Guest Post: Ignoring Logic and the Misrepresentation of Ordain Women

Posted by on July 2, 2014 in priesthood, women | 81 comments

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 8.27.21 AMBy LoriAnn

As I’ve thought about the issues of asking questions, faithful agitation, and looking for a much-needed change regarding gender inequality in the Church, I have come to the conclusion that we as a church don’t know all there is to know about God. None of that has to take away from the truthfulness of the Gospel, but the suggestion that the Church is perfect makes the declaration of having a living prophet seem a bit confusing. If there are not things that we are waiting to open our eyes to (which means God is waiting on us to ask him) then the foundation of the Church’s Restoration falls apart and the heavens are closed.

It offends me that we are given guidelines (albeit elusive) for just how much we can agitate, which questions we can ask, and just exactly to whom we can turn for support. The Church is not a country club that one can “just leave” if we “don’t like the rules.” Our good standing in the Church determines our salvation unto God—at least, so says the Church..

Understanding Does Not Require Agreement

The faithful men and women who align themselves with Ordain Women have each individually asked God and felt for themselves that the answer to gaining gender equality is female ordination of some kind. But wanting to hold true to the order and structure of the Church, knowing that a revelation for all must come through the prophet, they are asking him to ask God.

Any suggestion that their intention is otherwise leads me to think people haven’t paid any attention to what they are actually advocating for. If you have not done so, I suggest that you read through some of the FAQs and profiles on the Ordain Women website. I suggest this not as a way of proselyting, but as a means to an honest understanding of their actual position. No agreement is required, but integrity is—I can guarantee you that you’d be pretty upset if someone asked Pastor Robert Jeffress what Mormons believed and only took his opinion to heart.

According to the Ordain Women home page, ordination will allow all members, men and women alike, “to share equally in the full blessings and burdens of Church service and spiritual authority.” The Church teaches that the Priesthood is necessary for the salvation of mankind, to govern the kingdom of God on the earth, to administer ordinances, and to bless others. The conditional logic inferred in this point is that ordination is the only way to fulfill the functions of the Priesthood; anything less is separate but equal.

The Internal Conflict of the Excommunication

As someone who does not even support Ordain Women’s clarion call, and speaking to those who do not support Ordain Women, I can see problems with the way Kate’s excommunication was handled.

First, a man who did not have current ecclesiastical stewardship conducted her court and excommunicated her. There is an order to the Church and it was violated. Her lack of presence at the court is irrelevant when the entire premise of its orchestration is not even valid, according the Church’s own handbook.

We can talk about the timeline and who said what when at this point, but that is really tangential to the issue of what she was actually doing and the legitimacy of her Church disciplinary court in the first place.

Second, she was not excommunicated for teaching something false. Since women are already utilizing priesthood authority, this is not an apostate teaching—Elder Oaks asked, “What other authority can it be?” in the last General Conference. The only thing that would really make women spiritually and authoritatively equal to men in the context of the LDS Church is for women to be ordained. That is the just the nature of having the Priesthood Keys, which women do not have.

The recent Church statement says, “Simply asking questions has never constituted apostasy.”  Ordain Women’s objective was simply for the prophet to ask the question. If the answer is that “only men are ordained to serve in priesthood offices,” then at least we are admitting that there is no such thing as gender equality in the structure of the Church. Saying that the problem was the “use of grammatical imperative” and not “just asking questions” is saying that publicly stating the fact of unequal priesthood access and asking the prophet to pray about something are grounds for excommunication.

(To read about the gender inequality in Disciplinary Councils, read this series  and this:

 

On Gender Roles and Moving Forward

Priesthood as the authority of God does not have an equal in the home or the Church. Though men and women do have complementary contributions to make in the Church and in the home that pertain to their inherent gender qualities, these contributions are not related to Priesthood office or ordination, but to gender. This means that Priesthood, to which only males can be ordained, is not a gender role; Elder Oaks’ recent talk makes this obvious.

Though I am not a part of OW, I still think we need to be addressing gender inequality in the Church. There is a definite lack of female presence in our church hierarchy. Where women’s ordination or its discussion fits into the Church in the future I do not know, but I hold the opinion that more women could serve in many positions without ordination—thus mistakes and errors that marginalize women could be reduced by women merely being present. Note I said reduced, since perfection and infallibility are not possible in mortality. Ordination does not appear to be a requirement for many positions that are traditionally held by men.

On some level I agree that God’s law never changes. But to say things have never changed in the Church is simply not true; things HAVE changed. Repeatedly. God did not change, but the understanding of his prophets did and does, therefore so do the implementations and interpretations of that unchanging doctrine. The answer now is not ordaining women, but one day, perhaps, there will be a way to address the gender inequality in the Lord’s Church.

LoriAnn loves reading with her husband, chasing her toddler through puddles, cooking in her cast iron pan, community shared gardening, and serving in her community. She finds her center through daily ritual of family yoga, the Gospel, and is pursuing a minimalist lifestyle by biking and living without a car in sunny Portland. 

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81 Comments

  1. LoriAnn,
    Thanks for your thoughts on this topic.

    ” I hold the opinion that more women could serve in many positions without ordination—thus mistakes and errors that marginalize women could be reduced by women merely being present.”

    I absolutely agree. There are so many ways to make things more inclusive for women, even without ordination. Simple policy changes, like letting women act as witnesses at baptisms and weddings, or serving as clerks or executive secretaries, or inviting women to always be present and have a voice in decision-making bodies in all levels of church hierarchy would go a long way towards making things better. Though my ultimate desire is for full inclusion and priesthood ordination. I think someday we’ll get there, but it might take generations.

  2. Thanks for the post, LoriAnn! It has been disheartening to me to see the willful misunderstanding that has surrounded this particular topic and moment of time in our community. I do hope, however, that the trauma we have experienced–and I believe people on all sides of this issue have experienced trauma–will encourage us to have hard discussions and find solutions that will make things even just a little better. There’s a wonderful post up at Segullah today discussing this very thing. The suggestion Michelle gives is a small thing but it would mean so much to the women affected by it. Let’s pray that the ill will and distrust that has developed over the past couple of weeks won’t preclude the thoughtful discussion and ideas you share in your post from happening in our broader community.

  3. It is difficult to know where to start with the many erroneous assertions made in this post. First, I have reviewed many of the profiles on Ordain Women — and I know many of them personally. I know many to be atheists, folks who asked that their names be removed from Church records and others who have not darkened the door to the church for years. Yet in their profiles they claim otherwise. I do not know what to do with that. I hate calling folks liars about their own beliefs — but I believe that many are just not telling the truth here or are being deceptive by hiding their real stance regarding the Church.

    Second, you are wrong that the bishop who made the decision did not have current ecclesiastical stewardship. The disciplinary process was begun several months before her excommunication while KK still reside in Virginia. It is common practice that once such a process is begun a member cannot just move out to avoid discipline. In fact, it is common in legal proceedings in the UK and US as well. She demonstrated contempt for not only the process but the revelations that set up the process.

    Second, her false claim was not that women may possess some sort of priesthood authority already, as you assert, but that women should be ordained to and hold offices in the priesthood and that no other answer would be acceptable to her regardless of what prophet or Church may say.

    Further, you assertion that she was excommunicated because she asked the prophet to ask questions is not accurate. Nothing stated in any of the proceedings suggests that such a reason was ever considered for excommunicating her. Dictating what the answer must be whether the prophet asks or not was the problem. Further, the prophet has now responded in a statement and even you still do not accept the response. Go figure.

