Thank You, Sisters: an Honor Roll of those who made the temple changes possible

Today, women in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints greeted the news of long-awaited changes to the temple with a range of emotions–rejoicing, contemplation, grief at pain past and ongoing. I respect and hold space for all these reactions. I have many thoughts, many things to say, many aspects of the new version of the temple ceremony to analyze, celebrate, and critique. But I will say those things another day.

Today, my thoughts keep returning to women. Returning to all my Sisters whose lives were touched by the temple experience, and especially those whose courage, sacrifices, and vision played a role in shaping that experience. These changes are not a man’s gift to us. We always knew they were ours, a gift of our Heavenly Parents. So tonight in this post I want to offer words of gratitude for the women who knew. The women whose vision, writing, pleading, and work made this day possible. 

The musical accompaniment for this post was selected by Kristine Haglund:

Sacerdotes Domini incensum et panes offerunt Deo: et ideo sancti erunt Deo suo et non polluent nomen eius. Alleluia.

Then did priests make offering of incense and bread to God: and therefore shall they be holy to their Lord and shall not defile his most holy name. Alleluia.

We give thanks and pray for the many women who made this day possible.

For Emma Hale Smith, for being fierce, fearless, and the first to preside.

For Jane Manning James, for insisting on access to the temple for an equal blessing.

For Eliza R. Snow, the prophetess, for teaching us about our “Mother there.”

For Zina Diantha Huntington Jacobs Smith Young, for performing hundreds of blessings in the Salt Lake temple.

For Sarah Melissa Granger Kimball, for securing financial independence for the Relief Society and political independence through suffrage.



For the women who lived the Principle, though it cost them everything. For the women who broke their dishes to build the temple’s walls.

For Chieko Okazaki, for acknowledging women’s pain and advocating for their inclusion.

For Lavina Anderson, for insisting that words matter.

For Carol Lynn Pearson, for naming the Motherless House.

For Liz Hammond, for introducing us to the Mormon Priestess.



For all the women of vision who saw and knew. For all the women who questioned themselves, for all the women whom others questioned and belittled, for all the women who were sure and built up others. For my own mother, and grandmothers, and great-grandmothers. For my sisters. I am thankful for the sacrifices and work of all of you.



This is not and never could be an exhaustive Honor Roll, but it doesn’t end at the bottom of this post, it continues in the comments. I encourage you to add names to the list in the comments. If you like, include a URL so we can learn more about the person you are naming to the Honor Roll. You can bold their name by adding “<strong> Name </strong>” around it. Thank you for your contributions.


  1. Kristine A says:

    Maxine, for exploring women and authority

  2. Thank you. You made me tear up. All I did was refuse to hold a temple recommend (and it wasn’t even in defiance, but more in self-defense), but I don’t know that I have every felt such a deep connection to my sisterhood as I do right now. I’m still a little petrified. I want to know what has changed before I ask for a recommend now. Still, I feel deeply heard by the brethern and I can’t ever remember that happening before.

  3. Thanks to our visionary, brave Mother Eve, wherever she presides.

  4. For every woman who wore pants, whether you did it as “a thing” or just because that’s what you wanted to wear.

  5. Let Jill Deer and Claudia Bushman be added!

  6. For Gina Colvin, Zandra Vranes, Tamu Smith, and other sisters, authors, leaders of color who have led intersections, inclusions and celebrations of black indigenous and women of color.

    Kate Kelly, for stepping to the front of the line and asking to be let in with the men. For insisting equality isn’t a feeling. For forcing gender equality conversations into more Sunday schools and dinner tables.

  7. So say we all, Kristine A, Cathy, and Emi!

    For Joanna Brooks, for teaching us how to love our childhoods as Mormon girls, to camp, and to fight.

    For Kristine Haglund, for being a feminist blogging icon (and my feminist blogging idol).

  8. For Lisa Patterson Butterworth, the original Feminist Mormon Housewife.

  9. Emily G submitted the following:

    For Mercy Fielding Thompson, whose Relief Society penny boxes throughout the church raised more than $2,000 for the Nauvoo Temple.

    For the Latter-day Saint Boston Female Penny Society who helped pay for temple windows one cent at a time.

    For the Relief Societies of La Harpe and Macedonia, Illinois, whose penny boxes purchased a construction crane for the temple.

  10. For all my LBTQ+ sisters, we are still waiting for another day like this. (And my brothers too, but this is a day for the sisters.)

  11. I love this response, Cynthia.

    I’d like to also nominate my sister Kiskilili. She hasn’t been active on the blogs in years now, but in the first post she ever wrote at ZD, way back in 2006, she wrote so movingly about the pain that the temple had caused her that she really opened my eyes to it in a new way. And I think she contributed greatly to the conversation around this issue through her blogging over the years: she also coined the term “chicken patriarchy,” highlighting the disconnect between the old school patriarchy that openly defines women as less, and the chicken version that claims that women must be held back because they’re so wonderful, but still pushes for the same sexist policies.

    Here’s her post on her temple experience:

  12. Amen, Ziff.

    For all of Zelophad’s Daughters, for their incisive takes on all this. For giving us the name “Chicken Patriarchy.” For Katie Snyder Evans, who should have been with us today.

  13. Blair Ostler-for writing about her pain and giving voice to the pain of others, for daring to create space for queer people in the church and the temple and eternity <3

  14. Yes!! Please add founders of Exp ll, Bushman, Dushku, Thatcher-Ulrich. Add Emmeline B. Wells and everyone else in the coloring book. Way more women need recognition on this list! Beecher, LDS Women’s historian Kate Holbrook, Fiona Givens for saying polygamy was wrong and Joseph Smith was wrong to do it, Joanna Brooks, Maxine Hanks, Martha Hughes Cannon, etc

  15. For Stephanie Lauritzen who started a conversation about pants that opened discussions about women’s voices in the church.

