Policy Suggestions

Thank you for your feedback. I have finalized the report and sent it to my stake president. I am pleased to report that he has agreed to send it on to General Authorities. The original text of the post is below for historical purposes, but the final version, incorporating  feedback I received from Exponent readers and others, is available at http://bit.ly/LDSpolicy.


Family Portrait by Lavinia Fontana

Family Portrait by Lavinia Fontana

This list is a resource for general-level church policymakers who write, update or revise policy within the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is not a comprehensive list of policies that could behoove the Church, but rather is focused more specifically on addressing issues that negatively and disparately affect women. Policy suggestions are aligned with the values of womanhood, opportunity, communication, the Golden Rule, protecting the vulnerable, transparency and/or agency.

To use this resource effectively, policymakers should prayerfully consider the menu of options on this list, taking into consideration the ethical imperative, potential impact and feasibility. To adequately address the needs, perspectives and unique circumstances of women, women should be represented in approximately equal proportions with men throughout the policymaking process. These women should reflect the diversity of the female population of the Church.

As long as the female priesthood ban remains in place, policymakers must make a vigilant effort to address male bias in church policy and ensure that women have an equal voice in the crafting of church policy.  Ordaining women and incorporating them into the existing system of governance would be the least radical and most effective way to address many of the policy problems that affect women in the Church, eliminating the need for more complex changes to the correlated hierarchy of the church. However, many beneficial policy changes can be accomplished even without priesthood ordination for women. Although the female priesthood ban is a significant barrier, it is not necessary for policymakers to wait until the ban is lifted before beginning the process of making the Church a safer and more inclusive place for its female members.

Within the tables below, Handbook 1 and Handbook 2 refer to Church Handbook of Instructions, 2010 edition. The Missionary Handbook is also the 2010 edition. For the Strength of Youth is the 2011 edition. Handbook 1 references do not contain hyperlinks because Handbook 1 is not available to the public at LDS.org.


Missionary Work

Policy Suggestion

Policy References

womanhood

opportunity

communication

the golden rule

protecting the vulnerable

transparency

agency

Establish the same minimum age standard for male and female missionaries. Handbook 1
4.3

x

x

x

Allow female missionaries to wear pants, especially for biking. Missionary Handbook: Missionary Conduct

x

x

x

Do not require a third male as chaperone when male missionaries visit female investigators or members. Missionary Handbook: Missionary Conduct

x

x

Do not create new branches, wards and stakes in response to the number of male members in a given area. Handbook 1
9.1

x

Prohibit mission presidents from setting mission goals, rules or incentives that encourage missionaries to teach and convert men rather than women.

x

Give spouses of mission presidents a title that reflects their calling.

x

Remove the ban on female missionaries as district leaders, zone leaders, assistants to the president and mission presidents.

x

x

x

x

Youth Programs

Policy Suggestion

Policy References

womanhood

opportunity

communication

the golden rule

protecting the vulnerable

transparency

agency

Offer an equal amount of funding, time and staff resources to girls as are allotted to boys. Either eliminate programs such as Boy Scouts that divert staff and funding resources to males without an equivalent effort toward females, or expand programs for girls to match efforts toward boys. Handbook 2
8.6.2
8.13
8.15.1
11.5

x

x

x

x

As is the case for boys in Church-sponsored scouting troops, require at least two adult leaders at activities for all children. Handbook 2
11.5.2
11.5.3

x

x

x

Require consent of the guardian prior to interviewing youth. Handbook 1
7.1.7

x

x

Change the word, “Father” to “parents” in the Young Women theme. Handbook 2
10.1.2

x

Offer guardians the opportunity to attend minors’ interviews, if desired by the guardian or minor. Handbook 1
7.4

x

x

Do not interview Young Women about their efforts to motivate Young Men to become missionaries; focus on the Young Woman herself, instead. Handbook 1
7.1.7

x

Do not provide more detailed dress and appearance guidelines to Young Women than are provided to Young Men. For the Strength of Youth: Dress and Appearance

x

x

Involve Young Women in the home teaching/visiting teaching program. Handbook 2
7.4
8.1.1

x

x

Allow girls to pass and prepare the sacrament alongside their male peers. Handbook 2
8.1.1
20.4

x

x

Women’s Programs

Policy Suggestion

Policy References

womanhood

opportunity

communication

the golden rule

protecting the vulnerable

transparency

agency

Allow autonomy for women to supervise programs, choose staff, and finalize decisions. Handbook 1
1.1.7
2.1.7
Handbook 2
5.5.3
6.2.4
9.1.2
9.2
9.4
9.5
9.6.1
9.8
10.3
10.8.6
10.10
11.2
13.3
14.2
15.1
15.4
19
20.3.4
21.1.20

x

x

Clarify that women may utilize church facilities and conduct church activities such as Girls Camp without requiring a male to be present. Handbook 1
8.3.5
Handbook 2
13.6

x

x

Include women among those who select talks to be studied for “Teachings for Our Time.” Handbook 2
9.4.1

x

x

x

x

Have a woman preside and give the final and longest speech at General Women’s Session.

x

x

Church Participation

Policy Suggestion

Policy References

womanhood

opportunity

communication

the golden rule

protecting the vulnerable

transparency

agency

Eliminate rules limiting carpool options on the basis of gender. Handbook 1
17.1.47
Handbook 2
13.6.24
x x x x x
Make changing tables accessible to men and women in all church buildings. x x
Prohibit local leaders from barring women from church meetings or church activities for breastfeeding. x x
Amend LDS tools apps and ward websites such that women can be found in alphabetical order by their own name. x x
Clarify that women may give concluding talks in Sacrament Meeting, even if a man is one of the other speakers. Handbook 2
18.5
x x x
Allow women to participate in blessing circles and offer blessings. Handbook 1
16.1.1
16.2.1
Handbook 2
7.9
19.4
20.1
20.2
20.3.10
20.6
20.8
x x x
Allow women to be official witnesses to weddings and baptisms. Handbook 2
20.3.7
x x x
Do not restrict opportunity to participate in funerals or assist the bereaved on the basis of gender. Handbook 2
9.10.3
18.6.2
20.1
20.9

x

x

x
Do not restrict people from attending church meetings on the basis of gender. x x
Expand the number of women eligible to give General Conference talks and invite an approximately equal number of men and women speak at General Conference. x x
Revise the home teaching and visiting teaching programs so men have the opportunity to have both male and female teachers. Do not expect women to entertain church representatives on their homes twice as often as men. Handbook 2
7.4
9.5
x x x x
Expand priesthood opportunities to every worthy member of the Church. Handbook 1
16.7
Handbook 2
5.2.2
7.1
7.6
8.1
8.8
20.7
x x x x x x

Priesthood Interviews

Policy Suggestion

Policy References

womanhood

opportunity

communication

the golden rule

protecting the vulnerable

transparency

agency

Begin interviews with an informed consent statement. Inform interviewees that they may stop the interview at any time and skip any questions that they do not want to answer. x x
Make interviews confidential. If there is any way personal information will be shared, disclose this exception in advance of the interview. Handbook 1
6.5
x x
Permit members to bring a support person to any interview, if desired by the interviewee or his/her guardians. x x
Make confession a voluntary practice, completed at the request of the parishioner. Do not authorize local leaders to call interviews on the basis of rumors, tattling or hunches. Handbook 1
6.3
6.4
6.10.6
x x
Revise or eliminate the “affiliate” question. x x
Forbid priesthood leaders from adding interview questions that go beyond the scripted interviews. x x
Publish current temple recommend criteria at LDS.org and make a laminated copy available for members to view during temple recommend interviews. x x
Include women among those who interview members and baptismal candidates, receive confessions and offer pastoral counsel. Handbook 1
1.2
2.3
7.1
7.2
6.4
6.10.3
16.3.3

x

x

x x x
Provide contact information for questions, concerns, and reporting of unethical behavior by priesthood leaders, such as an ombudsmen and/or hotline. x x x