    • This whole thing has been very troubling and just plain disappointing to me, and my family. I love this church for so many, many reasons! I am a convert, converted when I was about 23 back in the mid 80′s. The church through the missionary’s answered for me, many many questions, questions I didn’t even know I had! The best part was I knew my search was now over….I had found Christ’s church! I had found the most perfect place, ppl and doctrine I could ever have thought was out there. My testimony started when I first opened the Book Of Mormon and every lesson, testimony, trial, mission and sacrament mtg. afterwards.
      The thing I want to say is, I would sometimes when looking over the featured profiles on the OW fb page and would read these what seemed like real and sincere testimonies and I would think……how is this, how are these ppl so close to Heavingly Father and with such strong testimony’s, so very lost and confused? And I think you just answered that for me…..their false and phony profiles. I tell you, it just gets sadder and sadder.
      Anyways, thanks for your post. I really appreciate it. I will before long move along and not trouble my self with this whole movement anymore……a movement have you, that is losing steam and support from the looks of things. Probably an answer of prayer by many a faithful mother and father who are hoping and praying their young ones will not be affected or fooled by their cunning and deceit.

    • Mormnorm, can you give a specific example of OW people misrepresenting themselves in their profiles? I know many of the people with profiles, and I haven’t seen any “liars.” Doesn’t meant there aren’t some, but I would love to know if you actually have any specific knowledge.

      I agree with you that the church does reserve the right for bishops and SP’s to refuse to transfer people’s records when they move. The larger point for me, however, is the question of whether it was ethical for Kate’s leaders to do so. To inform her she was on informal probation the week she was packing and then give her a court letter three weeks after she has moved is troubling. It points to some important missed opportunities for the bishop to counsel with her personally the whole year before this. He should have been working with her from the beginning, if this OW business was so dire that it would lead to excommunication.

      • Caroline: No I cannot give specific examples and still comply with the rules regarding this forum. It seems that you are free to tout their faithfulness but no one can, consistently with the rules of this forum, give specific examples to disagree. Nor do I want to embarrass any particular individual. Could I give specific examples? You betcha.

        I think that we can agree that there were a number of missed opportunities at reconciliation on both sides. However. KK’s refusal to attend or even acknowledge the proceedings pretty well speaks for itself.

      • Caroline: The short answer is that I could give many specific examples if they want to change the rules on this site to make it possible to question the faithfulness of others. Without that change, I would be violating the rules of engagement at your request — even after you have admonished not to break them! It seems, alas, that Loriann is free to tout the faithfulness of OW participants and no one is free to respond with specific examples to the contrary. So if you want to change the rules of engagement let me know and I will let it fly.

      • Here’s the thing that troubles me about your comment Mormnorm, we have that comment policy in place in an effort to foster productive dialog. How would providing the many instances of OW’s deceptions that you claim to know or have foster productive dialog? I highly doubt that you “letting it fly” would make anybody feel heard and validated. You yourself said you didn’t want to do it because it might embarrass the people involved.

        There is a reason Jesus cautioned us against judging. At the Exponent we want to hear and validate every woman’s experience and story, even the one’s we heartily disagree with. In fact, some of us didn’t agree with this post but we believe that LoriAnn had the right to say her piece. So say your piece, tell us why you are happy in the church and why you don’t need/want the priesthood. Help us understand you and your story. But enough pain and anger has been felt over this event, now is the time for community-building and healing.

    • Amen!!! Couldn’t agree more!

  4. I’m afraid that people are missing the forest for the trees. If people would come to understand the deep, profound doctrines found in the temple then all of this seeking for “equality” would cease being an issue. It’s already there folks. There is a reason things are done like they are done in the temple and there are some very profound doctrines right there for the taking if people have “ears to hear” and “eyes to see”. If husbands and wives are truly “one” as is the ultimate goal of marriage, and if the people of the church are truly “one”, then it hardly matters who is actually ordained and who is not. By seeking for “equality” it is actually evidence that the doctrine of “unity” is completely being missed and ignored. If you are “one” with your husband, you rejoice in his priesthood authority because it is actually your own. (Thus “the two shall become one flesh”) It is my opinion that it’s not that women CAN’T be ordained to the priesthood, it’s that they already ARE if they are truly living according to the awesome covenants they have made. This is a dumb analogy, but I wouldn’t opt to change my toes into fingers because I feel it’s unfair that my fingers “get to do more than my toes”. That would be silly. I appreciate my fingers for what they can do. Toes and fingers are not separate and unequal parts of my body . . . they are important parts of the same whole. The importance of unity and the vital roles of men and women together are things that have become so obvious to me, and I feel so sad for women who do not see what I’ve come to see. All parts of the body of Christ are necessary and important and men and women should been seen together as a complete whole., not as separate entities. There is a reason we learn that Eve came from Adam’s rib. She was part of him and he is part of her. Together. Not separate. My husband’s joys are mine. Mine are his. His responsibilities and authority is mine and mine are a part of his. This probably makes no sense, but it does to me completely.

    • I think this view of the temple only works for women who are willing to be completely submissive to their husband’s will. Not to mention that it is cold comfort for single women.

      • While I agree that submission is a loaded word, in a loving healthy marriage where both parties are doing their best and the husband is righteous there is no in equality. I know this because I’m in that kind of marriage. I do know that there are men and women who are abusive, but that crosses that righteous line.. Also don’t forget that men are also commanded to love their wives even as Jesus loved the world or church. Thinking about what that really means.

      • Heather – I agree that most marriages strive for the kind of equality that you describe. But is there a reason that the temple has women hearkening to their husband, but men not hearkening to their wives? Is there anything in our theology that precludes them from hearkening to each other, rather than doing so one way? Because if not, then why is there a problem with asking about the change? But if so, then we have a much more loaded question on our hands about the role of women in the church.

      • Men and women both must be completely submissive to the Lord, that’s what I get out of the Endowment ceremony. Is there some issue people have with submitting to the Lord’s will? (Genuine question, not a snarky remark — sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference in a comment).

        I find comfort in knowing that women are ordained as equal priestesses and queens alongside their husbands in the eternities.

        Are there things we don’t understand about why the Lord has chosen to do things this way? Of course. But I have a sincere hope and faith that those answers will be made known to us in due time. Due time, though, may be many centuries hence.

    • I can feel your sincerity, Becky, and I believe that the temple and the church are empowering for you. It is not that way for everybody. The day I took out my endowments was the worst day of my life and while the pain has deadened over the past 9 years it has never gone away. The temple is not a place of peace for me and that’s ok, I have other ways to deepen my relationship with God.

      If you are interested in understanding some of your sister’s pain on this topic and why saying “if people would come to understand the deep, profound doctrines found in the temple then all of this seeking for “equality” would cease being an issue” is of little comfort, I recommend this article: http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2014/04/the-mormon-priestess-the-short-version/

    • Eve was only one of Adams wives. So will all of your sister wives share your husbands authority in the afterlife? This is a sincere question by the way. I just read it & realized it may sound condescending but that’s not my intent. I’m genuinely curious?

      • I have no idea how to answer this question. There is no scriptural evidence, at least in the scriptures we use, that Adam had more than one wife. I suppose there are some that believe polygamy is an eternal principle so I assume they believe all wives would share in the man’s power. I, however, don’t believe that polygamy is a godly principle and so this question is theoretical and nothing more.