  16. Lindsey Hansen Park for teaching giving a voice to the voiceless women in polygamy and bringing our hearts and minds to the role Mormon women have played throughout history BECAUSE OF the ordinances of the Everlasting Covenant—plural marriage—as still practices in the temple.

  17. I was coming on here to add everyone at ZD and pleased to see they were already remembered. But thank you, Zelophehad’s Daughters .

  18. For Sariah, for knowing family is what matters and speaking up to protect hers even if it meant being maligned for “murmuring.”

    For “the woman at the well,” for being a Prophetess and a Seer, and we don’t even know your name.

    For Anna the Prophetess, for your work in the ancient temple.

    For Mary, for being The Protectress.

  19. For April Young Bennett and the team at The Exponent, we give thanks.

  20. Violadiva says:

    To all the women who wrote letters, talked with temple presidents, cried with bishops and RS presidents. To all the women who were told that they lacked faith or perspective, or were overreacting. To all the women who couldn’t bear it any more and broke.

  21. To Russell M. Nelson’s 9 Daughters and Wendy Watson Nelson.

  22. Liz (Elisothel on FMH) says:

    I sometimes worried I could ruin people’s lives with the Mormon Priestess essay, but I also never regretted putting it out there. For me it was a burning truth that was horrible and cleansing all at once, which is what all truth should be. I wrote the essay in a rush (the result of a thought experiment) and hid it away for two years, afraid what it would do, trying to refute and disprove it, vetting it among over 100 people.

    When I had to admit is seemed seismic-proof, I felt a kind of calling to share it. Releasing it was a relief and I’ve never questioned it. Today seems like a kind of full circle validation I never expected or saw coming in this lifetime. It’s like a crazy story for a sacrament meeting talk – I held true to my testimony and…God changed the temple?

    I don’t think the essay was causal to today’s changes. I hope what it did for today’s events was what it did for me personally – provide a language for me to reject the notion that I was a trope, and instead allow me to identify and claim myself and my divine destiny It give me permission to name myself a child of God and realize what that meant for my eternal identity as Priestess and Queen.

    So, I only know what the essay did for me, but I also like to think it was part of the narrative. Thank you for including me in the post!

  23. Laurie Lisonbee says:

    Thanks to Sara Hanks who has eloquently blogged about the pain of inequality in the temple. To the many many women who have prayed and written letters asking for the temple ordinances to be changed.

  24. For Ardis Parshall, for tirelessly renewing our memory of women who came before us, including not only the stars on this list but all the many many many many more (seriously, just go search “relief society” on that site) we should know. For teaching us how to dress our dead.

  25. For Juanita Brooks for having the courage to face our true history and crack open the silence around it. Who taught me things about what my great-great-grandfather did that I didn’t want to know, but needed to know, especially to appreciate the courage of my great-grandmother, the one of his dozen children who left town and that legacy to seek a different life.

  26. Meredith Reynolds says:

    For Sonia Johnson who chained herself to the temple gates and was kicked out.

  27. For Margaret Toscano, for her explorations into the nature of the female/male godhead. And her sister, Janice Allred, for her work on the feminine divine within the Holy Spirit. Like many on this honor roll, these women were stripped of their institutional voices even as these changes were shaped by them.

    And a shout-out to the literary institutions and editors who amplified these voices: Dialogue, Sunstone, Exponent II, The Mormon Women’s Forum, Signature Books, Kofford Books, the original Women’s Exponent and others.

    As this list attests, there have been visionaries and prophets everywhere we’ve searched all along.

  28. So… that newsroom statement is so broad saying nothing I can really tie into the rejoicing here. I’d be delighted to have the inequalities in the temple gone however. But I’m nervous to get my hopes up, only to see them dashed later.

  29. Geoff - Aus says:

    All the women who were offended enough to not go to the temple.On Sisters Quorum they say there was a survey of women who were not attending the temple because of the sexism.
    My wife and I went to the endowment session at 5.00 Thursday for the first time in years, as a result of this announcement. A number of the women who wouldn’t say anything unless it was authorised by SLC, were saying how wonderful the new endowment is, but then it is authorised by SLC so they would. Not sure if they even noticed the reduction in sexism.

  30. For Nikki Matthews Hunter who cut, pieced and sewed her sisters donated pants into a timeless piece of art commemorating their bravery.

  31. For Cynthia Bailey Lee who collected data about discrepancies keeping our young women from serving in the temple due to outdated taboos and ignorance about menstruation and got that changed.

  32. For Sara Burlingame who stood arm in arm with her Mormon sisters no matter the time or the day, for the fierce causes of justice and righteousness.

  33. For Tresa Brown Edmunds who saw her sisters suffering, reached out over and over, and along with her sisters at Feminist Mormon Housewives created an annual educational scholarship for Single Mormon Mothers.

  34. Californian says:

    For Andrea Radke-Moss for her blog posts on Patheos and Juvenile Instructor; for researching Latter-day Saint women’s history. Who was willing to spend 30 minutes of her time with me one busy day just before a fall semester because I wanted to thank her in person for her work.

  35. For Mary Perkins James who went to the Endowment House in 1875 and did proxy baptisms for her enslaved grandmother Dawney and aunts Darkous, Lousindy, Maria, and Seely.

    For Mary’s niece Lucile Perkins Bankhead, descendant of enslaved black Mormon pioneers of 1847 and 1848, who served as first Relief Society President of the Genesis Group. She spoke for the black women in the Church in 1978, telling an Associated Press reporter, “We have all waited for this [revelation on the priesthood and temple], but I didn’t think it would come in my lifetime. . . . I knew it would come. . . . I am so happy. . . . This is a wonderful day.”

    For all the Relief Society Presidents of the Genesis Group since Lucile Bankhead, since their influence extends far from the Salt Lake Valley.

