My censored blog posts are back.

A little over two years ago, in an attempt to stifle my contributions to the Mormon women’s ordination movement, my stake president required me to remove 11 posts from this website, using my temple recommend as leverage.  He refused to renew my temple recommend if I did not comply, thus barring me from an upcoming family wedding. It was the first and only time a priesthood leader has attempted to censor this blog.  Under duress, I agreed not to replace the censored posts as long as his signature remained valid on my temple recommend.

My temple recommend with strings attached recently expired, releasing me from the binds of this devil’s bargain. I am relieved to report to you that this website is now restored to its uncensored state. Let me reintroduce you to the 11 posts that were missing for the last two years.

The Censored Posts I Missed Most

Often, blogging is like sketching, with a thought or an experience shared quickly.  However, other blog posts, such as these three,  are the products of long-term research, analysis and scripture study. I consider these articles to be among my best work. If you only have time to read one censored post, choose one of these.

From "A Wide and Extensive Sphere of Action" to "Guardians of the Hearth" in 129 years. What does the future hold?Ordination Is the Answer to Correlation July 18, 2013

How could the church could enjoy the benefits of correlation with fewer side effects for women? Here is my answer.  I  discuss other aspects of the correlation question in this article: How Mormon Women Were Correlated Out of LDS Church Finances

 

confirming our hope priesthoodConfirming Our Hope: Women and Priesthood November 21, 2013

Of all my censored posts, this is the only one, as far as I know,  that my stake president actually read.  (He hated it.) This post contains text and graphics from my first speech to the Counterpoint Conference of the Mormon Women’s Forum.  It was an honor to be invited to speak to these experienced Mormon feminist activists and scholars, women who have been working for the cause since I was a child.  At one point, they burst into laughter when I quoted a church leader talking about the lack of agitation from Mormon women in the 1990’s; they were there and knew otherwise.

andersen-drapes-sun-priesthood-women-manShouldn’t it be obvious? How Mormon Women Hold and Exercise the Priesthood Today May 18, 2014

I examine what LDS General Authorities have said over the past few decades about whether or not women already have some form of priesthood—often contradicting each other in their perspectives about this largely unsettled question. A few months after this post was censored in 2015,  the church released a highly relevant Gospel Topics essay that covered a lot of the same ground: Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple, and Women.

Censored Bits of Mormon Feminist History

One thing I love about having a decade of (uncensored) archived Exponent posts is that they provide a glimpse into the history of our movement, as it appeared to us at the time that events happened.

pantsIt’s Not About The Pants. December 13, 2012

I explain why I would participate in Wear Pants to Church Day.  (Some of the policy concerns I mentioned at the time have since been resolved! Hooray for speaking out!)

 

 

ordain women launchPriestesshood Session April 7, 2013

I report in the launch event of Ordain Women.

 

 

 

priesthood session marchThe Spirit of Fear September 6, 2013

I share my experience working through my fear as I prepared for the first Ordain Women attempt to attend the male-only priesthood session of General Conference.

 

 

Censored Questions

Some of the censored posts raised the question of women’s ordination quite literally, by simply asking  readers a poll question about women’s ordination.

Deborah-mother-judge-in-israelMother in Israel, Judge in Israel August 17, 2014

I ask readers how they would feel about having female bishops.  Before this post was censored, 67% of respondents said they would like having a female bishop.

 

 

American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites UsTwo Poll Questions About Ordaining Women June 16, 2013

I test a theory about how Mormons react to poll questions about ordination by asking two similar questions. Before this post was censored, 77% of (our atypically feminist-leaning)  respondents said that they wanted Mormon women to be ordained, but even more—88%—said they would be pleased if the prophet of the church announced such a change. Since that time, a group of Mormon researchers has conducted a similar experiment on a much larger scale.

 

Equal in Faith Aug 26 SLC Event FlyerWill you fast for women’s ordination? August 18, 2013

I ask readers to attend an interfaith day of fasting and prayer called Equal in Faith. This may be the most mundane censored post of the lot, just proving that even an entirely unprovocative post can aspire to become censored.  Which brings me to my last category of censored posts…

 

Censored Posts Which Don’t Seem Worth the Bother of Censoring

Here we have a sarcastic response to a magazine article and a low-budget animated cartoon.  Why would someone even bother to censor such unimportant posts as these? Well, my stake president didn’t actually read all of my posts, looking for the most important or wicked or whatever.  He didn’t order me to censor certain, specific posts.  What actually happened is that I was ordered to take down every post I had, with the exception of my Ordain Women profile, which raised the question of women’s ordination.