  5. Very well said Becky!

  6. Becky, I find your assertion that a profound understanding of the temple clears up gender inequality erroneous. I have faithfully attended the temple and believe the language and ceremony there points out glaring inequalities and only emphasizes that we have much to he revealed about our Heavenly Mother and what it means to become like her. I know many who have faithfully attended the temple, including myself, who have studied, pondered, and prayed about their experiences and this has led them to ask about feemale ordination. One of the most frustrating assumptions I hear is that members of OW don’t understand the spirit or haven’t received the confirmation and clarity that true believers have. I believe that seeking and knocking includes advocating and speaking up, joining with voices in a worldwide congregation, and asking for personal revelation. I think it’s ok to ask for further light and a direct response. No authority can point out doctrine explaining why women do not have the priesthood, nor do they claim they will never have it. I think we have to demonstrate that we are ready for further revelation and that is the goal of OW. We are not foolish children to be scolded, but faithful truth seekers knocking and striving to be disciples of Christ. The LDS faith community should have room for all. and more faith in its members to question and ask, while remaining faithful participants.

    • I absolutely agree, Mindy. The temple for me is the worst place to go if one wants to argue for gender equality in Mormonism. In the temple, men hearken unto God and women hearken unto men as they are righteous. This clearly puts men in a position where they are mediating women’s relationship with God. Temple language is one of the first things that should be changed, I believe, if we want to actually foster equality between men and women in Mormonism.

      • I’d have to add my “amen” to Caroline and Mindy. The temple is actually where my concerns about the role of women in the gospel started – the inequitable language throughout all of the ceremonies is very troubling to me.

      • Adam hearkened to Eve first, when he partook of the fruit (good thing too!). Having Eve also hearken unto Adam is a reminder that we both need to listen to each other. And we are only bound to hearken if Adam follows God. Adam didn’t have that choice. You can choose to interpret the temple through a feminist filter or you can open your mind to other possibilities.

      • That’s nice that Adam hearkened to Eve. It would be more comforting if it actually meant something in terms of covenants, like that men covenanted to hearken to women.

      • Grammy: you can also choose to open your heart to the very real pain that many women, myself included, feel about the temple. It’s hard to go your entire life hearing how amazing the temple is and not consider the interpretation you suggest. Believe me, I have tired the heavens with my tears and prayers over this issue but I have never been comforted. Our pain is real and sincere and I believe God weeps over it.

  7. Thank you for this. This is only the beginning so many more discussions about encouraging greater representation of women on both a local and general level and moving past traditional gender stereotypes within our culture. We might not always agree on strategy, but your words are proof that we can still be united in purpose.

  8. The ‘response’ from OW to the First Presidency letter clearly shows that they don’t care about only asking – they are demanding that policy be changed, as well as when and how it is done – this is clear and “any suggestion that their intention is otherwise leads me to think people haven’t paid any attention to what they are actually advocating for.” Secondly, forgive me if I find the argument rubbish that it is my fault for not understanding what they are advocating for, when they, as an organization, are all over the map on what they are advocating for. Just because OW has a pretty website, 500 people that show up for a peaceful rally at a park at General Conference and defy the requests of the church to not do something, have board members and 1,000 FB followers, and leader who has gone ‘like a lamb to the slaughter’, does not validate it as a viable organization with a clear mission. In fact, as the previous post mentions, it cannot be reiterated enough – a great number of these people left the church and do not believe its doctrines, so how can they also love the church and its doctrines in a profile on OW. And yes, they do preach their doctrine as though it comes from the church (see the 6 discussions, which remind me of something else that they church actually published – oh, yes, the 6 missionary discussions used in proselyting the real doctrine of the church…hmmm…that’s interesting). So, yes, please forgive me in admitting that I have no clear idea about what they are advocating for except for the last sentence in every profile that they belief that women should be ordained even if the prophet doesn’t and has stated this publicly in the most recent letter.

    And even after the First Presidency addressed the issue, they continue to press the issue. So, I believe that no – they are not “wanting to hold true to the order and structure of the Church” because the true order and structure of the church accepts prophets and apostles. Additionally, the reason why they are ‘asking’ through demonstrations and NYT/MSNBC interviews is to pressure the First Presidency into making that change. Perhaps in political circles, this is an effective strategy, but for any member of any church who loves their church, I would expect them to be defensive of it being dragged through the mud by a completely disillusioned media that makes a pretty penny by coming out with extreme misrepresentations of reality. To me, OW is poorly organized and has ill will towards the church, even if they shout that they do not and use all sorts of wonderful stories from their primary and youth days to prove that they are really active members of the church. They advocate for a cause that attacks a core theological belief that Mormons have – that a prophet talks to God and is the person on the earth to figure these things out. They sling quotes from the prophets in order to contradict another one – they use intellectualism to try to cure the ‘stupidity’ of the prophets. They believe that they are right and the prophets are wrong. So, they are basically advocating for the change because without them, the prophets will continue to be wrong….that is what I see they are advocating for…and again, using your words, “any suggestion that their intention is otherwise leads me to think people haven’t paid any attention to what they are actually advocating for.”

    • Just grabbing what seems like a central point out of your critique:

      “So, yes, please forgive me in admitting that I have no clear idea about what they are advocating for except for the last sentence in every profile that they belief that women should be ordained even if the prophet doesn’t and has stated this publicly in the most recent letter.”

      “And even after the First Presidency addressed the issue, they continue to press the issue.”

      The First Presidency statement tells us what the status quo is. What OW asked for is whether they could maybe go to God and see if the status quo could be changed. The FP statement doesn’t even acknowledge this question. It’s not a very good example of “addressing” the issue.

      • Ziff, I believe your response proves my point. Yes, the FP did restate the status quo and in so doing, have answered the question in the way they deemed appropriate:

        “In God’s plan for the happiness and eternal progression of His children, the blessings of His priesthood are equally available to men and women. Only men are ordained to serve in priesthood offices. All service in the Church has equal merit in the eyes of God. ” – the FP

        If the prophet equals the mouthpiece of the Lord, then this statement is “addressing” the issue that needs to be addressed and it addresses it in the way the Lord sees fit at this time (which adds to a bajillion talks on the subject over the last 4 conference sessions). I believe (and church doctrine teaches) that a prophet actually is the mouthpiece of the Lord and OW does not believe this, even if they say that they do. There is a big difference between asking and campaigning – and OW has 100% crossed that line. Going to the media by releasing responses to everything the church says is an interesting strategy that reflects a lot of love for the church, doesn’t it? In reality, it is a tactical move, to try and force the church into corners, so that OW can release a new response and get a news story out of it, thus proving how the current leaders are fallible and how women need to hold the priesthood for everything to start becoming right, as the Lord would want it.

      • No, they didn’t answer the question. Restating the status quo is not an answer to the question. If you’re anxious, as you clearly are, to have the whole question of the female priesthood ban just go away, then I understand why you would grab at anything coming out of GAs’ mouths that you can interpret as an answer. But that doesn’t make what they’ve said an answer. They’re still ignoring the question.

      • it is not a GA, it was the FP that issued the statement which is a direct response to criticisms by OW that the prophet never spoke to it…and now he has spoken and did so in the way that he saw fit…even if it doesn’t appease to the demands of those who say he didn’t answer the question….and yes, I believe that they have said what they needed to say…if a change was made on the priesthood, I would have absolutely no problem accepting it…my faith is not contingent upon getting what i want and getting it when and how I want it.

      • I think you would find you have that in common with many of the OW supporters–their faith is not contingent on getting what they want, they only want the prophet to ask. As Ziff already stated, the FP statement only reiterated the status quo, it did not say they had prayed about it. You might find OW’s continued asking distasteful but there is scriptural precedent for it (no, not the Martin Harris story). I know many of these women see this as a way to put their trust in God, to show they are willing to wait upon Their words. It’s fine if this is not your way of expressing faithfulness but how exactly does their action hurt your faith?