Callings & Employment

Policy Suggestion

Policy References

womanhood

opportunity

communication

the golden rule

protecting the vulnerable

transparency

agency

Establish the same co-teaching requirements for male and female Primary workers. Handbook 2
11.8.1
x
Allow teachers to co-teach with members of the opposite sex who are not their spouses. Handbook 2
11.8.1
x x x
Use the same sustaining procedures for male and female callings. Handbook 2
19
x x x x x
Remove bans on women as Sunday School presidents, mission leaders, clerks, auditors, technology specialists, and other callings currently limited to men. Handbook 1
1.1.6
13.3
13.4
14.2
14.3
14.9.2
Handbook 2
5.1.1
12.2.2
15.4
x x x x x
Do not make maleness, priesthood or experience in male-only callings a prerequisite or preference for paid church employment or promotion opportunities. https://
www.lds.org/
church/
employment
?lang=eng
x x x x x
Do not make maleness, priesthood or experience in male-only callings a prerequisite or preference for church endorsement for non-church employment opportunities, such as military chaplaincy. Handbook 1
10.7
x x x x x
Do not make maleness, priesthood or experience in male-only callings a prerequisite or preference for paid or volunteer work at church functions, such as interpretation or journalism. Handbook 1
16.1.2
Handbook 2
21.1.26
x x x x
Eliminate “marriage and family life” requirements for seminary and institute teachers that go beyond the standards necessary to be a member of the church in good standing serving in youth callings. http://
seminary
.lds.org/
careers
?lang=eng
x x x

Leadership & Policymaking

Policy Suggestion

Policy References

womanhood

opportunity

communication

the golden rule

protecting the vulnerable

transparency

agency

Make Church Handbook of Instruction Volume 1 publically accessible on the church website. Handbook 1
Introduction
x x x x
Allow women to preside over councils and meetings of the church, including meetings with males in attendance. Handbook 1
1.1.5
2.1.5
5.1.1
11.1
16.3.2
Handbook 2
4.1
4.6
8.9.2
10.4.7
15.1.3
16.3.2
18.2
20.3.4
x x x x
Include approximately equal numbers of men and women in branch, ward, district, stake and general councils of the church. Handbook 1
5.3
Handbook 2
4.2
4.3
4.4
6.2.3
15.3
18
x x x x x
Have mixed gender presidencies preside over mixed gender organizations. Handbook 1
1.1.6
2
Handbook 2
11.2.2
12.2.2
12.7.3
19.6
x x x x
Include approximately equal numbers of men and women among those who write and update church policy. Handbook 1
Introduction
x x x x x x
Include women among those who manage church finances. Handbook 1
1.1.6
1.4
5.2.4
13.3
14
Handbook 2
6.2.4
8.1.1
8.5
9.2.2
9.6.1
x x
Establish means for members to provide feedback to General Authorities. Do not forward letters about general level issues to local authorities. Handbook 1
17.1.29
Handbook 2
21.1.24
x x x x
Do not restrict church members from speaking to church leaders based on assumptions that they could make “non-negotiable demands.” http://www.
feminist
mormon
housewives
.org/2014/05/
an-open-letter
-from-michael
-otterson/
x

Temple Worship

Policy Suggestion

Policy References

womanhood

opportunity

communication

the golden rule

protecting the vulnerable

transparency

agency

As long as appropriate sanitary measures are taken, do not permit local temple presidencies to bar women and girls from participation in baptisms based on their menstrual cycles. x
Eliminate the mandatory one-year wait for temple sealings in certain countries following a civil wedding. Handbook 13.6.1 x
Allow single women to cancel their temple marriages to their divorced spouses. Handbook 13.6.1 x
Allow living, widowed women to remarry for time and eternity in the temple without cancelling their sealings to their first husbands. Handbook 13.6.1 x x
Do not require women make temple covenants or wedding vows toward real or hypothetical spouses that are unreciprocated by their husbands. x x x x x
Do not require women to cover their faces. x x x
Allow women with minor children to serve as ordinance workers in the temple. Handbook 13.10.3 x x x x
Expand opportunities for female temple workers to perform temple-related tasks, such as checking recommends, voicing prayers, and operating technology equipment. x x
Revise temple ceremonies to be as affirming for women as they are for men. x x x
Make temple script transcripts available to members as part of temple preparation (excluding parts forbidden to be disclosed by covenant). Handbook 1
3.1.2
Handbook 2
17.1.6
x x x x

Gynecologic Health

Policy Suggestion

Policy References

womanhood

opportunity

communication

the golden rule

protecting the vulnerable

transparency

agency

Redesign female underwear to be less masculine and more appropriate for menstruation, pregnancy, lactation, and menopause. x x
Allow members to view and handle sample underwear for fit and comfort prior to purchase. x x
Do not require women to submit to questioning by a person of the opposite sex about their underwear. x x x
Allow personal interpretation about how to wear underwear in accordance with temple covenants and gynecological and psychological needs. Eliminate rules about wearing underwear, altering underwear or purchasing underwear from a monopoly supplier. Handbook 1
3.4
Handbook 2
21.1.42
x x
Where Mother’s Rooms are feasible, require them to be ventilated, of adequate size, appropriately furnished and available as an optional—not mandated—breastfeeding location. x x
Do not permit men to ask women and girls for details about their sexual activity, such as sexual positions, type of intercourse, masturbatory activity, or success at achieving orgasm or satisfying their sexual partners as part of worthiness interviews or disciplinary councils. x x
Remove policies discouraging certain birth control and reproduction options. Handbook 1
17.3
Handbook 2
21.2.16
21.4
x x
Eliminate requirements that couples involve priesthood leaders in decisions about birth control and reproduction. Handbook 1
3.6.2
17.3
Handbook 2
21.4
x x
Do not advise priesthood leaders to make every effort to encourage unwed, pregnant women to marry. Handbook 1
17.3.12
Handbook 2
21.4.12
x x x
Do not authorize local leaders to discipline members for receiving or participating in medically assisted reproduction services. Handbook 1
17.3.3
Handbook 2
21.4.3
x x x
Broaden church policy to address all rapes, not just forcible rapes. Handbook 1
6.7.2
17.3.1
Handbook 2
1.4.1

x

x x

Church Discipline

Policy Suggestion

Policy References

womanhood

opportunity

communication

the golden rule

protecting the vulnerable

transparency

agency

Do not discipline members for expressing their opinions. Handbook 1
6.7
x x x
Do not allow local leaders to discipline members for failure to obey counsel improvised by the local leader, for disagreeing with a local leader’s opinions, or for having friends, relatives and other associates that the leader disapproves of. Handbook 1
3.3.4
Handbook 1
6.7
6.8
x x
Provide means for individuals to appeal decisions of local leaders to revoke temple privileges or administer other punishments informally. Handbook 1
6.8
x x x
Require local leaders to complete a minimum probationary period, disclosed to the member, prior to initiating church disciplinary councils. Handbook 1
6.9
6.10.2
x x
Do not permit local leaders to retain authority over members who have moved out of their jurisdiction. Handbook 1
6.2.7
13.6.18
x x
Include women among those who call, staff and judge disciplinary councils. Do not try a woman or interview a female witness before a council composed entirely of the opposite sex. Handbook 1
1.2
2.3
6.2
6.4
6.10
Handbook 2
15.3.2
x x x x x
Require local leaders to inform the accused of their rights and disciplinary procedures in writing prior to administering church discipline. Handbook 1
6.8
6.9
6.10
x x
Allow members to have any witnesses in attendance that they choose and allow these witnesses to remain in the room. Handbook 1
6.10.4
x x
Allow accused members to document disciplinary councils with recording devices, if desired. Handbook 1
6.10
x x x
Provide disciplined members with copies of records and testimony pertaining to their own discipline. Handbook 1
6.10
x x x
Do not hold disciplinary councils in wards or stakes in which the accused does not reside. Handbook 1
6.2.7
x x x
Do not allow women to be excommunicated by lower-level officials who may not excommunicate men. Handbook 1
6.2
x x x
Do not allow councils of fewer people to excommunicate women than are required for men. Handbook 1
6.2
x x x
As is the case for men, do not excommunicate a woman without first appointing six people to advocate on her behalf. Handbook 1
6.2
6.10.4
x x x
Do not mandate more stringent church discipline for transgressions that are widely known. Handbook 1
6.7.3
x x x
Have members under discipline submit appeals paperwork to a neutral third party, instead of to the priesthood leaders who originally disciplined them. Handbook 1
6.10.10
x

