Guest Post: We Fixed the Problem!

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By Angie P.

I recently returned from attending a joint funeral for my grandparents, who were married for sixty years and passed away within two weeks of each other.  One of my favorite stories from my grandmother’s life sketch was a journal entry read from their time serving a mission to the Philippines in 1988-1989.  My grandparents’ role was to help build and support the church organization, as opposed to proselytizing.  One week, they attended a particular branch.  When the time came for the sacrament to be blessed and passed, several brothers and sisters stood up and helped performed the ordinance and helped pass the bread and water.  So my grandparents informed the branch leadership that only those with the priesthood should bless and pass the sacrament.  Their next visit to that branch, they once again noticed that several sisters assisted with the sacrament blessing and distribution.  So they approached the branch leadership again.  “Oh we fixed the problem,” my grandparents were told. “We gave the sisters the priesthood.”

Most of the family and friends in attendance chuckled from the story.  How absurd, I imagine they probably thought, that women were allowed to recite the sacrament prayer and help distribute the trays of bread and water from the sacrament table to the pews (instead of just passing them down the pews)!  How absurd that the Filipino leadership thought the solution was to ordain women to the priesthood instead of properly forbidding them from assisting with the sacrament! Don’t they know the proper way?

I, on the other hand, thought it was a simple and beautiful solution.

But a solution that I feel is more and more like a dream fading away.  I have read President Hinckley quoted on blogs and comments as saying that a revelation permitting women to be ordained may happen, but “there’s no agitation for that.” So I read the full transcript of the interview President Hinckley did with David Ransom which aired in 1997.  The portion of the interview regarding women and the priesthood is as follows [1]:

David Ransom: At present women are not allowed to be priests in your Church. Why is that?

Gordon B. Hinckley: That’s right, because the Lord has put it that way. Now women have a very prominent place in this Church. They have their own organization [sic]. Probably the largest women’s organisation in the world of 3.7 million members. And the women of that organization sit on boards. Our Board of Education, things of that kind. They counsel with us. We counsel together. They bring in insight that we very much appreciate and they have this tremendous organization of the world where they grow and if you ask them they’ll say we’re happy and we’re satisfied.

DR: They all say that?

GBH: Yes. All except a oh you’ll find a little handful one or two here and there, but in 10 million members you expect that.

DR: You say the Lord has put it that way. What do you mean by that?

GBH: I mean that’s a part of His program. Of course it is, yes.

DR: Is it possible that the rules could change in the future as the rules are on Blacks?

GBH: He could change them yes. If He were to change them that’s the only way it would happen.

DR: So you’d have to get a revelation?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Yes. But there’s no agitation for that. We don’t find it. Our women are happy. They’re satisfied. These bright, able, wonderful women who administer their own organization are very happy. Ask them. Ask my wife.

 

“If you ask them they’ll say we’re happy and we’re satisfied.”  Except not all.  Not me.  But my dissatisfaction has been slowly turning into apathy.  Although I did not join Ordain Women, I felt hope at the time that changes would happen and that the Lord and the church hierarchy would finally hear the agitation necessary for a revelation and a policy/doctrine change like in 1978.  That they would hear the heartache and frustration of so many of God’s daughters.  So many blog posts and debates about the role of women in the church and the priesthood.  So much drama.

And yet, several years later, a few token administrative changes, a few very public excommunications and many voluntary membership resignations or members simply becoming “inactive,” and it is business as usual.

This issue no longer causes me to rise up.  I have placed “Women and the Priesthood” on my proverbial shelf alongside “Polygamy,” “LGBTQ Rights,” etc.  And I feel myself sliding further away from the church and “full activity.”

When I first heard the story from my grandparents’ mission of such a simple and beautiful solution that seemed obvious to the Filipino members, my initial response was to inwardly cheer and shout “Yes!” Sadly, upon further reflection, my reaction has become: “Cool, story, Bro.”

[1] http://www.lds-mormon.com/hinckley.shtml

I was born and raised on a farm in Idaho, married a California city boy and followed him home. I have two children, love baking, and live and work in the East Bay as a paralegal. My ten year goals are to learn to play the cello, travel to Thailand, and get my children to sleep through the night.

