The Golden Rule
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.
Christ taught the Golden Rule: “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men [or women] should do to you, do ye even so to them.” (Matthew 7:12) However, some church policies, administered by men, exempt women from protections that men themselves enjoy.
A bishop may not excommunicate a man, but he may excommunicate a woman. It takes 15 individuals to excommunicate a man, several of which are assigned to “stand up in behalf of the accused, and prevent insult and injustice” (D&C 102) but only four men are required to excommunicate a woman, none of which are under any obligation to advocate for the accused woman. 
Church policy calls for pregnant women to be disciplined more strictly than other people who commit the same sins—including the men who impregnate them. Disciplinary councils for adultery and fornication are optional–unless the sin is “widely known.” Unlike a man’s paternity, a woman’s pregnancy will be widely known.
A man is never required to confess to a member of the opposite sex about personal issues such as his underwear and personal chastity but a woman is interviewed exclusively by members of the opposite sex. Church policy dictates that only men may call a disciplinary council, staff the council, and judge the outcome but both men and women may be summoned to disciplinary councils. While men are tried by peers of their own sex, women are tried exclusively by people of the opposite sex.
The Church recently ended a policy of refusing to hire women—but not men—with children under 18 and firing female seminary and institute teachers for giving birth. “This change makes it possible for families to decide what best meets their needs as it relates to mothers working while raising children,” said the announcement.  However, a similar policy continues to forbid American and Canadian mothers with minor children at home from serving as temple ordinance workers while no such restriction exists for fathers.
Male widowers may be sealed to their second spouses for eternity in the temple, while female widows are denied the opportunity to be sealed again during their lifetime without cancelling their sealings to their departed husbands—a traumatizing option to a woman who loves both her departed husband and new husband equally. Such restrictions may limit the courtship opportunities for widowed women, since a man who marries a widowed woman will likely have to forgo the opportunity for a temple sealing. Since deceased women may be sealed to more than one man, there does not appear to be an eternal doctrinal imperative for differential treatment.
 These policies differentiate between Melchizedek priesthood holders and other members. Virtually all men who have been active LDS church members for any portion of their adult lives are ordained to the Melchizedek priesthood. All women are banned from the Melchizedek priesthood. Hence, with a few exceptions, these polices discriminate solely on the basis of sex.
 New change allows young moms, divorced members to teach Mormon seminary, The Salt Lake Tribune, 11/14/2014. http://www.sltrib.com/news/lds/1824832-155/women-says-church-seminary-mormon-lds
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 will become available at the following links when they are posted:
|The Golden Rule|
|Protecting the Vulnerable|
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