This post is a section of my draft policy analysis, a Values-based Approach to Woman-friendly Policy in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have completed as much policy research as I can alone and now I am asking for feedback from the Mormon community before I finalize and submit the report. All draft sections are available at the following links:

Introduction

Charlotte du Val d'Ognes by Marie Denise Villers, Courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art Introduction

Values

800px-Andrea_Solario_002 Womanhood
The Gleaners by Jean-Francois Millet Opportunity
Jesus and the Canaanite Woman by Mattia Preti Communication
The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Bloch The Golden Rule
The Woman with an Issue of Blood by James Tissot Protecting the Vulnerable
Esther Denouncing Haman by Ernest Normand Transparency
Jesus Tempted by Carl Heinrich Bloch Agency

Policy Suggestions

Family Portrait by Lavinia Fontana Introduction

Missionary Work

Youth Programs

Women’s Programs

Church Participation

Priesthood Interviews

Callings & Employment

Leadership & Policymaking

Temple Worship

Gynecologic Health

Church Discipline

Access all posts here.

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...

84 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    Church discipline:
    1. Institute a well-trained, neutral, compassionate group of women and/or men to serve as Church abuse ombudsmen/women to review police reports, medical records, and statements of women who have been been abused by men who hold positions of authority in wards or stakes. When the wife of a bishop or stake president reports abuse, allow the women’s allegations to be reviewed by neutral parties who have no close friendships with the men who are the reported abusers.

    2. Do not excommunicate or disfellowship young women who have been sexually groomed and perpetrated upon by men in the Church holding positions of authority. Refer these cases to the Church ombudsmen/women to review. Make certain that this young women receive proper counseling to recover from their abuse. Make certain that police are contacted when abuse is reported.

    3. When ward members report sexual abuse by men holding positions of power in the Church, make certain that the ombudsmen/women review these reports. Do not have a stake president review allegations that involve a bishop in his stake without scrutiny by Church ombudsmen/women. Too often the documented allegations are ignored by stake presidents who are friends with sexually perpetrating bishops.

    • I abolutely agree that the church needs an ombudsman service. I included that recommendation under priesthood interviews, with other informed consent measures, but I will consider adding more information about how it relates to church discipline as well in my final draft.

  2. Liz says:

    Allowing female missionaries to wear pants is a big one for me, for both safety and health reasons. My sister just returned from a mission in Guatemala with mosquito bites all up and down her legs and a serious case of a mosquito-born illness (chikunguya). Sadly (for her), one of the top recommendations from the CDC to prevent infection from this and other mosquito-born illnesses is to wear pants.

  3. Liz says:

    Under “Church Participation,” you have “Do not restrict people from attending church meetings on the basis of gender.” I’m not totally sure what you mean by that – are you referring to meetings during the 3-hour block (like women attending Elders Quorum/High Priests Group and men attending Relief Society), or not allowing women into General Priesthood Session, or both? Or something else?

    This whole thing is fantastic. I’m in awe of your comprehensive research, as well as how much time and thought you’ve put into this. Amazing work.

    • I am referring to any meeting, at the general or local level, but I am open to input on that. The Priesthood Session of General Conference in particular seems like a point for change, for the reasons I discussed here: http://www.the-exponent.com/from-the-balcony/ but I can see applications at the local level, too. For example, I have heard of single mothers driving their sons to priesthood meetings at local ward houses and being forced to sit in the hall while they waited to drive them home because they were not male.

  4. Heidi says:

    For the Youth Program section: There need to be reasonably even numbers of female and male sources (general conference talks, Mormon messages, etc.) provided in each Come Follow Me youth lesson.

    • Good point. Relief Society manuals that quote men almost exclusively are another area for improvement. Given the ratio of male church leaders to female church leaders, it may be hard to accomplish equal proportions of quotes until other policies are changed to allow more women in leadership positions, but I think it is possible to make more of an effort to include women’s voices than is happening now.

  5. Rob says:

    Great list. A couple of suggestions to add to the missionary section: (1) length of mission should be equal – either 18 or 24 months for both men and women, and (2) full time missionary service should be a commandment for men and women (or merely a personal decision for both similar to how it is optional for women today).

    • I thought about mission length, and didn’t make recommendations because I wasn’t sure what to recommend. Are 18 month or 24 month missions preferable? I really don’t know.

      Personally, I would love to see all young people encouraged to serve missions if they feel spiritually prompted, as is the case for women, and not pressured to go out of duty, as is the case for men, but I do not see this policy as negatively and disparately affecting women, so it does not fit into the guidelines for this list, which is not a comprehensive list, but more focused on women.

  6. Jessawhy says:

    April, this is amazing. There was one item that I didn’t understand.
    “Require local leaders to complete a minimum probationary period, disclosed to the member, prior to initiating church disciplinary councils.”

    Do you mean local leaders should put members on probation before they put them in disciplinary councils?
    I love how thorough and value-based approaches. When I read it like this, it’s a little overwhelming at how much inequality be there is in the church.
    Well done!

    • Maybe I should reword this one, because “probation” is a word already used in church discipline, but not in the way I am using it here. To be more clear, under current policy, local lay leaders can surprise members of their congregations with a letter calling them to a church disciplinary council, without any requirement that they take any less extreme measures to address the perceived problem first. The actual policy is very different from how a Church representative has described it to the media, where they have claimed that church discipline only takes place as a last resort, and after months of negotiations with the accused person and options for the accused to avoid discipline. (To be fair, the PR person who said this to the media was female, and the actual disciplinary policies are included in Handbook 1, which nearly all women are forbidden from reading, so she was probably going off what she had been told with no way to verify its veracity.) http://radiowest.kuer.org/post/latter-day-saints-and-excommunication-part-ii

      I would think that a process such as the one the PR representative described would certainly be more appropriate than the actual policy on the books.

      Another related policy regards counsel. Counsel is listed as a less severe disciplinary measure in the handbook but without disclosure, a woman cannot know that a local leader is beginning a disciplinary measure when he counsels her. The word counsel is used in a way that does not match its dictionary meaning in the handbook. Counsel is enforceable as a commandment instead of available for consideration as advice. When a local leader “counsels” a woman to follow certain steps, he may be giving her orders that she must obey or she will be subjected to punitive measures. However, she is likely to interpret his counsel as “advice” and have no idea that failure to follow her local lay leader’s wishes will result in punishment, because it was not disclosed to her that he was taking disciplinary action requiring mandatory compliance.

  7. Elle says:

    I really love this paragraph, but I think it shows your stripes a little too much:
    “As long as the female priesthood ban remains in place, policymakers must make a vigilant effort to address male bias in church policy and ensure that women have an equal voice in the crafting of church policy. Ordaining women and incorporating them into the existing system of governance would be the least radical and most effective way to address many of the policy problems that affect women in the Church, eliminating the need for more complex changes to the correlated hierarchy of the church. However, many beneficial policy changes can be accomplished even without priesthood ordination for women. Although the female priesthood ban is a significant barrier, it is not necessary for policymakers to wait until the ban is lifted before beginning the process of making the Church a safer and more inclusive place for its female members.”