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38 Responses

  1. Caroline says:

    Angie, thanks for this wonderful post. I find your grandmother’s journal entry both wonderful and sad. Wonderful that these Saints in the Philippines saw a problem and discovered a common-sense way to fix it, one that honored every single member of the church as a disciple of Christ, capable and willing to serve in a variety of ways. And sad that their vision of how to fix the problem could not withstand the institutional church’s long grasp and taboo against women performing/helping with ordinances outside the temple and their current policy to not ordain women.

    I’ve heard of branches in other countries that are almost dead/non-functional because they only have one or two priesthood holders (but a good number of women). How much more sense would it make to, at the minimum, let the women take over so many of the roles traditionally performed by men? And of course, just ordaining women would also fix so many problems. It’s exhausting and depressing to think of all the ways our church pushes women away from priestly work and ward-level, stake-level, and general-level administrative work.

    • Angie P says:

      Thank you! I agree, even without ordination, there are so many more roles and positions that women could assist with in the church that they are currently barred from. We would do well to learn from our sisters and brothers across the world.

  2. Libby says:

    Occam and his razor.

  3. Ziff says:

    Wow, what a telling story. The people in the branch didn’t realize that they were being told to solve the problem, but only within the confines of the female priesthood ban. Rather, they figured quite reasonably that the female priesthood ban was just incidental. It’s so very sad that Church leadership’s message is that no, they’re *very* committed to the female priesthood ban, even if it’s at the expense of losing members or church growth or the functioning of some units as Caroline points out so well.

    • Angie P says:

      Thank you, Ziff. I don’t understand the leadership’s fear of allowing women to have an expanded role in the church. Does it boil down to a fear of loosing power? Most men I have asked wouldn’t mind more assistance/less pressure at church and aren’t theoretically opposed to it (even if they don’t theologically support the ordination of women).

  4. Violadiva says:

    I’ve heard this story before! I thought it was urban legend!
    It gave me sad pangs when I heard it before, too. Such an elegant, overlooked solution …..

    • Angie P says:

      The story does sound like an urban legend! But it really happened to my grandparents! I remember hearing the story a few times from them while I was growing up, but to hear it again now at their funeral it hit me hard. Very bittersweet.
      I’m hoping to get copies of my grandparents’ journals to preserve. I will be excited to show this particular passage to my son and daughter when they are older. Maybe it won’t be so ludicrous of an idea by then.

  5. wreddyornot says:

    Thanks for posting this. It hits a lot of notes with my music. In January of 2013, before OW started up that year on St. Patrick’s Day, I began writing a new novel (with retirement, I had started writing some fiction to occupy time and I had already self-published a few books). It starts like this:

    “I plan on ordaining her,” I said into the phone, “that’s what she’s asked me to do. On her twelfth birthday, just like Grandma Noble did your mother in 1945.” I didn’t believe it would escape my son, John, whom I’d never imagined serving as a Mormon Apostle, that I was alluding to a well-known photograph of his mother and grandmother.

    “Oh, Dad,” he said. “Please reconsider. She’s a girl and you don’t have the keys to ordain her to anything. It’ll be a spoof, like Mom with Grandma. Irreverent.”

    I hated feeling as if I had to answer to my son 2,200 miles away in Salt Lake City. We’d raised him here in Queens, but he’d left and didn’t visit much. I was eighty-two; John, fifty-seven. I’d changed his wet and poopy diapers and watched him suckle at my Michelle’s breast. She’d loved him so much, her first child. But, gracious, multitudes of members of our religion now considered him, that boy who’d defecated and urinated for us to clean up after, an Apostle. He’d one been for a couple of years now. Some day he might even become the Prophet.

    • Angie P says:

      Thank you for sharing. What an interesting opener!

      I remember reading once that someone planned a celebration for her daughter when she turned 12 to parallel the coming-of-age celebration that we have for the 12 year old boys. I love the idea and plan to hang on to it for my daughter.

  6. ForeverSeeking says:

    When I was growing up, my homeward called a women to be Sunday School president. The bishop said that he had a profound feeling that she was needed in this position. Everything went well (she was an amazing SS president and person) until a visiting authority told him about ban on women in Sunday School presidencys.

    Also, when I was living in West Africa there were 3 sister missionaries from outside the region. Women from non African countries are prohibited from serving there. No one knew how they slipped by.