Uh oh! Someone deleted the prophetic words!Conference Talk Makeover (Thanks A Lot, Ensign) January 16, 2014

I compare a nuanced talk by Elder Neil L. Andersen with with a write-up of the same talk in the Ensign that changes its original meaning.  Snark happens.

 

 

women-nextMormon Women’s Ordination Conversation with Animation April 27, 2013

Having some fun with an online cartoon animator, I animated a conversation a women’s ordination supporter might have with a skeptical friend.

 

April Young Bennett

April Young Bennett is an advocate, mother, professional, lover of the arts, hater (but doer) of housework and seeker of truth. Podcast: Religious Feminism Podcast Twitter: @aprilyoungb

You may also like...

12 Responses

  1. Niki La says:

    I’m glad the articles are back. I would find them because of the “you may also like” suggestion links. Based on the comments, which I could read, yes I would also like to read this article, but I couldn’t. I’m excited to read what I was curious about.

  2. Tobia says:

    Yay, so glad these blog posts are back! Thanks for taking the time to update this.

  3. Ziff says:

    Hooray! I’m so glad your posts are back! I just read back over “Ordination Is the Answer to Correlation,” and it was just as good (and frustrating, and insightful) as I remembered.

    I’m sorry that your stake president held your attendance at your family member’s wedding hostage to get you to censor your discussion of women’s ordination. Still, this strikes me as such a childish, petty tactic. He seems to be afraid that your arguments are so reasonable that if people merely read them, they’ll be immediately convinced. If so, he’s not wrong. I think you’re pretty convincing!

  4. Anby says:

    I can’t believe it’s been two years! I am so glad they are all back. Take that, SP. They’re even more awesome two years later! <3

  5. Andrew R. says:

    I find it petty, to say the least, that he did this. Unless you are teaching false doctrine, or leading others away from the church, personal comments should not be a reason for revoking a TR.

    The implication in what you have written is that you are now without a TR. I hope that is not the case.

    • I agree. Unfortunately, I have seen several cases besides my own in which a temple recommend is used as leverage to silence opinions, and churchwide policy facilitates such action. Here is a post I wrote several months before this happened to me about similar cases among other people I know: http://www.the-exponent.com/coercion/

      My temple recommend recently expired. I have not yet decided whether to seek a renewal, since the last time I did so was such a bad experience.

  6. EmilyHB says:

    she’s baaaaack!! I’m particularly glad to see your “Priestesshood Session” write-up back on line. I think it was the first thing I ever read that you wrote — I was at the event and thought you did a marvelous job capturing it!

  7. Libby says:

    I’m so glad to have these back! Maybe your SP will learn the same lesson that higher-ranking leaders have learned recently: refusing to talk about problems doesn’t make them go away.

    • Andrew R. says:

      No it doesn’t. But equally so doesn’t not defining the problem properly.

      The problem will not go away by forcing a priesthood not required, or wanted by most sisters, on sisters. And making the priesthood optional for women and not for men could have equally disastrous results.

      Giving women an equal voice, listening to their needs and implementing ways to accommodate those needs is vital. But I believe that it happens in a great many places. Maybe not the closer one gets to the “centre” of the church.

      Women get the same pick of the budget and calendar as men. In fact the greater part of the money is spent on women. Priesthood quorums rarely get any budget. There is no scouting to YM and YW get about the same per head – with a greater number of combined youth activities.

      And I genuinely have not heard more than a couple of new convert sisters (one of whom had been studying for the ministry in the Church of England prior to baptism) say they want the priesthood – and I have heard many say they don’t.

      • Karen says:

        That’s my experience, too, Andrew. The one who want the priesthood want to make out seem as if almost everyone wants it, and that those who don’t are just ignoring the “greater good”. That is not the case. And women get treated fine (in fact, great) in all wards and stakes I’ve been in, both in California and Utah. I’ve also traveled quite a bit, usually attending church while I’m there, and haven’t seen women mistreated at all. I’m sorry that some women have (apparently), and don’t see any way to address the issue but to try to “steady the ark”.

  8. Spencer says:

    April, I am so happy to see these posts. I’ve been hoping to read them for the last two years. Two years ago I was still pretty new to Mormon Feminism and hadn’t yet discovered the Exponent site. I think hearing about what happened to you was one of the ways I found out about the Exponent. I know I don’t need to rehash it with you, but the injustice of what happened was appalling. At the same time I remember wishing I could have read your posts. I am grateful that you decided to post them again. I have enjoyed reading these, and appreciate the way you look at the topics. I am excited to read your next post.

Leave a Reply