    I’m not trying to censor you, but I’m afraid being so bold with your language re: female ordination may cause your audience to discredit the rest of your policy suggestions, even though most of them don’t require female ordination.

    Also, when talking about garments:

    Make garments in such a way that women can use them as undershirts instead of having to wear 4 layers. Make the marks flush with the fabric so they don’t show through knit fabrics when a bra is worn under garments.

    Appoint a diverse panel of women to oversee style/fit changes to women’s garments. Do not require or permit men to make decisions regarding or approve women’s garment styles.

    Under Leadership:

    The General Primary Presidency should be given the opportunity to speak to all those they have stewardship over (primary boys and girls as well as male and female teachers), not just girls (and women) in the General Women’s Session of Conference.

    Find ways to encourage the general church membership to see women as spiritual leaders whose voices and insights are just as important and generally applicable as men’s. Steps could be taken to implement this on a ward level (occasionally ask a woman to teach all or part of a lesson in young men or priesthood quorums as is frequently done by men in RS and YW, ask a woman to speak at an all-male fireside, ask the wife to speak last in sacrament meeting and have the husband tell the story of how they met, ask women to teach combined fifth Sunday lessons, call men to positions in primary and nursery) and a general level (include more quotes from women in lesson manuals and conference talks, replace a couple of Q70 conference talks with additional female speakers, have seminary students learn the names and a couple facts about the leaders of the female auxiliaries as they do about the apostles, display pictures of women leaders alongside male leaders, permit female auxiliary leaders to serve for longer periods so they become known and beloved by the general church membership).

    Teach young men and young women about what constitutes consent and sexual abuse in standards nights and chastity lessons.

    Do not portray pornography and sex addiction as a “male” problem. Acknowledge in general conference talks, youth pamphlets, and lesson materials that both men and women are sexual beings who may be tempted to view pornography or act on sexual urges.

    Sorry this is so long. Thank you so much for this, April. I look forward to your posts; they are always measured and articulate. Please keep us posted on how this project is received.

    • I am going to copy and paste here a response I wrote to another comment questioning whether being openness about all policy change needed, including priesthood expansion, is good strategy. I’ll reply to your other ideas in another comment:

      There has been a long, ongoing debate among feminists about whether we should openly discuss all of the proposals that will appeal more to male priesthood leaders and avoid talking about expanding the priesthood to women, in particular, to avoid eliciting a negative reaction from priesthood holders.

      I have heard from several sources the LDS Public Affairs has a policy of refusing to talk to women about any subject who have openly expressed support for women’s ordination. An open letter from Michael Otterson, Director of Public Affairs, seems to confirm that this silent treatment policy exists and expands upon it to say that priesthood leaders also follow this policy. So yes, the risk is real that church leaders will refuse to talk to me about anything because they disagree with me about one of the many suggestions I have offered them. http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2014/05/an-open-letter-from-michael-otterson/

      LDS Wave, a women’s advocacy organization, has attempted to seek woman-friendly change without advocating for priesthood ordination. Although they excluded this important but controversial item from their platform, some leaders of their organization experienced serious repercussions from priesthood leaders. It seems that it is not safe for Mormon women to suggest policy changes of any kind, whether related to priesthood or not. http://www.ldswave.org

      With this proposal, I am taking a leap of faith. I am showing church leaders that I have faith in them enough to hope that they will move forward with this conversation in more productive ways than the silent treatment or punitive measures. In my professional work, I have frequently worked with large coalitions of people who disagree with each other fundamentally on many issues, yet, we are able to collaborate on our points of agreement. If church leaders choose to speak with me, I will be able to show them that I am quite a reasonable person and I think we will find many points of agreement for collaboration, even if we must agree to disagree for now on some of the other things I would like to accomplish.

    • Thanks for the great policy suggestions. I will definitely consider these as I work on my final draft.

  8. JAT says:

    Amen. From your mouth to God’s ears. How many are there? Do you have 99 theses yet? God’s speed. The informed consent and confidentiality piece for interviews could save lives. I was struck reading it because the lack of these things literally could endanger lives. Then, reading the other policy items, I realized that many are as life-threatening, either emotionally or spiritually. Change is desperately needed. Thank you for giving it voice!

  9. Pbj says:

    These are amazing. Please let someone hear!

    • Sara Orlando says:

      I love all these policy changes , and I appreciate all the time and effort you put into this. I will pray that some, if not all of these policies will be enacted! Change is most definitely needed!

  10. V. Burnett says:

    Well done! This was certainly a long and difficult process and I’m grateful & impressed at how thorough your suggestions are and how peacefully you have presented them. I know in my heart that the Church has the ordinances that we need to become one with Christ, there is nowhere else for men or women to turn to receive those blessings. I’ve been very lucky so far in my journey through the gates of the Church on my path toward Christ but I know that many of my sisters have been injured by the gatekeepers, either by intention or through clumsy fumbling by ill-trained men lacking proper guidelines. It is time for these needs to be closely examined and addressed. Thank you.

  11. James Stone says:

    Great list for wolves who want to devour the sheep.

  12. Rob Osborn says:

    I read through all of the items and it looks too much like an ordain women movement agenda that will get nowhere quickly in church leadership. Not sure what you are trying to accomplish here other than make a bold statement in regards to your displeasure with men in the church. If you really want to change policy on issues you need to separate the ordain women to the priesthood angle and ditch it. There are many facets and items in your list that make sense and could lead to policy change. But the overall picture is seen too much as an ordain women movement and will get nowhere.

    • Pete says:

      Is this more of ‘you didn’t ask with the right tone’ crap that the PR department dished out about conference tickets? If the suggested changes are good and will solve problems, what does it matter where the idea came from or how it was suggested? Maybe the Church should practice what it preaches in being teachable. It sounds very much like the ‘not-invented-here’ culture that plagues many organizations. The current pace of policy change is like Chinese water torture.

    • I am demonstrating faith in our church leaders by honestly stating all of the policy changes I believe would advance the missions of the church with regards to women, instead of playing strategy games with church leaders. My intention is to open up a dialogue about how to improve general-level policy that affects women.

  13. Sara says:

    Thanks for writing this list. I don’t agree with all of them, and I don’t know if some of them are true are not, but there are many items that I do agree with.

    I think the most important one is to change the wording in the temple ceremonies in order to eliminate sexism.

    I also think church members should stop teaching that the husband is the head of household. I don’t hear this very much nowadays (thank goodness!), but it still comes up every once in a while.

    I think they should also change the family proclamation a little. They should take out the part that says that the husband presides. Later in the proclamation it says that husbands and wives are equal partners. You can’t have both. You can’t have equality and have one person that presides. This is conflicting. So this is why it should be taken out.

    I also agree with redoing the structure of the online directory. When I was in a singles ward, I was listed under “head of household.” But after I got married, they listed my husband’s name first, with my name under it. I dislike this so much. Since the proclamation says that husbands and wives are equal partners, it means that husbands and wives are both heads of household. They rule together. There is no one head of household.

    I’ve also noticed that a lot of times, the husband chooses who says the prayer. I’m not sure where this practice came from, but I think it’s downgrading to women. My husband and I are equals and we take turns deciding who says the prayers.

  14. AGC says:

    There’s something so powerful (and sad) about seeing all these damaging policies laid out like this. Amen and amen. Great work.

    • Rob Osborn says:

      What bothers me is to see so many think we need policy change or should I really say- women ordination to the priesthood. That’s what this is all really about.

      • AGC says:

        Rob, if you haven’t been damaged personally by any Church policy, and if you don’t know anyone who has been, then you should probably say a prayer of thanks. You are lucky. Just because you are “bothered” that so many people want to see change does not in any way invalidate the reality of the situation: many Church policies are incredibly limiting and harmful, and need to be changed in order to improve the lives of many, many Mormons.