    When the Lord wants something done, He will get it done despite temporal policies and procedures.

    Do you know if the Filipino ward leaders were inspired or came up with the solution on their own?

    • Angie P says:

      I love that your homeward bishop followed his inspiration and called a sister to be the SS president. It gives me hope to hear this story, too, and to think that the Lord is trying to communicate, but we need to be humble and listen (and brave to follow the promptings).

      I do not know how the Filipino ward leaders came up with the solution to ordain the women. I wish with all my heart that I could call my grandma up just one more time and ask her more questions. But I am hoping to get copies of her journal, so maybe there will be more information in them.

  7. Dani Addante says:

    Wonderful article! I know of a couple who served as senior missionaries in Africa who experienced something similar. They said that when they went to church they found women preparing the sacrament. They told the church leaders that women shouldn’t do that. Then, when they went to church again the following week, once again the women were preparing the sacrament!

  8. Carmen says:

    Personally I am stunned by this article. I don’t understand why women can’t have the priesthood myself, but I know it’s the way it should be. After attending the temple religiously 1 time a week even through nursing 2 kids for several years, I can say I know this is how it should be. I grew up in a home where my mom did not respect my dad (priesthood holder) and would talk bad about him to us. He wasn’t violent or overly mean. I grew up not respecting priesthood holders. One session at the temple I was sitting waiting for the new people to do their work. A woman stood up, another woman, a young man going to go on a mission. Then another man stood up. I still remember his dark hair. He was in his mid twenties. All of a sudden I heard a chorus of angels shout with joy. I guessed he must be a father and that is why they did it. I asked him later if he was a father and he said yes. It has been a testimony builder for me. It wasn’t his wife ( she was one of the women). It wasn’t the other woman. It wasn’t the pre-missionary. It was the man, the father, and priesthood holder. I don’t feel ashamed of my status as a woman. My husband treats me like a jewel. My husband has great gifts and so do I. Mighty miracles happen for men and women. It seems the more I come into accordance with “Thy will be done” the more powerful I become. “I will do” brings more of Him into my life.

    • Angie P says:

      Carmen, thank you for your input. I appreciate that we can have an honest dialogue that reflects many different viewpoints. Thank you for sharing a beautiful experience you had in the temple.

  9. Liz says:

    This is beautiful, Angie, and makes me feel both delighted and despondent. I echo so many of the comments above (it feels like Caroline took the words right out of my mouth).

    You know, I think the most hurtful thing to come out of the whole Ordain Women movement (for me) is the message that women who seek ordination or fuller participation are expendable. I even am willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that’s not the message they intend to send, but it’s the message I hear. “You want to be more fully engaged in the work of this church? You want priesthood leadership to earnestly seek revelation that might go against the brethren’s blind spots and biases? You want a more expansive vision of this gospel? You’re expendable. We don’t need you. Shut up about it or go somewhere else.”

    I hope you’ll write more for us, Angie. You have a gift with words.

    • Angie P says:

      Thank you, Liz. Whether it was/is intended or not, hearing friends and family tell you that if you aren’t happy or orthodox in the church, then there is no place for you, is deeply hurtful. It gets to the point that one stops fighting so hard to be in a church that doesn’t want you.

  10. Cynthia says:

    I jut loved this! I hope you find even more answers in your grandparents’ journals.

    “Agitation”. Goodness, there is so much prophecy in that interview. We need more agitators!

    • Andrew R. says:

      You do, but I doubt you will get the level you need. Not personally knowing a single woman who wants the priesthood, let alone willing to agitate for it.
      Sure, there are women, and men, who would like to see it happen. There are some who believe it has to, and there are those that believe it is inevitable. However, agitation to the point of seeking a revelation – per this interview – I do not believe likely.

      • Jess R says:

        Andrew, I realize this question may come off as sarcastic or rude, but I am honestly curious. What do you think is the solution then? It’s clearly a problem…I know easily a dozen women who have left the church over the issue of women and the priesthood. I have heard many stories like those on this comment thread ,where there just aren’t enough priesthood holders in areas where the church is new to run things. We are loosing good people. So if church leaders aren’t willing to seek revelation, and/or change things, what do we do?

