We are pleased to have Casey from ExpertTextperts return with another guest post.
demanded politely asked that I write a post the Let Women Pray in General Conference campaign…with gifs. With the February 22 deadline for the letter-writing campaign approaching, I have duly complied. The purpose of this is educational: Most regular BCC readers will be familiar with the issues and arguments, but when your non blog reading relatives or ward members bring it up, then direct them here for a concise and hopefully accurate summary!
It all started when a group of Mormon feminists called All-Enlisted started a Facebook group for a campaign to allow women to pray in general conference. The same group was behind the recent Wear Pants to Church day, which you may have heard about. Some people hear about these campaigns and are like
Others are more
While a few are
So what’s the deal? Well, feminism has a negative image in the minds of many church members, who think of it as something like
That’s not really accurate at all, but honestly feminism is a big umbrella that covers a huge variety of opinions. The basic gist is just that men and women should be treated as equals, because very often they are not. That’s not so threatening, right? It’s helpful to remember that most self-described Mormon feminists, even the ones who criticize the church most, actually kind of like it. They just want to see men and women working together in the church as equal partners–just like the church teaches they should.
Mormon feminists are mostly fans of all sorts of things in the church, from the doctrine to the sense of community and family. They just feel that some church policies and some aspects of Mormon cultural make women second class citizens; in other words, unequal. Of course, sometimes that means challenging deeply ingrained beliefs and practices, which can be a reason for debate and legitimate disagreement.
But honestly, if you want to know what a Mormon feminist thinks, you should probably ask her (or him)! A lot of contention comes from people who think they already know everything about the other side angrily jumping into arguments, which leads to
and not enough
But really Let Women Pray in General Conference isn’t even about the Big Issues of feminism. It’s not calling for women to be ordained to the priesthood, requesting lesson manuals about Heavenly Mother, or demanding a Young Women’s equivalent to Scouting. It’s just asking, “Hey, women speak and pray in every other mixed church meeting, and there’s no doctrinal reason they can’t pray in General Conference, so…
Seriously, that’s it. If men and women really are equal partners, then why aren’t women ever asked to participate in the simple but powerfully symbolic act of approaching the Lord on behalf of His people? Wouldn’t that send a message that the church practices what it preaches? In fact, the anger and violent language that benevolent protests such as Let Women Pray have riled up shows that Mormonism actually does have some gender issues to sort through. Reading through comments left by self-styled “defenders” of the church makes you like,
and think, “there’s no way this is coming from a disciple of Jesus Christ.” Others are upset because they feel it’s wrong to send petitions or letters to General Authorities or to publicly voice concerns.
But again, there’s no doctrinal support for that argument. As members have as much responsibility to alert leaders of our concerns as they do to teach us the will of the Lord. They can’t do it all alone; after all, they’re not perfect. Let Women Pray isn’t calling for any change in doctrine, just for the church to be consistent with what it already teaches. Isn’t that exactly what we’d expect from the Lord’s church?
See, it’s because people like the church that they’re involved in this campaign. And that’s why everybody should be like,.