      • I was reminded of the Ordain Women issue the other day when I read Mosiah 28 vs 4-8. I don’t want to speak for OW, but I see them as like the sons of Mosiah, pleading with their priesthood leader for many days that they might serve in ways they can not now serve. Except instead of asking God as Mosiah did, our leaders have simply restated the status quo. \

        I don’t know what the answer is, but when I read the scriptures it seems that the prophets of old normally make it very clear when God spoke to them directly. I don’t what is wrong with asking our prophets to request such a direct communication on the issue and then state the result as specifically a revelation from God. Instead we get very carefully crafted statements that leave a lot of room for interpretation. Sure we know the status quo, but no statement has indicated that God said this will never happen, so some women will continue to seek, knock and ask.

        Like Nephi, I delight in plainness and could use a little more on this topic.

  9. I’m sorry LoriAnn but there really is some misinformation in your work. Her Bishop absolutely had current ecclesiastical stewardship. Once a process has started it must be finished there. You can’t run from this, your membership stays there until the issue is resolved. That is how it works everywhere. Kate chose for whatever reason to hit the media circuit rather than participate in her own defense. She was given several options and chose to do interviews and attend a rally (Protest) instead. I would also like to point out that Kate Kelly’s response to the council was to post the names contact info, job info and even political contributions of the men who were to meet with her on her FB page trying to intimidate and possibly threaten the men in advance of the council. That is the type of person leading this group.
    You speak of the OW supporters as faithful members yet many if not most are in fact exmembers or are non members just working for disharmony in the church. The FB page they run is notorious for giving open forum to any anti out there that wants to align with them then delete any rational post to the contrary.
    There are other issues with this article but I have other things to do today and will end with this, KK was NOT excommunicated for asking questions. The web site, forums, firesides, “Discussions” and protests all of which she participates in and directs are being taught to other women and contain falsehoods and misrepresentation of Doctrine and Principles of this church. That is why she was excommunicated. I’m a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, I’m a woman, and Kate Kelly and OW do NOT speak for me.

    • Ok. But there are plenty of women who are supporters of OW, are faithful members of the church, who feel like the things Kate Kelly has expressed do speak to their experience. Their feelings are just as valid as yours and at Exponent we validate all women’s experiences and feelings. As for the rest of your comment, I echo Caroline’s previous question: can you give a specific example of OW people misrepresenting themselves in their profiles? There are two sides of every story and there is plenty that has been written that refutes what you have written here. So if you have specific knowledge AND would like to have a respectful conversation about that please, feel free to share it.

      • I never meant to imply that their feelings are invalid, I only disagree with their methods not the feelings that brought them here. I will happily produce evidence of my claim after I pick kids up from school, get them fed, and off to bed : ) I too look forward to a respectful conversation.

      • I believe that we should be careful to assert that we – or anyone for that matter – is a faithful member of the church. What does that even mean? A faithful member of the church is (insert the correct definition here). That is a really personal thing and it is dynamic concept – just because one is faithful today doesn’t mean that they are faithful tomorrow. I just think that this has been a common argument that OW advocates use to demonstrate that their desires are righteous, but in reality, it is just a self-proclaimed view that represents a form of pride – in essence, “I declare myself faithful, so people should listen to me.” Unfortunately for Kate Kelly, her opinion of being a faithful member of the church does not align with that of her bishop or Judge in Israel (as defined by church doctrine), so who is right? As for me, I side with the church on that one.

      • Kayleen, I’m going to repeat what I said to Mormnorm above, what will this evidence of OW’s deceit and evilness contribute to the conversation? Will this foster productive dialog or add to the pain this event has caused our community. I hope you will consider this carefully.

        Tellmethis, I am confused by your comment. Until the last sentence you cautioned us not to judge who is faithful and who is not. And then you made a judgment on Kate Kelly’s faithfulness. It’s confusing, as well as against our comment policy.

      • Mraynes you are just confusing. On one hand you ask for specific examples of deceit among OW profiles: “can you give a specific example of OW people misrepresenting themselves in their profiles?”The answer is “yes.”

        But then you turn around and completely contradict the fact that you are asking for specific instances: “we have that comment policy in place in an effort to foster productive dialog. How would providing the many instances of OW’s deceptions that you claim to know or have foster productive dialog?”

        Well, you are the one who asked for instances and then said it would be a bad idea to give them. Further, you keep talking about the pain other women feel about this issue. Why not tell us about your own pain and let others tell about theirs if they so feel? Trying to read minds and create a community of victims in pain is never a good idea.

      • Mraynes- So a couple of things, first saying someone is a faithful member leaves a lot open to opinion. In one persons opinion someone who makes no effort to fulfill a calling is not faithful, in another persons it may be level of activity, or even participation in a group like OW. Second due to the rules of this blog I cannot give you the names of those who I have seen comment and post as “Faithful members” on OW’s site then show up posting support for anti Mormon sites. I will tell you there are several who do so regularly.
        You said, ” There are two sides of every story and there is plenty that has been written that refutes what you have written here.” I would love to explain what I said to you but I’m not sure what exactly you refute. Can you tell me what it is you think I’m wrong about and I’ll try to show you where I’m coming from. thanks

      • You asked me, ” what will this evidence of OW’s deceit and evilness contribute to the conversation? Will this foster productive dialog or add to the pain this event has caused our community.”
        I believe that those women who have chosen to follow the OW movement deserve to know that there has been deceit and wrong doing. I believe that I have a responsibility to be a voice of warning to those who may get caught up in the hype and not do their own research. I have a friend that was once a member of OW that when shown the discrepancies turned away and is seeking answers to her questions in other ways.
        Do you think it wise to follow someone who is willfully deceitful? Would you rather know or not know when you are being lied to? We must all be vigilant these days about who we associate with that we may remain on the Lords side. Your opinion on who is on the Lords side may differ from mine but to make the best choice you must be informed. That is what my objective was in making my original post. If you’d like evidence of what I said in that post I can send it to you but I don’t think I can post screen shots on this site.

      • Mormnorm: I actually didn’t ask you for specific examples. I followed up on your comment to Caroline where you said that providing examples would break our comment policy as well as you would feel bad about doing it. I asked you a perfectly valid question, what do you hope to get from exposing OW? Will it make you feel better? Will it make OW supporters feel better? Or will it just add to the pain that people on both sides of the issue are feeling? I didn’t forbid you from sharing your information, I asked you to consider if it was worth it. As for my pain, you can read about it here: http://www.the-exponent.com/to-sylvia/. I would love to hear about your story, that is the whole point of Exponent. But you sharing your experience and opinions is vastly different than you threatening to expose fellow sisters and brothers.

        Kayleen: We have the policy about not questioning other’s faithfulness because it is impossible to make a fair judgment on that. You cannot know exactly what is in another’s heart. And what constitutes an anti-Mormon site? People may have different opinions about what that means so I don’t find that an effective way of judging who is sincere and who is not. As for the 2nd side of the story, Kate refutes the timeline of her bishop and SP. She wrote about the meeting she had with them in December and was under the impression that she was not being disciplined, because they explicitly told her that. So yes, there is some understandable controversy to why the proceedings were held in that ward. Additionally, the Mormon Women Stand and OW Exposed FB groups delete comments from feminists so I don’t think it says anything about OW that they do the same. I agree that we all have to be vigilant but at some point we have to take personal responsibility for this. I don’t know all of the 500 OW supporters, I have no doubt that some are less sincere than others, that’s human nature. But to say all have been misled by Kate Kelly doesn’t compute with the women I do know who are intelligent, sincere and who thought long and hard before putting up a profile. So my question remains, would your screenshots really help foster productive dialog or would it increase the defensiveness and anger?