      • Andrew R. says:

        Of course it doesn’t come off as either sarcastic or rude. There is certainly a problem with people leaving the church – we have that very problem in our stake. Last evening at Stake Council it was touched upon and the council (rather than PEC or Stake presidency because we want sisters’ involvement) will be using General Conference, our stake temple week which follows GC, and the Fast Sunday on 9th April to individually consider how we help those loosing their faith – and we will discuss it at the next Stake Council in April.

        However, I am not aware of, nor is the stake RSP, anyone leaving in our stake because of female ordination, male abuse of priesthood authority or anything similar.

        The only similar instance I am aware of in the British Isles is in the Channel Islands. St Helier Jersey Ward has been an established unit for over 50 years. However, Guernsey has never had the level of members. For many years there were about 4 faithful sisters on the island and various men from Jersey ward were called to be the Branch President. They flew over usually every two weeks. Administered the sacrament, took tithing and gave blessings, interviews, etc. as required. The sisters never said, “Why not ordain us?”.

        Now they have some priesthood of their own, and even a missionary who served from there. The daughter of one of those faithful sister wrote the British Pageant and has been involved with the Nauvoo Pageant for years.

        That mistakes happen, and for good reason, is evidence of a growing church.

        My issue with Female Ordination isn’t that women would have power over men (I have a wife and six daughters – I am used to a level of that). No, my issue is that I do not believe it has doctrinal validity. I understand that others, especially here, do not agree with that assessment, but it is my belief. Whilst I do not refute what President Hinckley said, I do not believe such a revelation will ever come because Sister do not require the priesthood as an ordinance of Salvation. That, in and of itself, is a barrier to equality in the priesthood.

        I sister can go to the temple, receive her endowment and be sealed without the requirement of receiving the Melchizedek priesthood and being ordained to an office in that priesthood (usually Elder). Men must be so ordained. The blessings, powers, etc. of the Endowment and Sealing come to women without the need for being ordained. Think about that. God designed it that way. All the blessing of the priesthood, and the power of endless lives.

        Why? Because the blessings of these powers come only to sealed couples who are Exalted and become co-creators with God and each other.

        If women were to be ordained there are only really three possible scenarios, and each is problematic from a doctrinal standpoint.

        1. Women are only given the Aaronic priesthood and serve in these capacities.
        Problems – it’s never going to be enough to give sisters only this priesthood.
        – The Aaronic priesthood is a preparatory priesthood – what would sisters be preparing for?
        2. Only women who choose to receive the priesthood would get it.
        Problems – this would be completely unequal. It would put some sisters at a greater, albeit chosen, chance of receiving certain callings.
        – again, unequal, if men want to be endowed and sealed they have to receive the priesthood.
        3. Make receipt of priesthood and ordination a salvic ordinance for women.
        Problems – suddenly my wife, who has never wanted the priesthood or any of the callings that come with it, would be required to receive the priesthood. Likewise my daughters.
        – if this was being done because women should always have had the priesthood (like the ban on black men) then there would also be a massive amount of vicarious ordinations to take care of for all the endowed dead. Which frankly would just look like a complete mess, and a rubbish, wasted, 187 years of church restoration.

        So I believe, and for what I consider sound reasons, that sisters are not ordained because that is not part of the Plan. This doesn’t make sisters less important. It shouldn’t make their voice any less heard. That that happens I find abhorrent, and I believe that any priesthood leader (or husband) who has used his priesthood authority in such a way is going to have a lot of repenting to do.

        From my own life.
        Many years ago in a planning meeting in my ward I was a Teachers Quorum president. There was a Laurel, someone I had been friends with for 3 to 4 years. She was leading the planning. I can not remember what it was about, and I can not remember why. But at some point what I do remember is saying to her, “I have more priesthood power in my little finger than you have in your entire body”. I felt bad at the time, and the fact that I can remember it so clearly should indicate that I still feel bad about it. It was wrong! Simple as that. I have never even gotten close to saying, or even thinking, anything like that since.

        It was, of course, the rash ranting of a 14/15 year old boy who thought rather more of his way of doing things that others, and used the priesthood as an excuse for him being right. And it made me even more wrong. There were only youth in that meeting, I don’t know where the leaders were.

      • wreddyornot says:

        Andrew R.

        Your lengthy comment seems often offensive to me, a man, and flawed.