  15. Rob Osborn says:

    AGC,
    People, regardless of gender hurt other people. Church policy doesn’t hurt people. It may not be perfect but then again, I know of no perfect policy in any organization that encompasses as many people. I look at her list of policy changes and a majority of them hinge on women’s ordination to the priesthood. My main beef with the list is that it isn’t a list of real truthful input but rather a generally biased set of ideals and hatred towards men in general.

    There is a misconception here. There are only a very small minority within LDS membership that are unhappy and may want to see policy change.

    • Pete says:

      Rob,

      Please back up your assertion, “there are only a very small minority within LDS membership that are unhappy and may want to see policy change” with some verifiable data.

      • Rob Osborn says:

        I am unaware of any actual statistic because it is extremely low. In all my years of church service I have only met 2 people who were displeased with policy in general who were active LDS members. Those two have since left the church because they wouldn’t conform to their ideals.
        What I am saying is that there just are very few who want women ordination to the priesthood amongst active LDS members. It’s an anomaly, not the norm.

      • Rob, as I pointed out in this analysis, church policy authorizes local leaders to punish women for expressing their opinions. I am not at all surprised that people who are displeased with church policy usually choose to hide their opinions, given that fact.

    • Elle says:

      The only policy change I saw that “hinges on women’s ordination to the priesthood” is this one:

      Expand priesthood opportunities to every worthy member of the Church.

      Pretty much ALL of the other suggestions could be accomplished without female ordination.

      Also, I get that you’re trolling, but based on your statement “My main beef with the list is that it isn’t a list of real truthful input but rather a generally biased set of ideals and hatred towards men in general,” it’s no wonder that you think “There are only a very small minority within LDS membership that are unhappy and may want to see policy change.” Heaven knows I’m not eager to express my opinion to the guys in my ward who share your attitude.

      • Rob osborn says:

        There are 13 separate requests that require priesthood authority be given to women in that list.
        It’s already been made obvious by the church that women ordination to the priesthood is out of the question. So why the requests then? There are quite a few things in the list that make sense but because of the ordain women ties and distaste for males the list fails entirely. I see it as a feminist attack on the males of the church clergy. Nothing more and nothing less.

    • Pete says:

      Thank you, Rob Osborn, for being the arbiter of what LDS women want. Your expertise is incalculable, truly.

  16. john says:

    Let’s get a petition of this going. I am still waiting to see the mass exodus from the church but have not seen it yet. I sometimes wonder why I still go probably because the postive outways the negatives. As far as temple workers I think both men and women with children under 12 should not be workers. I have heard several workers who have young children at home like the escape instead of helping their wife and bonding with their children. Single men over 30 are only allowed to be veil workers which is not right since they probably don’t have children. I just trust that when the lord returns things will be balanced the way they should and hopefully we are accepting of it whatever it maybe.

  17. Joanne says:

    April, your work is brilliant!

    The “Come Follow Me’ youth Sunday School lessons need a drastic overhaul in their overall tone and approach, to be inclusive of women. They need a drastic overhaul in their overall tone and approach. It is so discouraging and difficult for me to prepare from the prescribed lessons that are 95 to 100% about men, wholly taken from talks and articles by men. The lesson plans have almost no stories, scriptures, or videos that feature or even passingly include women. They always center around a man’s conference talk. At best, the male speaker may mention an anonymous woman – his wife, a sister missionary, or an unnamed female convert.

    In teaching the 12 – 13 year-olds, I spend a lot of time searching through lds.org for talks, stories, articles, photos, videos, and scriptures that strongly feature women. I try to make the lessons approximately balanced between male and female voices. I always additionally feature a woman’s conference talk, and tell the professional and educational bio of the woman speaker. I show a photo or video of the female general leader, alongside the photo of the male leader who is cited in the lesson. I am trying to teach the girls (and boys) to know the names and faces of the female general leaders. I see that the girls are hungry for these examples as their faces brighten up and they ask questions about general women leaders.

    As I look into the faces of these girls, I feel like I see into their futures where one day in their twenties, they are flooded with the sadness of realizing that their years of youth church lessons, women leaders and voices were entirely excluded or were but a tiny part of their spiritual education.

    If I were to teach straight from the “Come Follow Me” lessons as they are written, I believe the message I would be teaching the girls is: “You, as a female, are not capable of original thought. You are not smart enough or important enough to have a voice in God’s work. Only men have the value and intelligence to be our spiritual teachers.” It deeply saddens me to think that every Sunday throughout the church, most Sunday School youth teachers are following the lessons straight off the website, without any inclusion of women’s voices, images, or stories. As a result, how many of our young women will exit the church in their 20s?

    I have written some of these thoughts on the lds.org Sunday School “feedback” page. I encourage all youth Sunday School teachers to do the same.

    • Rob Osborn says:

      Why is it that the entire scriptures show that God’s government is exclusively male in holding keys of authority?

      • Rob, that assertion is simply untrue. What about Deborah, Hildah, Anna, Junia, and Phoebe? I will agree with you that there are more male leaders than female in the scriptures, but we must also take into consideration that ancient scripture is an historical document that reflects the culture of its time. Many parts of the scriptures condone horrific ancient practices like slavery and genocide and (of course) the oppression of women, because the peoples who wrote them were living in a more barbaric time. Line upon line, precept upon precept, we have abandoned such practices as we have continued the work of building Zion on earth.

  18. Rob Osborn says:

    We have always historically prayed to Heavenly Father (male), and asked for blessings through Jesus (male) and have sought the guidance of the Holy Ghost (male). When God set up his kingdom on earth through Christ, apostles were chosen (all male) and the priesthood keys bestowed upon his prophets (male). For reasons yet unexplained fully, the authority to preside with keys rests upon men. It’s not really our job as members to set forth demands that change or alter God’s way of government.
    For reasons yet fully explained, the government of God places man at the head of eternal family units. We can say this is sexist or unfair, lacking equality, etc, but it isn’t ours to change. We can speculate all we want but that too doesn’t change the fact that God has always run the governance of men through keys given to males. We can make logical conclusions though that the pattern of families with the father at the head, to preside, is an eternal principle that God himself is part of. Why? Because we answer to God, our eternal Father, who is our head in eternity.

    • Pete says:

      Rob, what do you envision Heavenly Mother, a Goddess, doing? Is she a silent appendage to Heavenly Father, governed and presided over by Him? Or a fully equal partner who participates in our salvation, and demonstrates agency on Her own behalf, and in behalf of Her children?

      Do you have a wife and/or daughters? I am curious how you see their role in your family.

      If our purpose on earth is to prepare to become like God (Mother and Father), shouldn’t we be modeling that here by treating women as the goddesses in embryo that they are? A good place to start would be to not infantalize them by assuming that, because of their gender, they are less capable of governing themselves or others, and that they are subject to a different set of rules.

      • Rob osborn says:

        I grew up in a very conservative home with a very loving mother and father. I grew up along with my siblings to have a supreme gratitude and special place for our mother who loved us, nurtured us, as no other could. We also knew that our father was the head of the house and appropriately so also.

        We follow the heed of our prophets, follow the scriptures rightly so. The proclamation is divine doctrine that reinforces truths we have always known and had. The father, by divine design, presides in the home. That is his primary role in the family and is an eternal principle also.

        I am married to my annointed queen and I treat her just as that-a Queen. I teach my daughter that she is a real princess who will become a real queen latèr on. Women are great and glorious and extremely vital in carrying out the greatest of all of God’s commands. The bearing of children and nurturing them is by far the greatest God given responsibility given to any of His creations. Because of its extremely precious and vital nature along with such great responsibility, God has set up by design a means of protection to ensure the success of this process of carrying out the continuation of his seed and glory. That protection is called the priesthood authority and has given to man this weighty burden/blessing/responsibility as a means to ensure the supreme protection of women and their responsibility and role with God’s plans.