  36. For the women of By Common Consent
    Angela C, Amber Haslam, Ashmae, Carolyn Homer, Cynthia L, Emily Grover, Karen H, Kristine Haglund, Rebecca J.
    and Amri, Courtney, EmJen, Jessie, Kathryn, Kris, Margaret, ECS, Megan, Melissa, Natalie, Sunny, Taryn

    For putting themselves out there, for writing about their pain, joy, sorrow, and triumphs, for being vulnerable so that others wouldn’t feel alone. For sharing their experiences of being human, being a woman, and being Mormon, while threading a needle that sometimes felt impossible.

  37. Thanks to Hannah Wheelright for making a space for youngmormonfeminists to speak LOUDLY to one another.

  38. Margaret Olsen says:

    Thanks to Aimee Hickman and Emily Clyde Curtis for editing the 2013 issue of Exponent II about women’s experiences in the temple.

    Thanks to Julie Savage, who collected and shared women’s struggles with the temple and shared the document with President Bonnie Parkin in 2006.

    Thanks to President Jean Bingham.

  39. Yesterday was another cut. This post and these comments are healing.

  40. Thank you, thank you. Thanks to all the women who never doubted that this — and other — changes would happen.
    Let us continue to have faith and hope, and remember, work for, advocate for, and pray for the changes that need to happen for all to be included in all the blessings that any of us cherish.

  41. maebridge80 says:

    Rachel Hunt Steenblik for expanding our vision of Heavenly Mother.

  42. Bro. Jones says:

    Thanks to Tracy McKay-Lamb, who embodies grace and strength more than anyone I know. She never needed an intermediary to be welcomed, uplifted, and strengthened by her God.

  43. Kevin Barney says:

    For my Aunt Trudy (father’s side) and Aunt Beth (mother’s side), both now long gone, who did my family history so thoroughly (Beth even publishing multiple books on the subject) that there is no such thing as low hanging fruit in my family history.

    And to Anneli Riismaa, who was just released as my ward’s RSP. She is from Estonia, and has provided hundred’s of names from her ancestry there to Chicago Temple, including one I used on my last session there. Actually she was just released as RSP last week. Why? To become a ward family history and temple specialist, in particular to help our new converts (many from Nigeria) with their own family histories and journeys towards the temple.

  44. Eric Facer says:

    For Mary Bradford and her pioneering work at Dialogue.

  45. ashley hoiland says:

    This is a beautiful thing to read. I second Ardis Parshall, Rachel Hunt Steenblick, Reija Rawle who was my visiting teacher for 7 years and unceasingly questioned with me. For all my friends who have left the church and are doing the work of women in different ways. For these same friends who left when it took a lot of courage and in part because these changes came too late.

  46. James Stone says:

    Why did BCC delete the earlier post bashing the changes and demanding that the church explain the reason for the endowment ceremony changes? Did BCC realize that they were exposing themselves as wolves in sheep’s clothing? Did they put their finger to the wind and realize they weren’t on the right side of history? For a blog that claims to believe in transparency, they sure seem to wish that post had never been written.

  47. There was no post bashing the changes. That is a misreading.

  48. For Heather Olsen Beal for her series “equality is not a feeling.”

  49. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    I saw that post, James. Wasn’t up long, so you may not have actually read it, but it wasn’t bashing any changes. Far from it. But, whatever the reason, it’s gone now and let’s move on.

    Thanks for starting this thread, Cynthia. I have been fortunate to know many of the women being listed here, and have been strengthened by their efforts, by their words, by their testimonies, and by their generosity. I don’t think it’s overreaching to think their efforts have contributed to these changes (both in substance and in timing). Hoping this result isn’t the final product of their work, but the beginning of something they may have only dreamed of.

  50. Dog Spirit says:

    To every woman whose husband abused her using temple language as justification.

    To the women who never said anything about their pain to anyone but Jesus.

    To the women whose agony will continue to live on in dark silence, because we still can’t talk about it.

  51. Amy Allebest says:

    Thanks to Camille Fronk Olson. When I went to her in despair about the temple 10 years ago, she told me that men will never know how women feel if we don’t tell them. I have been talking about the problems of the temple in various ways ever since. And she gave me the great comfort of Revelations 21:22.

    21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

    22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

    23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

  52. For Sylwia who said “No” to a covenant that hurt her, and for that act of faithful bravery was kicked out of the Temple.

  53. Kathryn Shirts says:

    Here are more women I’d love to honor! Thanks to Jenny Reeder and Janeice Johnson, along with Kate Holbrook and Jill Derr, for resurrecting women’s voices from the past. Thanks to Carol Cornwall Madsen for writing so eloquently and presciently about women and the temple. Thanks to Jody England Hansen and Maxine Hanks for their spirited feminist approaches to the temple. Thanks to Jolene Edmunds Rockwood for redeeming Eve using the language of the Hebrew text of Genesis. Thanks to Wendy Ulrich and her insights on women as priestesses in “The Temple Experience.” Thanks to Linda Wilcox for her pioneering research on our Mother in Heaven. Thanks to Linda King Newell, Kristine Wright, and Fara Sneddon for their rediscovery of women’s spiritual gifts. Thanks to Barbara Morgan Gardner and Camille Fronk Olson for their exploration of women and priesthood at BYU Women’s Conferences. Thanks to Linda K. Burton for reminding us that the oath and covenant of the priesthood applies to women as well as to men. Thanks to Maura Beecher who mentored so many of us and to upcoming scholars like Brittany Chapman Nash and Janelle Higbee who continue to write about women’s spiritual potential. And thanks to Ruth Clark and Linda Hunter Adams who I’m sure are working beyond the veil on behalf of their beloved sisters here on earth.