    • Thank you Kayleen! Spot on!

    • MRAYNES- you say that what you want is dialogue (an exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue, especially a political or religious issue, with a view to reaching an amicable agreement or settlement) but it really feels like both here and on the OW site what is really wanted is compliance and concurrence. It feels hurtful and hypocritical to me and to others to hear that the church is trying to silence women for questioning yet when we ask sincere questions in forums like this we are deleted or called judgmental or my favorite called TBM’s implying we are ignorant to the facts. So I ask which is it that this movement really wants? Is it possible that there are some who are TBF?
      You have told me that I can’t judge what’s in a persons heart to know if they are faithful, and I agree but I will take them at their word. A person who calls themselves a faithful member who on other sites admit to having their name previously removed or to never having been a member to begin with is by any definition not a faithful member. That is what several of us are referring to. By their fruits shall ye know them.
      You asked how I know a web site to be “Anti” well when it says it’s Anti I choose to believe them. I’m not talking about blogs etc with disgruntled members venting I’m talking about full on Anti Mormon sites that are what the say they are.
      You say that Kate refutes the time line but the fact remains that both Kate and her records where still in VA when disciplinary action began and whether or not she was packing her bags to leave that is where it began and she had several choices to participate had she chosen to. I do wonder if it would have made a difference to have held the council in Utah? Would she have gone?
      I’m not a follower of either of the other two sites you mention (though a post of mine was quoted on one) and don’t know their rules. I did get the feeling that they aren’t looking for dialogue but only to set the record straight on misinformation going around.
      Lastly you wanted to know if what I said was productive to dialogue. I guess that is all dependent on what you really want. If you want to read about all the ways the church is wrong and has wronged women, how those that disagree with you are willfully misunderstanding OW, or are “Ignoring Logic”, then no. I have nothing to contribute. If you want to look deeply and carefully at the issues for women in the church that need to be addressed I’m here but I will not fall in line with the hypocrisy that allows for name calling and silencing of those who disagree with you, fault finding with the church and an willful ignorance to the wrong doings on the other side of the issue.

      • I was asking you to speak to your own experience because that is all you are an expert on. Nobody is silencing you. I never said you couldn’t put up screenshots I just asked you to think about it. I asked you if exposing people is really productive, you still haven’t answered that question. No matter what you think you know you cannot know a person’s heart even if they are taking actions you disagree with. Jesus is our judge and we all have to stand before him. He is the only one who can judge us. As this is the case, I personally feel that smearing people, even if it’s deserved, isn’t worthwhile. Which is why I kept asking you to speak to your own experience. I would have liked to engage with you about your ideas. I have no interest in trying to judge the actions of others. Now, I will grant you that the title and some of the language in this post are inflammatory. This is a guest post and we should have asked for that to be edited out but we are all volunteers, I have four little kids and am trying to finish my thesis. So I apologize for that. I don’t think we will reach agreement here but I do hope that you will engage with us in the future.

  10. “The faithful men and women who align themselves with Ordain Women have each individually asked God and felt for themselves that the answer to gaining gender equality is female ordination of some kind. But wanting to hold true to the order and structure of the Church, knowing that a revelation for all must come through the prophet, they are asking him to ask God.”

    I think you have seriously watered down the intensity of their “unequivocal call for complete equality and the ordination of Mormon women.”

    In other words, let’s not pretend like they’re in any way trying to follow rather than lead the prophet. The Lord’s way of doing things is revealing His will to His prophets who in turn invite the rest of us to pray and confirm their revelation. OW has it exactly backwards when they “ask” the prophets to confirm the revelation that they received. How any neutral account – let alone any faithful account – can not acknowledge this tension is beyond me.

    • This view really makes no sense to me, Jeff. Are you saying the prophet must sit in a sealed room and wait for God to reveal stuff? He can’t initiate anything with questions? People around him can’t ask him to initiate anything with questions?

      • I’m saying that prophets have an asymmetrical relationship to us in the church such that they “are not sent forth to be taught, but to teach the children of men.”

        OW has new, prayerfully considered doctrines and teachings which they wish to introduce or reveal to those within the church. They do this – among other things – by way of 6 discussions. They then invite their listeners to pray about it in order to seek confirmation of this revealed doctrine.

        I’m sorry, but this just is usurping a prophet’s prerogative – a prerogative which was never meant to be symmetrical in nature. I know you hate such asymmetrical and/or hierarchical distinctions, but the scriptures clearly endorse them.

      • Your understanding doesn’t line up with my understanding of personal and continuing revelation. It’s fine to have differences of opinion on this matter but don’t fool yourself into thinking that it makes me any less of a faithful Latter-day Saint than you.

      • Who said anything at all about personal worthiness?

        I agree that your idea of personal revelation does not, in and of itself make any person unfaithful in any way at all. I do, however, think we have seen plenty of evidence in the last few weeks that such an understanding of personal revelation can lead people to rebel against the Lord’s anointed.

      • ” I know you hate such asymmetrical and/or hierarchical distinctions, but the scriptures clearly endorse them.”

        Clearly? The scriptures say a lot of things, not all of them pro-hierarchy. Some OT prophets seem to have come from outside a hierarchical structure, for example. And Jesus clearly did. I think your tendency to see hierarchy everywhere says more that you love hierarchy than that the scriptures clearly endorse hierarchy.

      • Would you at least agree that the pro-hierarchy passages are much clearer and forceful than the anti-hierarchy passages?

        As for the OT, I wouldn’t expect to find much support either way there. Having nothing against which to compare and contrast hierarchy, I suspect that they simply took such things for granted in a way that never required direct addressing.

      • I didn’t say anything about personal worthiness. As for the interpretation of personal revelation used by OW causing rebellion against the Lord’s anointed, I think it’s up for debate as to whether that really is the case.

      • Sorry, I assumed that “faithful lds” referred to personal worthiness.

        That said, I did not mean OW specifically, but the whole host of people within the bloggernacle that have appealed to their own personal revelation in order to correct, constrain or otherwise undermine the our leaders and their decisions. I have yet to see a blogger who takes my model of personal revelation seriously do this.

    • Maybe, just maybe the FP did pray about women ordination. Can’t imagine they wouldn’t. They pray for all members of the church, they pray for guidance and direction. The FP “seeks” His will. They “ask” that His will be made known to them. They “ask” for the strength to follow with exactness His will. They do not question His will. That is the pattern we must follow.

      • Then why can’t they say so? As I said to another commenter: This is a topic of great import–there is a lot of confusion surrounding who can have the priesthood and when, what responsibilities require priesthood ordination and how the priesthood works–you really don’t think it’s worth it to our leaders and to God to be absolutely clear on the subject? When so many of our sisters and brothers are in pain because of this issue? While the church is hemorrhaging women because of gender issues? When so many women are getting personal revelation from God telling them that they can access the power of heaven in greater ways than they are currently allowed? Please tell me why this doesn’t warrant President Monson coming out and saying, “I am so sorry sisters, but the answer is no.”

    • “The Lord’s way of doing things is revealing His will to His prophets who in turn invite the rest of us to pray and confirm their revelation. OW has it exactly backwards when they “ask” the prophets to confirm the revelation that they received.”