        And this is precisely why it bothers me why women want this “ordination”. This priesthood key authority isn’t even the most precious heavenly gift. Women already have the greatest gift possible. Us men just have this authority because it is our responsibility to watch over and protect this divine and greatest gift which women possess. The priesthood is basically just the castle walls that protect the queen.

        Trust me when I say that I treat my wife and women, girls, in my life with the most high nd godly rrespect. And, it is precisely because of women, that I try to honor the priesthood to bless and protect God’s greatest gift.

        The priesthood doesn’t entitle me to rule and dominate, it only enables me to serve, protect, and bless others to ensure the stability of God’s greater plans of preserving and enabling that which is greater to be propagated in the eternities.

      • nrc42 says:

        Rob, if your wife is happy with how you treat her I certainly don’t want to belittle that. However, it sounds to me that you don’t respect women at all. You cherish them, but you do not respect women as your equal, with the same capacity for reason as yourself. In pedestalizing women, you infantilize them and deny them their own personhood. Now, if your wife likes that, that is fine. I am genuinely happy for both of you if you have a relationship dynamic that you find satisfying. However, to myself and many others, the idea of having such a dynamic in our own marriages is absolutely repugnant. Frankly, I’m not sure why you frequent a Mormon Feminist blog when most of your arguments hinge on the idea that women should be cherished but not respected. Do you really expect anyone to think, “You know, this whole ‘equal partnership’ and ‘agency’ thing is overrated. I think I’m going to try lovingly batting my eyelashes and letting a big strong man protect me from pain and choices?”

  19. Melanie Goldmund says:

    April, I’m usually just a lurker here, but I wanted you to know that I’m praying for this work of yours to find listening ears and open hearts.

  20. Rob Osborn says:

    Nrc42,

    Believe what you want. Your post is ignorant of reality and completely feminist. You don’t want equality, you want to be men.

    • nrc42 says:

      Wow. Thanks for being incredibly presumptuous and telling me what I believe. For the sake of your dignity, I’d avoid bringing up “ignorance of reality.” You addressed exactly none of what I said, choosing instead to lash out irrationally.

      What does that mean, exactly, “wanting to be men?” What I want is for men and women’s voices to be respected equally. I want women and men to be viewed as having equal capacity for reason and choice. I want there to be policies in place to protect those who are not in power from potential unrighteous dominion of those who are in power. I want – and have – an egalitarian marriage with a husband who respects me as his equal partner, where neither of us preside over each other. As far as I am aware, none of those involve my wanting a change in genitalia.

      • Rob Osborn says:

        Who do we pray to? Is it not Heavenly Father? Is he not our head? Why do we not pray to our Heavenly Mother?
        Ever heard of the patriarchal order of the priesthood?

        Let’s be kinder to each other and ask real honest questions.

      • nrc42 says:

        I think it is a mistake to, based on our current lack of knowledge, assume that Heavenly Mother is subservient to Heavenly Father. I believe there is further light and knowledge to come on the subject. Personally, I believe She is a full and equal partner-goddess with Heavenly Father, with full power and influence in the lives of Her children. I believe they jointly preside over and are the Head of us, their children. I worship and pray to God, because to me, God is both of my Heavenly Parents working together in unity.

  21. Rob Osborn says:

    So what do you make of the Proclamation? Do you believe this part-By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families.

    • nrc42 says:

      Personally, no. I don’t. The Proclamation has not been canonized as doctrine, and I do not accept it as such. There is much in the Proclamation that I believe is good, and have received personal revelation confirming that those parts are from God. I have prayed about the portions on gender roles, but have received no such confirmation that they are right for my family. My husband and I are in agreement on this, and our marriage is one of equal partnership and egalitarianism. I believe that Church leaders are good men who are trying to do what’s right, but that they are not above influence from the traditions and culture in which they were raised. This is one case where I feel that they are mostly upholding 1950s-era American gender roles, not necessarily revelation from God. I don’t think it’s even intentional; I just think that from their perspective things are fine as they are/were.

      • Rob Osborn says:

        I could understand why you don’t accept the Proclamation given your feminist stance. What I don’t understand is why you support a church that is entirely founded upon men presiding and continues so exclusively to place males as the presiding figure in all governance and functions?

        Why is the name of our church named after a male (Jesus Christ) and not a woman? Why was a male (Jesus Christ) chosen to be the head of our church and not a woman? Why was a male chosen to be the savior of us and not a woman?

  22. nrc42 says:

    I support the Church because it is the Church of my birth and heritage. There is much in its teachings that I find truthful. I find beauty in the hymns and I love my calling as Primary teacher. I love many of the teachings unique to the Church, such as eternal families, that we are literal spirit children of Heavenly Parents, the importance of personal revelation, and the opportunity to become like God. However, I do not believe in prophetic infallibility, nor do I believe that the Church is perfect. I believe that there are lingering elements of the Apostasy that still need to be addressed. I believe that there is much that has yet to be revealed. I see problems in Church policy and I advocate for change where I see those problems.

    Why is Christ our Savior, and not a woman? Simple. Because Christ is the Firstborn.

    • Rob Osborn says:

      So, if Christ was born as a female instead of a male everything would be different eh? Or, do you think because of God’s omniscience, that it was designed intentionally way it was from the beginning with a male foreordained for that purpose. Certainly all Gods decisions he carries out are predetermined arent they?

      Why was Joseph Smith, also a male, foreordained to restore the gospel to the earth?

      • nrc42 says:

        We don’t know how spirit birth/the organization of intelligences works. It may be deliberate, like putting together a Lego set; there may be an element of chance, like physical conception and birth. I think it is pointless to speculate. There is simply too much we don’t know.

        I believe Joseph Smith was chosen to restore the Church, rather than a woman, because the Church was restored at a time when women were essentially viewed as property and had far less power and influence than men. I believe God chose a man because, although He does not condone sexism, He knew a man would be taken more seriously than a woman.

  23. Rob Osborn says:

    So everything is just chance and timing eh?
    It’s not chance and timing that man and woman are different and have different distinct roles. There is a reason why man presides. Personally I believe it has to do with the physical makeup of man as protector and also to ensure gender identity which is essential.
    One of my favorite shows of all time is Little House on the Prarie. In many ways it shows why man is given direct charge over his family.

    • nrc42 says:

      I responded to that assertion on one of your comments in the “Agency” post. Feel free to read it; I’d rather not copy it or write it all out again. Suffice to say that, given my own non-stereotypical marriage, reciting stereotypes doesn’t really hold water for me. Forgive me, but “Little House on the Prairie” isn’t exactly concrete evidence for anything, either. It seems to me that you have reached the beginning of your argument again, suggesting a somewhat circuitous nature to its construction. “I believe men and women are different and have different roles because I believe women and men are different and have different roles.”

      • Rob Osborn says:

        Is it not a fact that men and women are not the same? It’s without any doubt that man and women are different in many areas and as such we have differing roles in God’s plan. Why fight it? Why must feminists fight to be like men when clearly it is impossible in the eternal fixed nature for such to happen?

      • nrc42 says:

        I hear many assertions that men and women “are not the same” by “eternal fixed nature” but not as many concrete examples. What, exactly, without having met either of us, do you think my husband is naturally able to do better than me, and vice versa? Are you confident in your stereotypes and generalizations?

    • Pete says:

      All men are not the same, just as all women as not the same. By your logic, I should expect that you are a football waching, porn addicted auto mechanic. You know, because all men are the same.

      If gender identity is so important, please tell us to what example women are supposed to look to for becoming goddesses. Where are the sermons in General Conference about our Heavenly Mother? Where in the temple are we shown how She participates in the eternities? Why doesn’t the Young Women theme have any mention of her, especially the part about divine nature?