  54. Scott Abbott says:

    The women who founded VOICE at BYU in the mid 1990’s—Tomi-Ann Roberts and Cecelia Konchar Farr and the marvelous students who gathered around them. And Gail Houston, whose open but private prayers to her Mother in Heaven got her fired and BYU censured by the AAUP.

  55. Also the faithful women who raised sons who became general authorities willing to make or approve or accept such changes.

  56. Liz, your Mormon Priestess essay was everything. I read it before I happened upon likeminded friends and the validation I received from it was priceless. The cognitive dissonance it caused was so hard but so, so necessary. I truly believe you were inspired to share it. Thank you thank you thank you.

    I’m feeling so connected to my Sisters. In our joy, our pain, our frustration, our sorrow, our anger, our rejoicing. Sisterhood is real. Thank you for this post. Thank you everyone.

  57. Sonia Johnson

  58. To all the women who took the Church’s temple survey a few month and were then interviewed by the Church about all the bothersome elements of the temple.

  59. Thanks Cynthia.

    To all of the women bloggers here, who are examples of faith and knowledge. Also Janiece Johnson, Gail Houston, Kristine Wright, my own mother and my wife.

  60. Lacey Williams says:

    For CJane Kendrick who raises her voice in writing and recently wrote that, “…When their female posterity naively go to the temple and are made to ritualistically bow their heads and promise to listen and obey their husbands, I walk the other way.” Thank you to her for loving her heritage but having the courage to disown the wrong.

  61. Molly Hadfield says:

    For Stephenie Sorensen Larsen, for giving a home and family to LGBTQ+ youth until their own families are ready and able to embrace them, at the gates of the temple, to remind them what it is all about.

  62. OT: lolz at the supersleuths who screenshotted the guest post which got accidentally posted. We’re so busted! Thank you for your ongoing devoted readership.

  63. Marion F.S. says:

    Kristy Money for being a champion of women and girls. For valuing the mental health and wellbeing of others higher than her own comfort. For her courage.

  64. Amy Allebest says:

    I am curious to know whether the problematic parts of the Initiatory have been changed as well.

  65. Donna Kelly says:

    I am so blessed to have rubbed shoulders with so many women mentioned here – and the many more who have prayed for that manner of divinity that only equality can bestow. A new day is dawning. I welcome it. Thank you all.

  66. All the mothers and daughters and grandmothers who have never published a book or blogged or been seen by anyone but their family, neighbors, ward members; who were brave enough to speak up in gospel doctrine or in the temple or elsewhere; whose steady voices provide a firm foundation for all the more widely known voices.

  67. Jana Riess , for being that well-modulated, always balanced but deeply passionate voice for LDS-women, and everyone seeking a spiritual life.

    Gina Colvin of course! For her warm voice and intellect as well as her deliberate, chosen lack of fear.

    Joanna Brooks , by being the courageous face of every good cause and task past and ahead.

    Mormon Women for Ethical Government , you are so very needed, unfortunately.

    Wendy Montgommery , and Mama dragons , your, and our fight for LGBTQ- people continues. For being where you are needed.

    Sara Burlingame , your existence is so unlike and wonderful. A “stranger” who is no stranger at all.

    So MANY more. Of course Kate, Margaret, Kristin, Heather, Liz, Hart, Joanna, Wiktoria …

  68. Thank you for this! And Amy Allebest, yes there have been significant changes to women’s initiatory and sealings as well.

  69. For the brave, articulate, brilliant, enduring, powerful, fierce, and loving crew of Exponent II: the founders, leadership, board members, contributors, artists, and bloggers, especially Heather Sundahl, Emily Fisher Gray, Margaret Olsen Hemming, Libby Potter Boss, Liz Johnson, Emily Clyde Curtis, Aimee Evans Hickman, Caroline Kline, Deborah Farmer Kris, Kirsten Campbell, Pandora Brewer, Page Turner, Judy Dushku, and most especially our intellectual and spiritual empress, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Your friendship, words, humor, and strength make my soul sing.

  70. For the women at FEMWOC: Gina Colvin, Natasha Smith, Bryndis Roberts, Kalani Tonga, and Jennifer Gonzalez. You are some of the bravest of us all.

  71. wreddyornot says:

    Thanks to all mentioned and unmentioned who care and cared enough for the slightest deed to the greatest. Thanks for a Mother There.

  72. For my mom whose life was spent making and keeping temple covenants without the advantage of the greater light and knowledge we now have.

  73. For all my foremothers who worshipped in temples from Nauvoo on with paciencia y fe.

  74. For all those who lost relationships over what has amounted to a cultural artifact, a mistake easily corrected. For all those who put a name to a feeling, and then put numbers to that name. For those like the women of Exponent II, Sisters Quorum, and Feminist Mormon Housewives who created a space for women to talk.

    And for all those not of our faith who paved the way to listening to women’s voices and taking them seriously. For those writers, actors, comedians, journalists and politicians who woke up and decided that women’s stories were worth hearing and telling. For women like Emma Watson, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Mindy Kaling, Anna Kendrick, Ellen Page, Hannah Gadsby, Ellen Degeneres, Viola Davis, Oprah, Amy Poehler, Shonda Rhimes, and so many more who made the elevation of women’s stories their life’s mission.

    For women like Jacinda Arden and Kiersten Synema who showed us what “Yes, We Can” means.

  75. Cynthia Bailey Lee, for discerning the perfect liturgy for this moment.

  76. For Susa Young Gates, writer and scholar, who chafed at the limitations that were placed upon her.

    For Amy B. Lyman, activist and leader, who deserved better.

  77. Aileen Hales Clyde – The often forgotten counselor to Elaine Jack. Aileen has kept the flame of women going with her collections and quiet effort.

  78. I just keep waiting for someone braver than me to step up and suggest that this is over-the-top self-congratulatory, and with very limited bases, assumes a whole lot about certain people’s influence in the decision-making. But no one has done that, so I will keep those thoughts to myself so as to not rain on everyone’s parade.

