says:

    And yet, on Mormonism’s biggest stage, broadcast to the world — nothing.

    In the women’s meeting, also broadcast to the world, women pray in both prayers, plan and conduct the meeting, determine the theme, etc.

    I understand for some this isn’t enough, but it’s certainly not nothing.

    I also go back to what I said before. Maybe ‘equality’ to them doesn’t mean counting who does prayers how many times or counting the number of talks men vs. women give. I see it as being much broader than that, as a concept that is inherent in our doctrine.

    I know we’ll probably not agree on this, so I’m not trying to convince you of anything…just adding another perspective as I’m wont to do once in a while.

  198. Crystal says:

    Martin-
    I am probably ones of those that is confused.
    I just find it frustrating when I read the minutes of the Nauvoo Relief Society and read all the fantastic things that Joseph Smith told the sisters and then I study a visiting teaching message that solely discusses how the Relief Society was organized under the priesthood with little reference to other parts of what was promised when it was organized.
    I guess I could be one of those that demands the priesthood, but what does that even mean?
    With little to no expounding on what Joseph Smith proclaimed to those sisters I have little idea about what he was even talking about.
    I’m not sure if the mindless interchanging of female and male roles in the functioning of the church is really what it’s about or if there is something else that I don’t see or really understand at this point.

  199. “Maybe ‘equality’ to them doesn’t mean counting who does prayers how many times or counting the number of talks men vs. women give. I see it as being much broader than that, as a concept that is inherent in our doctrine.”

    It is inherent in our theology and scripture (I am not sure what doctrine really means). However it is largely absent from our culture and institutions.

    I do not think anyone here is measuring equality by the number of prayers. It is just one example.

  200. Mark Brown says:

    Fair enough, michelle.

    Maybe ‘equality’ to them doesn’t mean counting who does prayers

    Sure, but it was elder Cook himself who introduced this as a measure of equality.

  201. Crystal,

    I think another argument can be made that God did intend for men to have the priesthood and to preside over the church (or family for that matter), but the brethren have simply been exercising unrighteous dominion.

    Such an argument could retain separate specialness for the sexes and give a bigger voice for women in the church. However, it leaves women subordinate to men (hierarchically).

    I’d be really surprised if anybody here would be claiming to make this argument for the reasons I gave.

  202. Also, when it comes to talking about women being subordinate to men, as it stands now, the only calling at the ward level where women are subordinate in any real sense is bishop. So, if one wishes women not to be subordinate to men in any institutional way, you have to have woman bishops.

  203. Kevin Barney says:

    I agree with Scott’s 181. As the Church is presently constituted, in the mega-correlation era, there’s simply no such thing as equality without priesthood. How can there be? The inequities are largely systemic. Sure there can be gains in fairness or sensitivity or whatever on the margins. But until women have the priesthood (and to be clear, I personally believe that they should), they will always be second class citizens in this church.

  204. Eric Russell says:

    Scott (181), I think you are literally blowing a gasket over proper word usage.

  205. Eric Russell,
    I’m quite sure I don’t understand what you mean. I’m also quite sure that you need to read this.

  206. Just one thought.

    Count me in with those who think that Latter-day Saint women will never be full equals with Latter-day Saint men until they hold the priesthood. Fact is, “separate but equal” has never worked in practice.

    However, consider that there are several Protestant denominations out there that technically ordain women, but have a long history of quietly emphasizing traditional models of male headship and female subordination. Numbers of women actually serving in pastoral roles are abysmally low. The Church of the Nazarene and the Assemblies of God (I have called both denominations home at different points in my life) are two examples of this.

    Giving women the priesthood may not in itself remedy the problem of female inequality. Women could technically be given the priesthood and still be quietly marginalized in practice.

    Addressing issues of inequality apart from the question of whether or not women are given the priesthood is a worthwhile goal then. Great strides could be taken to remedy the situation without actually giving women the priesthood, and giving them the priesthood might not be the fix some people think it would be. Both issues need to be addressed.

  207. Naismith says:

    “But until women have the priesthood (and to be clear, I personally believe that they should), they will always be second class citizens in this church.”

    Well, thanks for explaining that to me, Kevin. Obviously, I was too stupid to figure it out for myself. But then I don’t have priesthood or a penis or whatever it is that gives you the moral superiority to make such a declaration.

    I know that I am a second-class citizen at work. My darn female body gets sick when I am pregnant, that required me to take years off for all those babies and of course it is catch-up trying to rebuild the career.

    And I know that I am a second-class citizen in my neighborhood, where I do volunteer work and help take care of elders (which everyone knows is an inferior contribution because if it were valuable, it would be paid like men are).