      In my study it seems like it can work either way and more often it depends on the audience. When instructing non-believers prophets often teach the basic tenets of the gospel: Faith in Jesus Christ, baptism, repentance, etc. When looking at stories relating to those who are already members and have these basic beliefs they are often cases of members approaching the prophet or high priest and making a request. That request is often brought to the lord for an answer which is then related back to the member.

      I think we constrain the spirit when we teach that there is only one way knowledge can come to us and that is from the prophet. Sure, we need direction from the first presidency to change to policy of the church, but I don’t think that means the spirit can’t teach us things or direct us to take actions that our spiritual leader may not initially understand. Look at the sons of Mosiah. They had the spirit work upon them to preach the gospel in the land of Nephi, but when they approached their father with the idea they had to ask him for many days with their desire to travel to go on a mission before Mosiah finally brought the matter to the Lord.

      Personally this is the kind of asking I see Ordain Women doing. I see women who have felt a call to ask a question and to not back down when challenged.

  11. I’m sorry you find my assertions about the temple erroneous. I can’t argue with anyone else’s revelatory experience there, I just know what I personally have come to understand and know. I think unity between husband and wife is a very profound component taught in the temple. I also think you can faithfully attend the temple, and faithfully do a lot of other things and still miss some things. Truth is revealed line upon line but that doesn’t mean it comes in the same way and at the same time for everyone. There is a reason we are told not to discuss what goes on in the temple, and if people have attended the temple and come up with that conclusion about the ordination of women, that should be respected as sacred and kept there not announced publicly and sought after. I’ve feel that I have had what I would consider some very profound insight about the role and place of Heavenly Mother. I treasure it and hold it sacred . . . but I cannot take what I’ve learned and present it to the general church population or I would be stepping out of my bounds. Jesus spoke in parables for a reason . . . to protect those not ready to hear and understand certain doctrines and to prevent argument, debate, and contention among people not ready to hear certain things. The endowment is the pinnacle of parables. God knows when the timing is right to expound upon doctrines not fully understood. We as church members don’t . . . and could leave a lot of damage in our wake if we speak up when we should hold our peace. Faith in the Lord includes faith in his timing. Seek not to counsel the Lord. He knows what he is doing and so do his Apostles.

    • Thank you for sharing your testimony here, Becky, and for engaging in this conversation with civility and grace.

  12. People, please note our comment policy at http://www.the-exponent.com/about-2/comment-policy/. While we welcome discussion and debate, we will not allow comments that call anyone’s personal righteousness or allegiance to the Church into question. Violators will be moderated.

  13. Mindy said “No authority can point out doctrine explaining why women do not have the priesthood, nor do they claim they will never have it. I think we have to demonstrate that we are ready for further revelation and that is the goal of OW.”

    I don’t think the authorities have to point out doctrine or explain anything. If a person gets their own personal revelation about something, that should suffice until a decision is made by those in authority to say something.

    I think demonstrating that “we are ready for further revelation” happens by being true to the the light and knowledge we covenanted to hold sacred and not discuss outside of temple walls. It is my opinion that certain types of “personal” revelation should remain personal . . . not brought to the attention of the world by an organized group outside of the official church structure.

    • How do you juxtapose this belief against other historical and scriptural precedents where people have not kept their revelations or questions private. I feel like there are times when God uses people as his tools to push forward “further light and knowledge”. How do you know when you should be quiet or when you should speak. (This is a completely sincere question for you).

  14. Thank you, LoriAnn, for your understanding and compassion.

  15. So for those who agree with her excommunication is what you are saying is that in “publicly stating the fact of unequal priesthood access and asking the prophet to pray about something are grounds for excommunication.” there was a legitimate need for disciplinary process in the first place? I don’t, that is kinda of the point, there wasn’t. Not when she lived there, not when she was preparing to move, and not when she moved. There is no issue, to merit such actions of discipline on any level. The simple fact that we are being told to have these conversations in our Sunday School and/or Relief Society Priesthood meetings is evidence of that. She was excommunicated for pointing out the logical truth. Kate asserted that women should be ordained to and hold offices in the priesthood if we are going to keep preaching equality truthfully. This is to follow the mandate of how salvation is administered on Earth by the Lord’s people, as holders of his authority. There lies the option, make women equal through ordination or stop falsely preaching equality when they aren’t, it is pretty simple. The differing roles we have because of our gender are not dependent on ordination.

    Really that would be like being excommunicated for talking truthfully about Joseph Smith’s polygamy and polyandry because it makes him look bad as the prophet, or being excommunicated for talking truthfully about the history of racism and false teachings of prophets regarding race and the Prieshtood in the Church. Only in this case for making the Church look sexist for telling the absolute truth about gender discrimination. That truth being IF WE ARE GOING TO KEEP GIVING LIP SERVICE TO EQUALITY then they (women) should actually be made equal or we should stop the lip service already. Otherwise it is the Church saying one thing and then doing another, I mean by their fruits ye shall know them right? If women aren’t equal in authority and stewardship (fruits), then they are not equal in the Church.

    More of the fruits of women’s inequality in the Church is found in the Temple, see here for a discussion of that http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2014/04/the-mormon-priestess-the-short-version/ and why we as a Church need to evaluate the messages we send. As it stands the words of the Temple and the male only Priesthood suggests women are not equal in the slightest, why does anyone try to pretend otherwise? It is right there in our doctrine that women are not equal.

    For further reading on understanding this position I highly recommend Walk in the Pink Moccasins- https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/137-21-25.pdf

  16. I have read, listened, observed, contemplated, and prayed about what the followers of OW have been saying. I however am confused as to what exactly they want. I know they say they want women to be ordained to the Priesthood, but they have also said that they just wanted the leaders to go to Heavenly Father and ask him. In my eyes that is exactly what our Prophet has done. I believe that when all of this talk about Women being Ordained was made public he immediately took it to Heavenly Father. I’m sure they discussed it together in length. President Monson is not just another man on this earth…He is our Prophet and if we believe in the church then we believe that he is in constant contact with our Heavenly Father. Obviously Heavenly Father did not tell him that ordaining women was something the church should begin doing. At this point Heavenly Father said NO and OW doesn’t want to believe that. I know from personal experience that Heavenly Father always answers our prayers just not always the way we would like. Kelly’s error was in not listening to the Prophet. Does she really believe that Heavenly Father approves of saying bad things about HIS Prophet and HIS church? In reading all of the things that have been said by leaders and followers of OW I was so sad to see that several people were bashing our Prophet, bashing our leaders and pretty much bashing our religion. I am a woman, I am a Mormon, I am my Heavenly Father’s daughter and I trust that Heavenly Father has answered, very strongly, the questions that OW has been asking. I personally do not feel the need to be ordained into the Priesthood. If Heavenly Father wanted that for the women in His Church he would do it! That really is the most important thing that OW should remember is that Heavenly Father has to want what they want and obviously either he plain and simply doesn’t want it or it isn’t time for it. They need to listen and be obedient to their Father in Heaven. It isn’t that President Monson won’t let women be ordained…it’s that Heavenly Father has said NO.

    KK was given the chance to talk with her Bishop and to give her side. She did have counseling from him and her Stake President, but she chose to ignore the counseling and to not defend herself. I don’t have issue with her decisions except I find it sad that she continues to hold interviews where she degrades the church and that she doesn’t see how that can make her Heavenly Father VERY sad. Every inch of the gospel is true…people are human and they make mortal mistakes, but Heavenly Father is perfect and he doe not make mistakes. I put my faith in him and I will ignore the demands that OW makes now to an increasingly indifferent audience. Just like the people in the past (ie: Sonia Johnson) who have tried to bring the church down with their questions and demands this too will pass and will eventually be put to the back of the minds of most people. Even if the original desire for women to be ordained wasn’t begun by satan…the continued need for negative interviews and making headlines is. Any chance he gets to cause disharmony and dissatisfaction with church members brings him such joy! I try not to judge others, but it saddens me to see and hear so many who are struggling with this desire for something that Heavenly Father is not answering yes to. I know that when we are all back in Heaven and with Heavenly Father and our Savior we will know the reasons why at this time there will be no ordination for women. Until then I choose to have Faith and show obedience to a Father that I love with all of my heart, and I will continue to pray for peace for my brothers and sisters who can’t find it.