  79. Yes to Aileen H Clyde.

  80. Neylan McBaine , for her important book, Women at Church, and her faithful advocacy of equity.
    Valerie Cassler , for trying to make sense of it all, as I have been trying to do for the last 30 years or so.
    Margaret Barker , for her work in helping to reinstate the Lady in the Temple.
    So many others, that have already been mentioned, for their courage and persistence. And the rank and file women who, though troubled, talked to their husbands, their leaders, each other, and waited patiently,
    For the last 10 years or so I have felt very strongly that there was to be more for women in the church. The baby steps have been happening, have been accelerating, and this change in temple ordinance wording feels like more than a baby step. I am ‘happy dancing’.

  81. jimbob, I assume you’re a dude. Correct me if I’m wrong. But this is a time for dudes like you and me to listen a lot more than we speak, and resist the urge to chide women for their reactions to this news.

  82. Good job keeping those thoughts to yourself, jimbob.

  83. For my mother (and any like her) who has been a faithful feminist her whole life but hasn’t been able to call it that. For our relationship, which has been so battered over us not having the language to communicate across my pain. For the fact it was healed today when rejoiced together. For every woman still in pain.

  84. jimbob,

    This is BCC. The conspicuous lack of giving thanks to the Lord goes without comment because it surprises no one.

  85. Michelle S. says:
  86. Thanks to our Heavenly Mother

    There you go Deseret Defender.

  87. jimbob, I don’t think there are any illusions that the women listed had any “influence in the decision-making”. It is, however, worth noting the women who are vindicated in believing Luke 18:7 – “And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them”. Not to say that the leaders of the Church have been unfaithful, but that God will hear our cries, even when those cries find no comfort.

    Change does come. not fast enough for many of us, but it does come. (personally I’m still hoping for more instruction on the status of my sealing to my wife when I no longer appear to be male).

    It is good for us to be grateful to the women whose cries have reached God. They exemplify our hope.

  88. @Jimbob and @DeseretDefender:

    Three weeks ago Deseret Defender called me unrighteous for writing:

    “One of my deepest spiritual desires is to see the Church fully acknowledge and publicly address this disparity [in gendered temple ordinances]. In my flights of fancy, I pray for God to correct it.”

    DeseretDefender literally commented:

    “God won’t “correct it” because it is God’s will for mankind. Hence, “by divine design.”

    Today I am overwhelmed with gratitude that God has heard my prayers, alongside the pleas of thousands of women who have for decades experienced the same pain.

    Today I honor all the women who have ever offered up their petitions to God, even in the face of men authoritatively telling them they were wrong.

  89. For our mothers, who saw the promises afar off. And for our daughters who inherit their legacy: may they be stronger for not having to wrestle as we did with this particular angel. May their strength lead us toward greater light and knowledge, and may we be neither too weary nor too blind to follow where they lead.

  90. Sarah d'Evegnee says:

    Abish, for teaching us that both the public and the private sphere are equally valuable, and for running and crying and reaching out your hand to the Queen and to me, and for showing us that you don’t have to have a book named after you to be considered the hero of the story.

  91. For the women who bravely shared their pain and received gall in return. For the women who sought out those women and did their best to love and comfort and understand.

  92. For the women who cried. Who ate the razor blades of words that harm. Who quietly told their truth to men in positions of authority and then went on about their business at the temples because they felt called to do so. In the face of pain, knowing it would hurt. Who persevered, both speaking and going.

  93. For all the women who spent untold conversations quietly, sometimes even desperately, working to help the men in their lives to see and understand. Who patiently or maybe with quiet frustration, because they love them, kept working on it, kept trying to be heard, to be seen, and be acknowledged in a world where they were too often invisible. There was public work done by women who were able, and there was private work done, maybe with quaking voices that could only whisper. But they matter, too.

  94. Cynthia H says:

    Thanks for this beautiful list which has me reading with tears in my eyes and for all these wonderful women who paved the way. Thank God that this long overdue change finally happened.

  95. Withholding my name for this post says:

    For all the women in my stake that I have listened to as they took a leap of faith during a temple recommend interview with me and opened up and shared their hurt and questions about certain portions of the endowment. Some of the most sincere and spiritual interviews I’ve been a part of. I always promised to send their comments and concerns “up the chain” but with a caution that change may not come as a result.

  96. Joanne Case says:

    Brice, if that is you “withholding my name for this post,” thank you. I never had the courage to talk to you about this, but I know in my heart I could have.

  97. Rigel Hawthorne says:

    For our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers who created a legacy with faith that the seeds they planted for their posterity in restored gospel soil would bear fruit that they would not partake of during their mortal sojourn.

  98. For Kristen, who in a comment on one of my very first posts at BCC said this:

    “My prayer is that the temple liturgy will change, as it has in the past.”

  99. PaperbackW says:

    Thank you to Rosie Card for being the first person I saw to acknowledge that the temple can be hard. It was a revelation for me in my life.

  100. Elizabeth Smart – Can’t say enough about her courage.

  101. As a young girl, teen. and even young adult- I heard the word feminist whispered as a slur. I remember my mother’s disapproving, sad face telling me that my favorite young women’s leader was leaving the church because she listened to the “feminists”. I didn’t know I was one until my first endowment.

    I am so happy that my daughter will have a different first temple experience than I will, if she chooses. That she won’t have to try the mental gymnastics trying to figure out if God actually speaks to her like she was taught, or if she is an eternal accessory once married.

    My faith reached a breaking point a few years ago, and instead of just telling my husband my concerns about the temple, I started posting anonymous, sincere comments on blogs like this. Realizing I wasn’t alone made me feel sane.

