God as a Telephone Wire and Other Proper Channels
We are now within the final week of the Let Women Pray Letterwriting Campaign. Letters are due on February 22. I did not organize this campaign or the Wear Pants to Church Day Campaign that preceded it, but I supported both events. Among Mormons who chose not to support either event, a common critique is that the organizers of these campaigns are not following the proper channels. Campaigning, lobbying, publicly disagreeing with church practices, organizing, advising church leaders or otherwise “murmuring” are worldly forms of “protest.”
In light of these critiques, I am going to analyze some of the more accepted forms of expressing concerns within the church. All of these methods are performed sacredly/secretly and do not involve publicly expressing dissent or organizing with other individuals who feel the same way.
Jello: This sacred/secret method would really work!
Cola: This sacred/secret method may or may not work.
Coffee: This sacred/secret method is almost certain to fail.
- Make an appointment with your Bishop.
- Tell him your concerns about church policies or practices.
- Depending on your bishop’s personality or mood, he may empathize with you or explain to you why you’re wrong.
The local Bishop has no authority to change churchwide policy or practices. I could tell my Bishop that I want women to be invited to pray at General Conference. However, my Bishop does not write the conference agenda so this effort would be futile. Is this method so frequently advocated because Mormons assume that anyone who disagrees with church practices is most likely wrong?
Spencer W. Kimball changed a racist churchwide policy without ever publicly expressing dissent. We could follow his example.
- Discuss your concerns with priesthood leaders at private meetings you are invited to because of your important priesthood callings.
- Become an apostle.
- Outlive all other apostles and be appointed president of the church.
- Now that you are president, change the policy yourself.
I see several barriers preventing most men and all women from employing this method.
- Pray and ask God to change the policy or practice.
- God may transmit your message to church leadership via revelation.
I like this method better than the other two. Who could object to prayer? (Even prayer by women at General Conference?) Yet, I wonder if it is appropriate to treat God like a voice mail service…
Looking at my analysis of sacred/secret channels, I am glad I wrote a letter.