        Your or your stake RSP’s immediate lack of experience of women leaving if they don’t get the priesthood or because of male abuse doesn’t mean much, does it? Women leaving might not tell them. Your stake, the Channel Islands and Guernsey anecdotes might all be interesting and informative, but they don’t seem that relevant to the whole church or to me and my situation and the situations of those around me or alluded to in this posting and the comments. Until OW started up in 2013, not too many women ever asked the patriarchy to ask God about ordination for themselves. “Now they have some priesthood of their own . . .” is untrue. There is no “possession” involved, not by the women, not in the sense that there is for the men.

        You “do not believe [ordination] has validity” because sisters can receive endowments, etc., without having priesthood. Are you not aware of the exclusionary language and subordinated place the language and practices of the temple put women?

        When you posit women’s ordination and then say “. . . there are only really three possible scenarios . . .” you are wrong. That kind of language shuts down the discussion. It’s like your ” . . . in my little finger . . . ” action. Possible scenarios for adaptation are limited only by inspiration, imagination, and revelation. They are infinite. Nothing is too hard for God.

        I have not left but I have sought to have a dialogue and the ploys I’ve attempted to use include withdrawing from certain activities (e.g., from the temple) and writing (as mentioned above.)

        I am so glad that there can be dialogue and admire the women here for facilitating it and tolerating the varying points of view. The patriarchy doesn’t facilitate the same at all well.

      • Andrew R. says:

        The point of my anecdotes is that they are different to the ones posted here – which are just an anecdotal.

        There is NO ground swell for female ordination. If you can point to it, in the same way as it was for the blacks and the priesthood, please do. Whenever I go to the Ordain Women website I see the same faces – not a whole host of new ones.

        I find your use of the word “patriarchy” to signify what can only mean the Prophets, Seers and Revelators offensive.

        And what I really find hard to swallow is that you offer not one reasonable argument against my scenarios, nor to you offer any others.

        I agree, nothing is impossible with God. So, why doesn’t he manifest Himself and tell the Brethren, that they need to ordain women? My answer is simple – it isn’t part of the Plan. Why it is part of the Plan I do not know. I do not believe it is because God is sexist.

        “Your or your stake RSP’s immediate lack of experience of women leaving if they don’t get the priesthood or because of male abuse doesn’t mean much, does it?”

        It does to me. Why? Because I am aware of many, if not all, that have decided to walk away from the church, and I know virtually everyone of their reasons. None has stated this as a reason. Now, it may well be part of it. But mostly it is a lack of belief in God or the restoration – not a desire to be ordained and do more in the Kingdom.

        “Are you not aware of the exclusionary language and subordinated place the language and practices of the temple put women?”

        I am, of course, aware of how some people feel. I personally do not see it in that way, nor does my wife or my endowed daughters. I can’t speak for too many others.

        I do not feel superior to women, and I have always been happy to serve under their stewardship. I served in Primary as Pianist for many years whilst at the same time serving on the High Council. Me, a High Priest and High Councillor, being led in my calling by a woman. Quite apart from my priesthood my musical abilities out stripped the entire presidency. However, they led and I followed.

        The only real advantage to women holding the priesthood would be that they could take over and we, the men, wouldn’t have to do anything – which may well be why God has made it the way it is.

        All I have done is state my beliefs, which is what everyone here does. I read their comments. I do not take offence. I am not sure why you have chosen to do so at mine.

      • wreddyornot says:

        You seem to use your anecdotes, Andrew R., to discount the validity of the ones that this post turns upon. Also, given the current patriarchy, remember that you and I come from places of privilege.

        I’ve lived long enough to know that there was no ground swell for blacks getting the priesthood in my earlier years. However, I knew that the practice was wrong and regretted that there could be no discussion about it up and down the patriarchy . Several people paid for vocalizations against the exclusion with memberships, etc. Why didn’t God manifest it all the while? That’s not the way it works. Ask and then receive. Eventually, a ground swell caused men in charge of the church to listen, inquire and reveal.

        You make flippant statements, like your next to last paragraph, which also attributes the state of things to God making it so (which sounds so Elder Oaks-y). However, there has been no disclosed inquiries nor revelations.

        You say you do not take offense (last paragraph), but re-read your third paragraph.