    The comment I saw over and over from some men was: “I have never heard a woman complain!” As if it didn’t count unless people were personally telling them about their taboo, private pain. It feels so gratifying that someone was listening. I was in a bit of despair when this wasn’t part of the revelations in General Conference. I thought it would never come, and I knew I couldn’t last in the church unless it did. I couldn’t look my daughter in the eye and lead her into the temple, I couldn’t do it.

    I think commenting and complaining openly and in private really made the difference. Explaining that it wasn’t pride, but our very spirits that were wounded made the real difference.

    I also wonder if temple statistics reflected our change of values. I can’t be the only woman who, while outwardly faithful, never attended proxy endowments. I think they noticed.

    Thank you so much, BCC. I was afraid to read blogs like yours a decade ago, but in the end, they kept me in the church I love.

  102. Carolyn, In my darkest hour, my biggest fear was that men like Deseret Defender were the correct ones. I definitely felt there were more of them than us. They seemed to have the cards backing their statements.
    Thank you for being so bold and giving those of us who are less courageous faith.

  103. For Peggy Fletcher Stack, for chronicling all the highs and lows for nearly 3 decades. Our high priestess of news.

    For Erin Alberty, Jessica Miller. and Rachel Piper for doggedly reporting the stories of women at BYU who rights were violated by overlapping patriarchal power structures, blind and indifferent to their pain.

  104. For my sister Cheryl, who opened my eyes as a teenager to the possibility that maybe Mormon feminists had a point, and who has validated my pain even when we disagreed.

    For Melyngoch, for the boldness to speak out a decade before me. Who I silently judged as a heretic when we attended school together, but who was among the first I turned to when my faith crisis started. May her wisdom light us all.

  105. For Ina Coolbrith, neice (and then stepdaughter) of Joseph Smith, who kicked Mormonism to the curb and followed her own path, to become a literary force of nature and California’s first poet laureate, without asking any man’s permission.

  106. To my mother, who on the day of my endowment I saw for the first time was a second class citizen in the Church, which thing I never had supposed.

  107. For every LDS woman everywhere that stood up to the Deseret Defenders in their lives to speak and hope that equality is God’s truth.

  108. For Fatimah Salleh, for preaching that true theology always comes “from the margins.” To hear her preach is to hear a heavenly voice, deep in your soul.

  109. For my mother, who taught me that being a girl wasn’t a limitation, but was rather motivation to do all those things people said I couldn’t, and who has never stopped teaching.

  110. For Sister Edwards, former assistant matron in the Salt Lake Temple. When I was a young ordinance worker, she stopped in a busy temple hallway and asked me what was important to me (her version of small talk). When I responded “Women,” she took my hand, looked me dead in the eye, and shared her absolute conviction that better days would come for women in the temple. Her witness gave me confidence in my own.

    For the women who kept going in spite of the pain and for those who could not. I give thanks for their faith, their courage, and their trust in their own connection to the Divine.

  111. Rachel E O says:

    Thank you, and amen, RB. For our mothers.

    For all the women over the years who have exercised their priesthood authority to wash and anoint me, bless me by the laying on of hands, and give me tokens. Who have quietly and warmly helped me adjust my ceremonial clothing and remember words I had forgotten and offer me food and drink when I was faint.

    Amen to Laurel and Neylan and Chieko and Tamu and Zandra and Fiona and so many others who have been mentioned. Also, for LaShawn Williams and Janan Graham Russell, and Kindred Magic. For Melissa Inouye and Rosalynde Frandsen Welch. For Bethany Brady Spalding and McArthur Krishna and Kathleen Peterson for their beautiful picture books. For AshMae Hoiland for 100 Birds Taught Me To Fly. For Better Days 2020 and the Mormon Women Project, especially for their recent mixed faith marriage series.

    For Sharlee Mullins Glenn for creating Mormon Women for Ethical Government in a stroke of inspiration, courage, and power, in turn giving so many women the skills and confidence and hope and sisterhood we need to claim and exercise our moral authority. For all of my sisters in MWEG.

    For Cynthia L and this post, and the HTML code “ ‘strong’ ‘/strong’

  112. RYAN J WILLIAMS says:

    My dear wife, Lacey Marie Williams, for pointing out the “difficult and confusing” endowment language shortly after our marriage 20 years ago. It took me nearly 18 years to fully understand and meet her in her pain. I thank her for her immense spiritual insight and for her endless patience with my lack thereof.

  113. For Deborah the Prophetess and Anna the Prophetess for teaching me that such a powerful word could be paired with women, even in the Bible.

  114. Wonderful! I love this whole thread and thinking of all the women who have done so much good to push for more equality in Mormonism.

    Mormom, I relate to your comment so much. It’s great that the excellent writing here at BCC has made church continue to be possible for you. I love the thoughtful writers of faith here too.

    And your point about so many men not taking concerns of sexism seriously because “I’ve never heard women complain” is spot on. What’s especially infuriating is that it’s not like there’s a random distribution of women complaining and some men hear it and others don’t. It appears that what’s happening is more that women complain in the hearing of men who they find it safe to complain near. And the men who are sure that all is well in Zion make it abundantly clear that they are *not* safe to talk so, and so they don’t hear any complaints, and so they continue in their blissful ignorance.

  115. For Dantzel White Nelson, we give thanks.

  116. Stephanie says:

    For my mother, who took me to a Carol Lynn Pearson show as a teenager and bought me books of her poems. Who wore sleeveless shirts to show the bruises when she had had enough.

    For my grandmother, who was committed to achieving her education and instilled that desire in me. Who was a scholar and “working woman” when it wasn’t fashionable.

    For my great-grandmother, who was independent at age 13. For the feminist streak we have that seems to go back to pioneer days (and polygamist ancestors).

    I’m also grateful for my husband who held me and stuck with me even though I cried after every temple visit the first year or two. Who bought me “Eve and the Choice Made in Eden” because he understood that figuring out my identity and place in the church was important to me even if he didn’t understand it. This is a happy day for all of us.