    • Here’s the thing, Nannygoat, the Prophet, FP, and Quorum of the Twelve have never said that they have taken the matter to the Lord. You have made the assumption that they have and while that’s a reasonable assumption to make what is the problem with being explicit about it? This is a topic of great import–there is a lot of confusion surrounding who can have the priesthood and when, what responsibilities require priesthood ordination and how the priesthood works–you really don’t think it’s worth it to our leaders and to God to be absolutely clear on the subject? When so many of our sisters and brothers are in pain because of this issue? While the church is hemorrhaging women because of gender issues? When so many women are getting personal revelation from God telling them that they can access the power of heaven in greater ways than they are currently allowed? Please tell me why this doesn’t warrant President Monson coming out and saying, “I am so sorry sisters, but the answer is no.”

      I’m not going to address your second paragraph because there are two sides to every story and Kate’s side has been documented at length elsewhere. But I do want to say that despite your statement that you try not to judge, you are doing just that in this paragraph and that is a violation of our comment policy. I am happy to hear, however, that you are at peace in your relationship with God and the church and I appreciate what must be heartfelt prayers for those of us who don’t feel this same peace.

      • Mraynes: Would it really solve the issue for you if the FP stated it had taken the matter to the Lord and they have the following statement to issue, and then issued the same statement that the FP just issued? I do not see how it would make difference to you because you claim so many women are having their own revelations to the contrary (and we all know they should be followed rather than the FP) and so many are leaving the Church over gender issues. If Pres. Monson did exactly as you say, all of these assertions lead me to doubt that you would accept it. Would you?

      • Mormnorm, you are making a lot of assumptions about me and other people that comes dangerously close to judging. It might surprise you that I have not publicly supported OW, that I have mixed feelings about female ordination. But I absolutely will stand up for the right for these sisters and brothers to ask the question. So I can’t speak to what their response would be if President Monson said this. And neither can you.

  17. In expressing an opinion of dissent in a religious culture I didn’t expect to be popular or agreed with. However I also didn’t expect people not to see the obviousness of gender inequality under the logic Kate Kelly/Ordain Women presented. Considering the Church teaches the Priesthood is necessary for the salvation of mankind, to not only govern the kingdom of God on the earth, but to administer the ordinances, to bless others, and preside in the home, you would think they would want more people to participate in such an obligation and privilege to build the kingdom more effectively. Nevermind that ordination in itself is a requirement of salvation for males, they may have a point about it being needful for women as well, assuming we are indeed the equals people keep saying we are. As women do not have the equal status of authority in the Church that only comes with priesthood keys given in ordination you really can’t be right in saying women are equal, all you can say is that you don’t feel unequal.

    Though why people are opposed to ordination, I just don’t get.
    If women were ordained it effectively would be doubling the number of people who would then be engaged in God’s work for the salvation of mankind. Imagine if the active membership of your ward instantaneously doubled over night. Or if the number of missionaries serving doubled. Or if the entire Church membership doubled. Think of how much more we could get done as the Lord’s disciples. Think of how much more good we could do TOGETHER. And yet for some reason, a person has been excommunicated for the thought of doubling the number of righteous Priesthood holders we would have on the Earth. And taking that thought and forming a group to ask their Prophet to ask for such a blessing, not just for their own salvation, but the salvation of all mankind. If you don’t the blessing that would be you haven’t thought about what Ordination would accomplish in addition to gender equality.

    As I said in my article “We can talk about the timeline and who said what when at this point, but that is really tangential to the issue of what she was actually doing and the legitimacy of her Church disciplinary court in the first place.” Her bishop disagreeing with her is not grounds for excommunication. Period. Of similar concern is why we stand for the double speak from the Church Leadership. Kate Kelly and others involved in Ordain Women have been told they need to talk about such questions during their meetings, that asking such questions is fine, yet are also told it is apostasy because it draws attention to the gender inequality. They have been told that what they believe and stand for is not grounds for excommunication after all, just the way they go about doing, they same exact way the Church does its own teaching. Are we not all equal? Clearly we are not.

    • Again, there are so many erroneous assertions here it is hard to know where to start. First, priesthood ordination is not necessary salvation. Read D&C 76 — heck, baptism is not even essential for salvation! All are saved in a kingdom of glory. Baptism is only necessary for the celestial glory; not the terrestrial and telestial glories of salvation. Priesthood power is essential for exaltation; but being ordained to a position in the priesthood is not. Women can be just as saved and just as exalted as men even if never given ordained to a calling in the priesthood.

      The thing about priesthood is that no one calls him or herself to it; God determines who will be separated out from among the community to serve in priesthood callings. It was that way with the Levites. The problem with OW is that it is demanding that women be called and ordained, even claiming individual revelations to that effect among many of its members.

      You just do not seem to get what went down with KK. She demanded ordination and it did not matter what the FP or anyone else said about it. The FP has now given a statement — yet OW assumes that no one prays in the FP before issuing such statements and therefore no one has asked God what he wills. Bad assumption on my view. However, OW does not really care what God or the FP thinks. What drives their position is the assumption that God must treat all equally with respect to the priesthood ordination. Yet God owes no such duties. He does not have to give us all equally fair lives, equally fair opportunities and all the same jobs. That is just a really bad view of what God is up to and what he owes to us in my view.

      I would like to see just one instance where anyone was ever told that he or she could not talk about women in the priesthood because it calls attention to gender inequality in the Church. You are just making assertions that are not factually based.

      • Wow! I didn’t expect the other side to be the ones saying women were not capable of achieving the same glory as men, but there it is folks, what is essential for exaltation women can not have.

        You assumptions about what God does or doesn’t do/want/reveal/call/determine etc is still according the Church, which from the very beginning was my assertion, that we/the Church don’t know all there is to know. Remember “the understanding of his prophets did and does [change], therefore so do the implementations and interpretations of that unchanging doctrine.” Stop pretending otherwise.

        Personally, I don’t see the point in trying argue the semantics of Heaven in regard to general salvation of all mankind via resurrection, shouldn’t the highest be the only one that matters for the righteous? Or is that just for the men?

        And really pick your side already, was/is Kate Kelly in apostasy by talking about what she did against council or not? If so then the gender inequality speaks for itself, and if not then why is it a problem?

    • LoriAnn: What on earth are you talking about? First, you are the one who claimed that women were excluded from salvation because it is necessary to salvation. You stated: “Nevermind that ordination in itself is a requirement of salvation for males, they may have a point about it being needful for women as well.”

      I claimed just the opposite – that priesthood ordination is not necessary to either salvation or exaltation. And now you want to claim that somehow I somehow claimed women cannot be saved? It seems that you are really confused. One thing I know, you are really confusing to me.

      • Salvation (as in the plan of) in this sense is exaltation. Differing the two seems a bit pointless in terms of the ultimate goal, which is more than just the resurrection you speak of.

        I have never heard any one say that Priesthood is unnecessary for exaltation before so I don’t know I understand your implication that is so, and seeing as so many ordinances and covenants are precedent upon it I am inclined to think it is required.