        I’d be interested in your and your spouse’s and daughters’ ways for seeing the temple language as other than exclusionary or subordinating. Have you a reference or a posting somewhere I could go to? I do not want to detract from this posting any longer. I wish you and all well. Do what is right; the consequences will follow.

        Your tack, along with a bulk of the men active in the church that I have encountered up and down the patriarchy, seems to be to destroy any semblance of a groundswell and to deny any swell gaining a purchase. Ask and you shall receive.

      • Jess R says:

        Ok, Andrew R. I get that you aren’t down for women being ordained and that’s fine. But that’s what we SHOULDN’T do. Where does that leave us? What DO we do to help people, men and women, who do struggle with this issue (and they are out there, regardless of whether you have personal experience with them or not) and continue to grow the church?

      • ElleK says:

        Andrew R.,
        “The daughter of one of those faithful sister wrote the British Pageant and has been involved with the Nauvoo Pageant for years.”
        Sis. Mackenzie was my MTC teacher! She is luminous.

        While I understand your perspective on women receiving priesthood, you still fail to address the underlying problem outlined in this post, which is that underutilizing women isn’t just tragic, it’s impractical, and often ridiculously so. Perhaps you’re right and priesthood isn’t salvic for women so we’ll never be ordained, but there are so many church practices/callings/offices that are currently performed exclusively by men that don’t (or shouldn’t) require priesthood (for example, SS Pres, WML, clerks, auditors, recommend checker/witness/registrar/prayer giver at the temple, missionary authority positions… women gave blessings for 100 years… even passing the sacrament isn’t technically a priesthood responsibility). If your response is that priesthood actually IS necessary for those callings for some reason, then how about expanding the autonomy and authority of women in the positions they currently occupy or elevating women’s voices by including more of them on established councils? For example, let female auxiliary presidencies to preside over and make their own decisions regarding their organizations without being required to run everything through a higher priesthood authority (example: Sis. Dalton just gave a talk wherein she mentioned adding the YW value “virtue” and having it “unanimously approved” by the first presidency. But shouldn’t she and her presidency have the ability to change the wording of their theme without oversight?).

        While ordaining women would provide a way to solve many of these issues, there are other practical ways to empower and utilize women, and yet they don’t happen. I hope that you can at least see how this makes many of us feel like the Brethren either aren’t aware (unlikely) or just don’t care about opportunities for women in the church.

      • Andrew R. says:

        wreddyornot – I too have lived a while. I went to Primary with those denied the priesthood, always knowing they would do so. And unless you have lived long enough to be an adult when David O McKay was president then you should know that he asked the Lord about removing the ban.

      • wreddyornot says:

        I was in my 22nd year when President McKay died. He may have prayed for the relief of the exclusion as is suggested and asserted, but regular members in Utah didn’t know that until a lot, lot later. Why was the praying kept so secret and his feelings relative to his praying for such not disclosed? Others got different answers, including several ex’d and others who kept silent all the while knowing it was wrong. It was an embarrassing time for many many members of the church given the civil rights movement and the church hedging and hedging on its support, giving up its prejudices way too slowly.

      • Andrew R. says:

        Jess, what you can do is up to me. For me I would try to help all understand that their place in God’s plan is just that – theirs. There is much that we can all do, and must do, and worrying about things we can not change rather than doing things we can seems like a waste of valuable energy. But we all have to do what we believe is right.

      • Andrew R. says:

        ElleK – you were blessed to have Alex. I have known her since she was born. She is a wonderful person, woman, mother and much more. The British Pageant is running again this year, so she and her husband are very busy. I saw her a few times last year – including a day at the beach with her and her children.

        If you look at some of my posts on this site you will see that I happy agree that many callings held by men could be held by women because they are really independent of the priesthood held by the man – Sunday School president for instance, and the rest you mention. I personally know that I would have been a much better YW president than YM president ( I have 6 daughters and 1 son, and I don’t like football aka soccer ).

        I think that Key Holder priesthood oversight is required (as is executive oversight in business). Also, Sunday School presidents and Young Men presidents have to have their decisions passed by those presiding over them also. And although an elders quorum president can call and set apart their secretary, and a Relief Society president can’t, the EQP still has to have the Bishop ascertain, or attest to, the worthiness of the individual and his availability.

    • Angie P says:

      Thank you Cynthia! Me too.