  117. fmhstephanie says:

    For all the bloggers on FMH and BCC who gave me a platform and voice as I worked through my own faith crisis 10 years ago. After struggling and studying, I finally concluded that the wording in the temple would change. Took a little longer than I thought it would, but here we are!

  118. Thanks to Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother for blessing President Nelson and wife with 9 daughters. I can’t imagine this didn’t play a role in his life experience, softening him to the voices of women.

  119. Grateful to belong to a church led by the Lord and His prophet, in addition to all those faithful sisters who struggle yet remain.

  120. Thanks be to Heavenly Mother. Thanks to my foremothers. Thank you to BCC sisters, I’ve discussed more with you than with my family, and you have kept me sane.

  121. Oh heavens, Rachel E O, I didn’t even think of the significance of the HTML code “strong” around all these names! It’s so fitting, now I’m crying at my desk at work!

  122. For women like my deeply believing mother, who did nothing to merit fame. Who taught me, when I was a boy, to recognize that unrighteous inequality exists in the church. Who was wise enough to know that there was a time to keep her counsel, a time to speak soothingly, and a time to open fire. Who understood that the struggle to build Zion does not ever end.

  123. For my mom, a temple worker at the Provo City Center Temple, for encouraging me to take my temple questions to the matron. I told her temple workers wouldn’t have any answers I hadn’t already considered. And rather than chide me for hubris, she said, “That’s probably true, but it might be helpful for them to realize people have these concerns.” I didn’t think it would make a difference, then. Maybe I was wrong.

  124. RevaBeth Russell says:

    Haven’t seen Lorie Winder Stromberg, who quietly and eloquently leads Mormon Feminists forward.

  125. For the woman who sat next to me at the temple and whispered loudly at one key moment, “Sweeeeeet!”

    For the woman who made space for me in the packed Celestial room. Together, we scanned the room. “Look at all these happy women,” I said. “Yeah,” I said.

    For the heroic temple worker sisters who remained kind and patient helping the hundreds (thousands?) of sisters who showed up today.

  126. For Sonia Johnson, who called the Church to account for its anti-ERA politics. For Janice Allred, who gave us a theology of Mother in Heaven. For Margaret Toscano, who spoke aloud what so many dared not. For all of those who paid prices in public. For all of us who paid prices in private. For all of those whose hearts broke as they stayed because they could not leave. For all of us whose hearts broke as we left because we could not stay. For all whose hearts are broken, may this be a step, however small, or a leap, however giant, toward wholeness.

  127. Youraveragemormon says:

    Thank you to my great-great grandmother who raised my grandmother and 4 siblings when her son-in-law died. Thank you to my two great-grandmothers—one who went on to get her doctorate and work at BYU in the 40s and 50s as a scholar! And to the other one who left her home country, traveled across the ocean, and settle in Utah without knowing a soul or the language, all so her two children could grow up with the Gospel. Thank you to the women who ran a tiny branch in Europe for years (without Priesthood brethren!) because they absolutely believed in the Gospel. Thank you to my two grandmothers— one a member and one not— who worked full time while raising their children in the 50s and 60s. Thanks to my member grandmother who bought a beautiful lavender suit and wore it to church frequently, and who wouldn’t attend RS when all the lessons were about women staying home with their children. Thanks to my mother, who has taught me that a good education never goes to waste and that women have a voice. Thanks to the women who taught me throughout YW and seminary, who showed me that women are strong, devoted, and fierce. And thanks to my literal sisters and sisters-in-law, as well as my figurative ones, who didn’t judge me when I opened up about my hurt that came from the temple.

    Most of all, thanks to loving Heavenly Parents who heard my prayers and let me know that I was loved, and that my promises to them weren’t conditional on a man.

  128. I do not see Beverly Campbell‘s name. In the ’80s she sent a long letter to the First Presidency suggesting changes in the endowment.

  129. To many of the women already listed, and to Amy Allebest who first gave me the words to describe my discomfort with her essay Dear Mormon Man. And for the fact that it opened my husband’s eyes to just how far reaching the inequality is spread.

  130. McKenna Denson

  131. A Different Eliza says:

    For Eve, Mother of All Living, original badass, and Mother of Civil Disobedience.

  132. Clare Middlemiss, who was the only female secretary to a Prophet (David O. McKay) and whose copious and exhausting work provided us with the most accurate recounting ever of the daily activities of a Church president. And to the scores of unnamed women like her that kept our history that otherwise would have been lost and forgotten.

  133. Thanks to President Bonnie L. Oscarson for her sermon about our need of our young women in the church.

    “. . . who are equally needed and essential in accomplishing the work of the Lord in their families and in His Church.”
    “They need to know they are valued and essential in the work of salvation.”

  134. For Nadine Hansen, for holding us accountable for our participation in discrimination, for being a tireless legal advocate for victims of abuse in polygamous marriages, and for leading the music in years of sacrament meetings I attended as a youth, a face I always looked up to and inspired me. (And for Christine Alonso, also mentioned in that SFGate article about Nadine!)

    For Diane Bailey Roldán and others, for protesting Dick Cheney’s invitation to BYU’s graduation, at the time the first on-campus protest in ages (and for somehow getting it permitted by BYU!).