  18. A few thoughts on the above comments/debates:

    1. Ordinances are necessary for salvation and exaltation. Being ordained to an office in the priesthood isn’t. If ordination to a priesthood office were necessary for ultimate spiritual progression, it seems to me that we would see a trend of ordained men being by and large more spiritual than women. I personally haven’t observed this phenomenon.

    2.The temple: Mormons are practical. You probably aren’t going to win them over with philosophical debates. If the issue with temple language is philosophical, then it’s difficult for them to see an actual issue. None of my siblings–brothers or sister–is in a marriage that is anything but unified and equal. And it’s not that their marriages are equal because my brothers and my brother-in-law give “permission” for equality. They are truly equal in a very real sense: equal responsibility, equal respect, equal power.

    3. Kate Kelly hasn’t just asked. She has said “nothing less [than ordination] will suffice.” She’s said that she finds herself in an institution with problems and that she shouldn’t leave–it should change. She wrote “#comestaredownthepatriarchy” on her FB timeline to advertise the second priesthood session action. She has since said that if people choose to remain active in the Church, they should “raise hell.” This isn’t asking.

    4. OW hasn’t just asked. You could argue that “asking” was the first priesthood session action. You can’t argue that the second action and the 6 discussions afterward were asking. They were campaigning. OW doesn’t bear testimony of much, aside from inequality, but they do constantly reiterate their belief in continuing revelation. They accuse others of not being open. And yet, they’ve been willfully deaf to any council they’ve received from apostles and prophets on this matter. Who isn’t being open? Is this about receiving “continuing” revelation, or is this about receiving specific revelation? Do they believe in revelation, or do you only believe in revelation that you want?

    5. At least one official OW leader has gone on record saying she “doesn’t know” if President Monson is a prophet who speaks for God. Another OW supporter, who Kate Kelly considers a “dear friend” and “mentor” hasn’t been active for years and after Prop 8 created a website to “out” Mormons who had contributed to that campaign. The OW website publicly dismisses the Family Proclamation–a proclamation signed by prophets and apostles (one of whom OW quotes to justify “agitation” for female ordination). If you wonder why a lot of active Mormons are distrustful of OW, you might start there.

    6. The Brethren have been praying about this topic. In the very first talk of General Conference last October, Elder Hales said this:

    “These conferences are always under the direction of the Lord, guided by His Spirit. We are not assigned specific topics. Over weeks and months, often through sleepless nights, we wait upon the Lord. Through fasting, praying, studying, and pondering, we learn the message that He wants us to give.”

    7. Assuming that President Monson hasn’t specifically prayed about female ordination: Why is it OW’s prerogative to council him on what to pray or what to not pray about? If a prophet is a prophet, he’s not just a prophet about what revelation he receives; he’s also a prophet about how he tries to fulfill his calling as a prophet. I suspect that President Monson gives earnest thought and prayer to anything he makes a public declaration about. But if not specifically, you can be sure he prays about how to fulfill his calling as a prophet. OW has asked–they don’t have the responsibility of bending a prophet’s arm until they hear what they want to hear.

    • 1. Priesthood ordination actually is required for men in the temple (and I think you could extrapolate there for their exaltation). It’s done for proxy at the time of initiatories.

      2. It’s great that the lived experiences of members is equality! That doesn’t mean the temple language itself is balanced, though. Because it’s not balanced, it leaves room for unrighteous dominion in men who are not as wonderful as your relatives.

      3. You actually can’t find that Kate Kelly quote anywhere. The Deseret News “quoted” that but gave no source.

      4. The six discussions is simply a collection of scriptures and quotes from GAs and similar sources about priesthood and women. Putting it together into little discussions is nothing more than what other websites do when they make up FHE or Sunday School lesson helps. Also, the 6 discussions were not made public until after the disciplinary stuff happened, so the disciplinary stuff could not be a reaction to them.

      5. The Family Proclamation itself has been recognized as not doctrine by the Church. When Elder Packer referred to it as “doctrine” in a General Conference talk a couple of years ago, the written Ensign version replaces the word “doctrine” with “a guide.”

      6. I’m sure each speaker prayers for guidance but that doesn’t mean they’ve collectively prayed on this. And if they have (wonderful!) what would they lose in being direct and saying, “We’ve prayed about this and we got this answer/didn’t get an answer and are waiting patiently.”

      7. We have the Doctrine and Covenants because people asked Joseph Smith for revelation. That’s the order of receiving new scripture and revelation: people ask the prophet and the prophet asks God. They are just following the historical means laid out.

    • on part 3- Follow the logic of the supposed “nothing less [than ordination] will suffice.” quote/misquote for just a moment, ordination is the only way to fulfill the functions and purpose of the Priesthood. It is what is necessary to achieve equality. It is in itself logical, for without it the spiritual footings, power, authority, participation, leadership, etc are dependent upon ordination.

      So you have to either admit that equality the Church speaks of does not exist in mortality or that something can be done about it.

  19. 8. Also, FWIW, I’m a single Mormon woman, and I find great comfort in the “unity” interpretation of the temple ceremony. I think it challenges the radical individualism of modern American culture. I think it’s beautiful. This isn’t to say I don’t have some questions, of course. I just personally think that the temple–and the gospel in general–have some pretty robust answers to many of our modern concerns.

    • Benevolent eternal subordination of women unto men as the robust answer is not something I look forward to.

  20. This reminds me of a conversation with breastfeeding fans. When I mentioned that I had not enjoyed nursing my fourth child and was relieved to wean her, they jumped all over me and informed me that I clearly had not given it a fair attempt, how long had I tried? I told them that I had nursed her for a year, and they were like, “oh….” Because yeah, after a year it was pretty clear that the baby just had a poor suck.

    I have spent a few hours at the OW website etc. While I don’t think the church is perfect regarding women, I do not feel comfortable with what I have seen at OW. I was put off by some of the overly negative portrayals in the first discussion, particularly the bingo. But I tried to keep an open mind and reminded myself that I liked the Onion and maybe humor was a tool. I decided to listen to the first discussion google hangout thing, hoping they would be more clear about what they were really teaching. And it began with the bingo, so that’s when I did hang up.

    So I’m sorry, but I have tried to pay attention to what they are saying. How many more hours do I need to invest before satisfying your demand and escape your condemnation of “willful ignorance”?

  21. I know it may be driving a bit off topic, but who said Priesthood is necessary for salvation? It’s necessary of those it is required to have, but it’s not just women who aren’t required to have Priesthood (at this time) to attain Celestial glory. Heck, baptism isn’t even a requirement.

    From the start, it was a given that those who died before they were accountable attained Celestial glory. We don’t even baptize for the dead who died younger than 8, much less give them the Priesthood. The sealing is the only part that is technically needed.the Priesthood. It wasn’t always a requirement in the past, and we certainly can’t say it will be a

    So yes, right now God has required that all men become worthy and accept having conferred on them requirement in the future. It’ll be nice when the same (or something similar) is given for women. But we can’t actually make the logical connection that it’s a requirement.

  22. Ugh, editors.

    So yes, right now God has required that all men become worthy and accept having conferred on them the Priesthood. It wasn’t always a requirement in the past, and we certainly can’t say it will be a requirement in the future.

  23. This has been a robust and passionate discussion. We appreciate everybody who has participated on both sides of the issue. I think we have seen that we all have need to be careful in the way we communicate with each other if we hope to have productive conversations. I am going to close comments now as I think we have exhausted productivity here and none of the permas have the time to moderate this thread as needed. Thank you all for engaging.

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