  11. Emily U says:

    Angie, my feelings about the future of women’s ordination are very similar to yours. I felt so hopeful a few years ago that Ordain Women would open some honest and respectful dialogue between women like me and the Church, but it didn’t. It showed, like Ziff said above, how very committed the Church is to gender restrictions. Patriarchy reigns supreme, and no sacrifice to maintain it is too great.

    I teach Gospel Doctrine in my ward and I couldn’t bring myself to teach the lesson on restoration of the priesthood; I found a substitute. I used to feel like dialogue would be useful, now I feel like shrugging and walking away.

    Before Ordain Women (which I was a part of) I thought the Church was a very long way from ordaining women, and after Ordain Women I think the same thing. There’s a difference, however. Now I think a lot less of the Church leadership. Now it’s clear that the women who feel that the restoration of priesthood is incomplete until it includes women are, as Liz said above, dispensable.

  12. Heidi says:

    I hope the women in the Philippines weren’t punished (as we were in Ordain Women- my story is here: http://songsofaletheia.blogspot.com/2014/06/why-i-am-leaving-mormon-church-despite.html) when a General Authority went there and found out

    • Andrew R. says:

      I am sure the women were not punished, neither would the men who ordained them be. We do not punish those who unwittingly make mistakes.

      • Moss says:

        UM, do I have to remind you about Uzzah, who was smited (smoted?) for unwittingly making a mistake?!? Or Ham, who was cursed by his father, Noah the prophet, for seeing Noah passed out naked and covering him up? What about when Jesus cursed the fig tree that had done nothing wrong?!? 😉

      • Andrew R. says:

        You do not need to remind me about Uzzah. Uzzah would have been well aware that the penalty for touching the Ark was death. I am not saying his doing so was not well intentioned, but it was not allowed and he would have known.

        Ham – how do you know that he did so innocently?

  13. Angie P says:

    Andrew R. I have been thinking a lot about your comments, and appreciate the discussion, even though we disagree on some points. I strongly identify as a feminist, as I believe that term simply means that one views men and women as equals. However, my husband does not, as he feels that the “feminists” he sees and reads about are more concerned with putting men down than equality. So while he doesn’t subscribe to the term “feminist” he generally believes in equality between the sexes (albeit some remnants of patriarchal ideology sometimes surface and we have good discussions when this happens 🙂 Anyway, I bring this up because my husband dislikes when he sees “feminists” putting men down (for no reason, in his view, other than the man being not a woman). I feel that your view of why women don’t have the priesthood puts men down too.

    Your comments (and perhaps the LDS theology) indicate that men need the priesthood (and not just the ordinances performed with the power of the priesthood) for salvic purposes, while women do not.

    I disagree with this. First, it means that men and women are inherently unequal. Either women are inherently more righteous and good, and men not, thus the need for priesthood (to counter-act their natural manness, I suppose). Or men are inherently more valued, trusted, and responsible in God’s eyes, and thus the only gender entrusted with *His authority. The argument that men would do less in the church if women had the priesthood, thus they aren’t ordained, belittles the pain that is currently felt by many women, and the many women (and men) that have left the church over this matter. I believe that God is no respecter of persons and that ALL are alike unto Him (and Her).

    Second, I believe the purpose of the priesthood is to perform ordinance with the proper authority (God’s authority). If this is true, then it shouldn’t matter which gender the priesthood holder is, but that the holder has the proper priesthood, and that the ordinances are performed appropriately. If this is also true, then your argument that there would be a “massive amount of vicarious ordinations to take care of for all the endowed dead” if women were ordains is not accurate. The key to exaltation is the atonement and the ordinances (e.g. baptism, endowment, marriage), not being ordained to the priesthood. So previously endowed and deceased women would not need to be ordained, as they have all of the salvic ordinances already.

    Additionally, the argument that women don’t need to be ordained because only a husband and wife who are sealed can be exalted is weakened with the ideology of polygamy. Polygamy teaches that a man may have x number of wives, thus the man is the common and most important denominator of the relationships. The wives aren’t equal and don’t have equal access to the priesthood.

    I believe when we start to see and value every person as worthy, loved, and whole as individuals, not dependent on their relationship to a man, that the idea of denying the priesthood to women would seem silly.

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