  135. Thank you for recognizing the efforts of so many marginalized people/women who “agitated” so long for these changes, and who may yet be erased from our history. Past experience shows that the PTB will surely try to erase all the uncomfortable parts and the people and pain which causes the cog dis. So it warms my cynical heart to see Juanita Brooks’ name, and Ardis(!) and the names of the women who shepherd Exponent II and fMh, who have done so much to continue spotlighting sexism. Thanks, Ziff, for the link to the chicken patriarchy post, which was before my time but I enjoyed reading; this context is perfect for it. And to see Sonia’s name, who I thought was the devil incarnate until I belatedly developed my critical thinking muscle, whose sacrifice was so much too much. And the efforts of Ordain Women, and FEMWOC, and, and, and…

    You know who else for which this is the perfect context to name? Carolyn, Angela C., Cynthia L., Karen H., Kristine, Rebecca J., Tracy M., Amber, Ashmae, EmilyG – all the women permas here at BCC who have blogged repeatedly about temple sexism and church sexism in general, along with a few of the men. Carolyn posted on December 13th of last year, also a specific post about it in October. Kristine posted about structural sexism on August 28 last year, the comments were lively and rent hearts. Angela C. posted in 2015(!) about temple sexism here:
    That was 4 years ago, but I read it again and skimmed the massive comments; I was surprised to see my own comment there, which hasn’t changed much even though my cynicism has advanced since then.

    In fact, I searched the terms ” women temple” on this blog and found a great many posts and comments over the years which reference temple sexism. The (women) emeritus permas deserve a mention as well: Amri, Margaret, Kris, and… EmJen. EmJen (now a “guest poster”? What’s up with that?) posted yesterday, which post was removed, which post was spot on germane to the ongoing discussion. For pete’s sake, this nonsense has gone on forever long because so many of us won’t talk about it. We *can* talk about the temple, we must talk about the temple (except for a few specifically named items,) and especially we should discuss these new changes. It perpetuates the very problems that it purports to fix: to make these changes and then warn people not to discuss them. So many of us steep in toxicity, completely unseen by others right next to us, because of the terrible tyranny of taboos. We so badly need to talk about the messy taboos or they will Never. Be. Addressed. The New and Improved Temple Ceremony happened yesterday because of years of painstaking and messy conversations, both public and private, about the taboo topics. I really thought y’all here could see that plain and clear, but I guess there’s still more work to do.

  136. MDearest,
    Thanks for the link. I read my own comment there and burst into tears. I was so full of hope and despair at them same time. It’s amazing to me that I was still holding on in 2019. I am not sure I could have predicted that back in 2015. Thank you for that healing post.

    I also want to thank our male allies at BCC. so many times, men would come on and try to mansplain our feminist pain to us. I wish our explanations were enough, but I don’t think they really listened until you called them out. I have no doubt these changes wouldn’t have happened without our brave, empathetic male allies here and other places.

  137. Thank you all for naming these wonderful women and letting me rejoice with you through your comments.

  138. For the Marthas who were only ever told to be more like Mary while their faithfulness through pain and hurt went unnoticed.

  139. For Melissa Leilani Larson, Chantelle Squires, Madeline Jorgensen, Jenn Lee Smith, Tamu Smith, Zandra Vranes, and everyone else involved in making the Jane and Emma film, for capturing the sisterhood, pain, and faith in one of our history’s most memorable friendships. And for giving Hollywood a badly needed lesson in what a badass, diverse leadership team looks like.

  140. For May Anderson and Louie Felt. whether Quinn and O’Donovan were right about your relationship being a romantic one or not, you give us an image of hope.

  141. I critiqued the temple ceremony’s treatment of women in my 2016 master’s thesis on women’s exaltation.

    I’ve made the relevant pages available here (note: contains discussion of temple content):

    Click to access Jeffries_Thesis_Final_Copy-59-68.pdf

    You can see that pretty much everything I noted as problematic has changed.

    Maxine Hanks was the outside reader on my thesis committee, btw.

  142. For Melodie Moensch Charles, for her 1987 article “The Need for a New Mormon Heaven,” which I came across while researching my thesis. I believe she was one of the first to really lay out the problems with the temple ceremony for women in a very public way.

  143. For Bridget “Biddy” Mason, for enduring the 1847 pioneer trek from Nauvoo to Salt Lake as an enslaved person, for knowing it was right and true for you to escape the church members who enslaved you and secure legal freedom in California, for going on to become one of the most successful and wealthy entrepreneurs in early California state history.

  144. For my late aunt Naola, who wore pants to church long before there was a movement to do so. And for my mom, Sharon, who taught me about Heavenly Mother.

  145. Suomalainen says:

    What a time to rejoice!

  146. For Elouise Bell, who lauded the goals of feminism, sought to encourage women in their education and careers, and taught how feminism improved home and family, in a lecture at BYU in 1976. May her vision continue to be achieved.

    For Aspiring Mormon Women, for continuing to advance that vision in this decade.

  147. To the 13 women and men who bravely participated in my qualitative study in 1998/1999 on the effects of temple participation in the lives of young adult Latter-day Saints and to the Graduate Theological Union and The Church Divinity School of the Pacific for supporting my work.

  148. Kelly Mortensen says:

    Add Carole Thayne Warburton for her writings, activism for women’s and LGBTQ rights

  149. Hi everyone,

    Mod stepping in.

    (1) this is a thread for naming women.
    (2) to all the dozen comments that just popped up (that have been deleted) complaining about not allowing President Oaks to be named, please see (1).
    (3) UPDATE: Seriously, people, let it go. We will continue to delete off-topic comments.
    (4) UPDATE: if anyone has any comments they can feel free to send them to management:


  150. To all the women who persevered faithfully in the face of opposition. To those who knew we all belong.

  151. Since Biddy Mason was mentioned earlier and since her use as an archetype has long since outstripped her actual experience, amazing as it was, here’s to all the enslaved African American women whose labor helped ensure the success of the earliest Mormon settlements in Utah Territory so the pioneers survived to build the Endowment House and the temples. Biddy Mason was there, side by side with Hannah Smiley. Remembering also Esther and Mary Perkins, Martha Flake, Rose and Vilate Litchford, Tennessee “Harriet” Jackson, and all those who gave their labor and religious devotion despite the physical and emotional wounds they suffered during bondage.

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