      If you are truly following the patriarchal order as it is currently modeled for us, do you allow your children any interaction with their mother, or must you always mediate for her? Does she have to stand behind you and listen, then whisper in your ear what to say for her? Do you tell your children, “sorry, your mother is off doing far more important things, and maybe after you die you’ll get to know her better”?

    • Pete says:

      Rob,

      To your statement, “You don’t want equality, you want to be men.”

      Women (and men) are told that the two greatest examples of all the qualities we are to develop are Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. There are no women in that group. Are the exalting qualities that Heavenly Father and Jesus possess exclusively male?

      Women are told constantly at church to be more like men. Have you examined the curriculum for Sunday School and Relief Society? A vast majority of the lessons use stories and teachings about men. Have you paid attention at all to General Conference? We use the term ‘priesthood’ interchangeably with ‘men’, and then go on and on about how priesthood is the power that created/operates the universe, how our church with be nothing without priesthood.

      Is is any wonder that many women doubt their own capacities and potentital as future goddesses?

    • Pete says:

      Rob, you didn’t address any of my questions about Heavenly Mother or how your children interact with their mother.

    • Pete says:

      Rob, you didn’t address any of my questions about Heavenly Mother or how your children interact with their mother.

  24. Rob Osborn says:

    Women are not left out or lost as to find exaltation. Our church is entirely more inclusive towards women and teaching what their divine roles are. As far as I lnow, we are the only church that teaches gender as an eternal identity and how families can be together in their unique capacities. In fact, our church teaches that man and women cannot even reach the highest level of the priesthood unless we are united in marriage. Our church is so inclusive towards women that our temple endowment is centered on the marriage covenant and how to treat our spouses. Each wears the Holy garments of the priesthood.

    That said, we have very different qualities that we know of physically. Men are generally much stronger, taller, etc. We obviously have different sex organs and vast differences for our roles in bringing new life into existence. We think different, use different parts of the brain to process information. We also have different voice sounds, different facial features, etc. In society we generally have different roles also, although feminists are pushing their way in. Men are natural leaders with deeper, louder voices, height, and muscle mass to enforce the law. Women naturally have soft voices ideal for teaching and nurturing children. Women also have a greater f1fapacity of language skills making them ideal listeners, counselors,etc.

    We just can’t change the facts. It’s reality. We should embrace the facts how women and men are different and deal with reality rather than trying to invent a new one that doesn’t exist.

    • nrc42 says:

      I have a naturally low voice for a woman and my voice is naturally louder than my husband’s. We are the same height, but I am physically stronger than my husband. I am much more socially confident than my husband and enjoy public speaking much more than my husband. I am more assertive than my husband. I enjoy politics and lively debate; my husband hates conflict and disagreement of any kind. I prefer math and logic over language. My husband loves poetry. I struggle with patience because I am easily frustrated by irrationality. On the other hand, my husband is very gentle and sensitive. He is much more introverted than I. He speaks softly. He is slow to wrath. He balances out my natural aggressiveness and is a natural peacemaker. He wants children more than I do and would be an incredible stay-at-home dad. How does that fit in your paradigm?

      • Rob Osborn says:

        I said “in general” concerning the differences. Let me put it another way. Both men and women play professional basketball. Because of the differences in muscle mass and structure men at the NBA level dunk a basketball roughly 12 times in every game on average. There are 1,230 games each year in the NBA season. In the WNBA history, there have been a total of 11 dunks. In that same 18 years, men have totaled around 300,000 dunks. So, 300,000 vs. 11. You tell me, why is that?

      • nrc42 says:

        We aren’t talking about basketball, Rob, we are talking about interpersonal relationships, marriage dynamics, division of labor within the family, and whether men and women have the same capacity for reason and potential for competence in the workplace. What I am arguing is that rather than attempting to enforce gender stereotypes and dictate what “ought” to be “natural traits,” men and women should be free to develop their God-given talents, whether stereotypically masculine or stereotypically feminine. Within marriage, spouses should be free to reason with each other and seek personal revelation to determine what the most effective way to work together will be for their family. Marriage should be an equal partnership, which cannot exist where hierarchy exists. And the contributions of men and women, both inside and outside the home, whether conforming to 1950s gender roles or not, should be seen as equally beneficial for society.

    • M says:

      I think we need to bow to Rob’s subtle proof that priesthood is really contained in the penis.

  25. nrc42 says:

    Rob, I have several questions for you.

    1) Do leadership skills always (or even often) have a direct correlation with physical stature, or are leadership skills based more in skills like eloquence, ability to read people and manipulate popular opinion, and strategy?

    2) Do you believe women have less capacity for reason than men?

    3) Does the opinion of a man carry more weight for you than the opinion of a woman?

    4) Is a positive trait for one sex (leadership, nurturing ability, protectiveness, gentleness, etc.) a negative trait when found in the other sex?

    5) Do you believe that men with natural talents that are more “feminine” should try to stamp them out and conform to traditional stereotypes, and should women with natural talents that are more “masculine” try to stamp them out and conform to traditional stereotypes?

    6) If counsel on families is “one size fits all,” what need is there for personal revelation?

    7) Which is of God, hierarchy in marriage or equal partnership?

    • Rob Osborn says:

      #1. History has proven that men are generally the ones who lead in most situations. Why is this? Besides God setting it up this way in his kingdom, I would assume that a man’s genetic differences make up this reason why. History doesn’t lie. This doesn’t mean women lack leadership ability or the skill required, it just means that there are other attributes physically that make men natural leaders in most situations that cause others to fall in line and capitulate if in case it is needed.

      #2. It depends on the situation. For instance- a man’s ability to reason in certain situations is based heavily on testosterone and other chemicals, especially if life or limb is in danger. A man will obviously use readon differently than a woman in this situation. Men and women do reason differently. Studies have shown that both male and female brains process information differently based on their genetic differences.

      #3. It all depends on the situation at hand. For instance, if we are about to go to war in a bloody hand to hand combat, the opinion of a man President vs. A woman president carries more weight to me. On the other hand, on how to properly care for the elderly, I would rather have a woman’s opinion.

      #4. Men and woman have different strengths and abilities. We will leave that one at that.

      #5. There is all different shades of masculinity and feminism in both sexes. But there is generally still a wide separation between men and women regardless of how much they differ. Some men aren’t fit for hand to hand combat just as some women aren’t fit for having ten kids to care for.

      #6. Everyone us entitled to personal revelation. Not sure what you are asking.

      #7. To “PRESIDE” doesn’t mean hierarchy. We must get over worldly status titles that we believe leads to special entitlement. Me and my wife are one in thought, purpose and desire. We are extensions of each other. Nevertheless, the father presides in the home due to his role. We could get in a pissin contest as to what is more important, but the truth is God values both men and women as equally important and equally vital to each other in order to be saved. A true godly relationship is where husband and wife come together and become one flesh. Just because men make better leaders and protectors in society than women doesn’t mean we are better or more important, it just shows the wisdom of the system of godliness.

      I think the greatest threat women see in the situation is it bothers them that men preside and they want equal representation in leadership. Because of worldliness, we have placed a mythical hierarchy on this leadership capacity. But we must remember the situation as to why leadership exists and how it effects certain aspects of society which I will post next as this is getting too long.

  26. Rob Osborn says:

    Leadership in society and in God’s kingdom rests heavily upon the need for protection and welfare- taking care of needs physically. Side by side, women and men work together in society and in the Kingdom of God. But, men are given the role as provider due to his greater ability and capacity to physically work and accomplish more production. Ever been to a roof raising party? One will generally note that the overwhelming majority of workers are men. Why? Because of the high physical demands of the tasks at hand and the importance of speed and production to get the job done efficiently and effectively. Because of this fact, the people generally in charge are usually men also because they can work and relate alongside their fellow men. Now, because the majority of work on earth relates to our safety and welfare, and because these are directly related to the physical demands of hard labor, men will generally make up this workforce and thus why men will generally also be the leaders in these positions.