    But I naively thought that at church, the differentness of women was valued and appreciated. I loved that in the temple, women could perform ordinances in the name of our elder brother, without needing to be ordained per se. I loved that women can serve missions at any age, and I have seen sisters called to missions where their expertise (accountant, college professor, journalist) was the reason for their call, and their husbands went along in a supportive role. I loved Elder Holland’s talk about funeral potatoes and quilts recognizing the value of traditional women’s work.

    Only in the church was my work as a mother appreciated.

    But now you are telling me that it isn’t good enough there, either. The only thing that counts is to be in charge. It’s priesthood or nothing.

    Never mind that the people in charge never get to do what they want. They are on their knees, seeking the Lord’s will. It’s the Lord’s church, not the church of the penis people.

  208. Naismith…WTF!?!?

  209. Eric Russell says:

    Scott, your second sentence shows that you do understand what I mean, but I can’t tell if the irony is intentional.

    In any case, while we’re on the topic of reading comprehension, I wish the record to show that the Reilly article you linked to was written explicitly to point out how not obnoxious BYU fans are.

  210. Josh B. says:

    Separate but equal is probably not something that can be overcome. The plumbing is different- separate. Finding equality then will be a long time struggle between two very different people, unless science produces some very amazing results.

    While we can try to bridge this gap as much as possible, it will never be wholly bridged. Only socially could this be met, though even then fundamental differences will prevent perfectly equal treatment of a woman or man over the other. It will always be a give and take relationship.

    Give and take relationships are unquestionably subjective. What could seem “fair” or “equal” to one mind will be very “unfair” or “unequal” to another.

  211. Holy crap! The plumbing is different. Why has nobody explained this to me yet? Thanks, Josh. We would be lost without you.

  212. nat kelly says:

    I’m late to the conversation, and only 75% of the way through the conversation, but I thought I’d point out a previous conversation about some easy, non-doctrinal changes that could further gender equality in the church without touching on ordination issues. http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/?p=3357

  213. Separate but equal is probably not something that can be overcome. The plumbing is different- separate.

    I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve been right [ahem].

  214. B. Russ, man, I hate it when that happens.

  215. Scott B:

    You’ve received a response that I typically reserve for those people I’ll never come close to approaching in this life, or any of my multiple mortalities for that matter.

    [Funny, though, that you're still clinging to something I'd entirely moved on from and forgotten - sort of like an Uncle Rico flashback.]

  216. Josh B. says:

    Yikes. Remind me not to get a blessing from you two.

    Try to look at the bigger picture and not get hung up on the women/priesthood thing, which is only a piece of the puzzle. Else you are right, my comments would have had no weight.

  217. It wasn’t a bad comment, I just have a hard time getting past the plumbing clause.

    My response would be – all virtues are unobtainable forms in their perfection – Love, Faith, Hope, Chastity, Integrity, Honesty . . .
    But as we strive toward these forms, we more closely emulate Him who is perfect.

  218. Any quotes/sources on why sisters don’t pray in general conference? (besides RS General Meeting). I have searched for years now and I couldn’t find anything.

  219. Eric Russell,

    In any case, while we’re on the topic of reading comprehension, I wish the record to show that the Reilly article you linked to was written explicitly to point out how not obnoxious BYU fans are.

    Not quite; the article pointed out how non-rude they are, which is very different from “obnoxious.” The article consisted of Reilly pointing out how BYU fans more or less misunderstood every. single. paragraph. of his article, and then wrote to him to gripe (nicely!) about how he was attacking their faith. #obnoxious

  220. Nobody (215),
    I have no idea what I’m clinging to, nor what you have forgotten. Nor do I know who Mike Posner is. So, all things considered, I’m comfortable with your response.

  221. Ms. Jack: “Hey, he ain’t mine. My “Mr. Jack” knows that bad things would happen to him if he spouted platitudes like “but women get all of the blessings of the priesthood!”

    Well, platitudinal or not — that’s not the way I said it. But even so, you should probably shy away from the Sermon on the Mount — too many icky platitudes — you know, like loving each other and all that.

    But on a more serious note: You don’t believe women will receive a fullness of the priesthood? When it’s promised to them in plain English (or whathaveyou) — as plain as word can be? Or do you not understand what a Priestess is?

    I would think that inheriting the universe (all that there is) ought to assuage the feminist concern for equality. And just so nobody jumps the gun on me and starts shouting about women receiving their inheritance only as joint heirs with their husbands — may I remind you that all of us — both men and women — will be, as the Holy Bride, joint heirs with the Savior.

    As Raymond implied earlier, nobody gets out of this mess without following some leader — like it or not. And some of those leaders do happen to be women — believe it or not. I’ve worked in the primary for the last six or seven years and, believe me, those women in the presidency have authority over me. They have the right and power to receive revelation on my behalf as I serve in their organization. And if I were to ignore their inspired counsel then I might as well be ignoring God.

  222. By the power and authority of Julie Beck which is vested in me, I hereby close this thread.

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