    Now, I have a sister who has ten children. For the last 20 years she has been busy as a homemaker while her husband has been out in society working very hard to provide for his families welfare and protection. In this situation, which is better suited to be out in society to make decisions in a leadership capacity on a daily basis? Of course it’s going to be the husband as the wife is wholly involved with the delicate process of bearing and raising children. Feminists on the extreme side have acknowledged that the bearing of children gets in the way of their agenda because it disables their capacity to be in leadership ability 365 days a year, year after year. This is also why some extreme feminist groups have also pushed for lesbianism as a means to stop childbirth. Also as part of the feminist agenda has been the push for birth control and abortion so that sex doesn’t lead to childbirth which would limit a woman’s capacity to work and lead in the workplace. God never commanded the wife in marriage to be the provider though, that’s the man’s main role.

    Another main aspect in society with leadership is that men naturally have the muscle to back up their voice of authority, which by nature enforces their authority in the capacity of enforcing laws of protection and guidance. In most situations I know, a missing father in a home is the catalyst for lawlessness. Studies have shown over and over again that a home needs an active father that enforces the rules and laws in a home. Studies also show that children are more likely to abide by the rules of the house when the Father is present in the home. The overwhelming majority of inmates incarcerated grew up in fatherless homes.

    Even growing up, we knew we could get away with disobedience and talking back to our mother to some degree. But, it was the fear of father and his authority that kept us in line. There is actual truth in the infamous line many a mother has said along the lines of “just wait till your father gets home”. There is just something about the combination of a protective father who has a deep strong voice combined with height and muscle that makes him the authoritive figure in the home. Once again, history and statistics both show the validity of the Father as the authoritive head in the home due to his natural physical traits. And, once again, feminists have surged forward to try to change or equalize themselves in this capacity by wearing manly clothes and appearing on the surface to mimick man’s physicality and appearance in the workplace.

    To prove a point one day at work on a job that wasn’t progressing, I belted out in a loud deep authoritive voice that a job needed to get going. The sheer power alone caused everyone to take notice and listen and was the ultimate catalyst for progress. sometimes we are motivated by doing what’s right and godly. Most of the time though, we need to be prodded and nothing seems to work as good as a loud deep voiced firm authority figure that is naturally attributed to a man’s genetic makeup. It’s really no wonder then why, when push comes to shove, in pretty much any home, the father is way more persuasive in enforcing law than the mother. We really can’t dismiss that fact of reality can we?

    • nrc42 says:

      Frankly, Rob, I don’t really care enough anymore. I think that, essentially, we have reached a point where nothing will help the productivity of this discussion. It is difficult to have a reasonable discussion when we have such different fundamental views regarding the distinctions and lack thereof between the sexes. I believe that men and women have equal capacity for reason and agency, equal potential to serve and influence for good in all spheres, that they should have equal opportunities, that leadership skills are independent of physical stature, and that marriage should be an equal partnership with no party “leading” or “presiding over” another. From what I’ve read, you seem to disagree on all of these counts. I would hazard a guess that you are another well-meaning but rather older man, because most of your views correlate with the popular opinions (particularly in the Church) of a few decades ago. This feels a lot like similar discussions I have had with my grandfather. Times are changing and so is scientific consensus on psychological differences between the sexes. Many studies you are quoting are outdated.

      At any rate, I know I won’t be changing my mind on this any time soon. I cannot deny the personal revelation I have had that my worth and potential is not limited to, by, or because of my sex. However, you seem set in your ways and I doubt that you are going to change your mind either, so further discussion seems nonproductive.

      I am on vacation at the moment, am headed to Disneyland tomorrow, and would much prefer to interact with Mickey Mouse than with you at this point – no offense. Have a nice week. You comment here fairly often, so we’ll probably debate again.

      • Rob Osborn says:

        I’m barely a middle aged man (42) who sees the wisdom of God, the scriptures, modern prophets coupled with history and reality. It’s a no brainer, men and women are equal yet at the same time are different in their divine roles. Men are to preside in the home. This isn’t my doctrine, it’s God’s and his wisdom. We can choose to follow the counsel of our prophets and the Proclamation, and be saved, or we can choose to disown them and doctrine, wander into strange paths and be lost…

  27. Rob Osborne, it looks like most of your comments are grounded in a belief that men are genetically engineered to be good leaders, that women are not good leaders, and that male domination throughout history can be attributed to God’s will–an odd assertion when we know that much of that historical male domination was accomplished through rape, slavery and other acts of violence.

    Fortunately, many men recognize that leadership skills are not inherently masculine, do not feel threatened by women with leadership skills and are happy to share power with women because they respect women as equals. I hope some of these men are among those who read my policy suggestions.

    I appreciate your time in reading my suggestions, but I do not recommend that you keep trying to convert our readers to your way of thinking with long comments telling women what you believe you know about women’s talents and attributes or lack thereof. Such talk from men about female stereotypes is offensive to women, who happen to be our largest block of readers.

    • Rob Osborn says:

      I appreciate the dialogue. You would be surprised how many men frequent this blog. Most of the time I refrain from saying anything because I feel so outnumbered.
      It bothers me that LDS are falling away into a world of decay where feminism is taking over, men are no longer seen as the authority or “father figure” in the home. Divorce, children born into fatherless homes, absent fathers, etc, are increasing. Along with that we have an increase in crime, gender identity issues, suicides, etc. I believe a lot of these problems have arisen due to the forgotten role of traditional mother and father in the home.
      I have brought up quite a few things no one here is willing to address- facts about gender differences that some here completely are unwilling to address. That’s the problem with today’s feminism in my opinion. They are not willing to address the real facts.

      • Pete says:

        I concede that you are right, that men can dunk basketballs at a much higher rate than women. If the church was looking for basketball dunking instructors, I suspect that many more men would be called than women. But how, exactly, does that translate to spiritual authority and leadership?

        There are plenty of questions and issues here that you have not addressed. I asked you about your thoughts on the function of Heavenly Mother in our doctrine. Please enlighten me.

  28. nrc42 says:

    Dang it. I told myself I wouldn’t engage anymore.

    I think you’ll find that your “real facts” are not as concrete as you think they are. Your views are extreme even for mainstream Church members.

    • Rob Osborn says:

      I am pretty sure that my views are traditionally “mormon” and on line with traditional mormon thought. This blog doesn’t represent typical mormon thought.

      • nrc42 says:

        I’m aware that this blog doesn’t represent mainstream Mormon thought, Rob, but neither do you. Most Church members I know are against female ordination, but they value equal partnership in marriage amd don’t doubt the intelligence or leadership capabilities of women nearly as much as you do. I guess if you want to define “traditional” Mormon thought as “Mormon thought circa 1972,” I suppose I can see how your views are “traditional.”

    • Ziff says:

      NRC42, you may not be able to hear it through the interwebs, but I am cheering for you every time you shoot down another pile of baloney dispensed by Rob Osborn. Thank you for taking him on!

  29. Rob Osborn says:

    Pete,
    I am not exactly sure on how heaven runs. We do have some clue because o the doctrine of the Proclamation In regards to gender as an eternal identity. Heavenly Mother is not readily spoken of or taught directly very much. Not sure exactly why but I would bet there is divine wisdom for why.

    By divine design fathers are to preside. That is what we are taught.

  1. September 1, 2015

    […] Policy Suggestions […]

  2. January 17, 2016

    […] 5. April Young Bennet’s (content now removed, but you can still read the comments) Policy Suggestions for a Values-based Approach to Women-friendly Policy in the LDS Church. […]

Leave a Reply