Waiting for Our Day to Come

Posted by on April 28, 2013 in faith, feminism, leadership, Mormon women, prayer, priesthood, women | 7 comments

After much thought and prayer and many discussions with friends and family, I posted my profile on Ordain Women.org.  I believe that now is the time to be thoughtful and prayerful about Priesthood and ask God what He desires for His daughters in our modern-day church. I think we should seek understanding about a dual Priesthood: just as men and women are both involved with procreation – they are both involved with priesthood.

When others learn that I have posted this profile, many questions and comments follow.  The majority of these comments seem to fall in three areas, which I will address below in my own little “frequently asked questions” blog post and poll today.

1. Women’s ordination leading to LDS men’s inactivity.

My simple response to this concern is “I don’t think we will lose our men” – at least not the good men I know.  Some of the best men I know are Mormon men – and I don’t envision my brother-in-laws or my current ward brothers walking away from the church.  I think they will attend their children’s baptisms even if their wives are preforming the ordinance.  Ordaining women does not mean un-ordaining men.  We are adding sisterhood to the strong brotherhood that already exists.

My second, somewhat more complex response is: “Maybe we’ll lose some of our men.  And maybe we’ll lose our women too.” We are currently losing both men and women to inactivity.  Many of those individuals will continue to struggle if women are ordained, but I’m not convinced the numbers will be higher than what we face currently. Concern over men’s activity rates, while important, is not a reason to withhold ordination to all worthy members of the church.  I see dual ordination as a way to work together for the benefit of all.  And when we no longer have to use all our “talk about Priesthood time” splitting roles and justifying women’s peripheral involvement, then we can really explore Priesthood and learn more fully about its immense power.

2. Women’s ordination leading to more work for LDS women.

Many LDS women (that I talk to) feel overworked in the church already – and worry that ordination will only add to the load.  And for some women – maybe it will, but I think for most – probably not.  Ordination brings more hands to the table, not fewer.  There is lot of work to be done in the Kingdom of God – some of it is logistical, some of it is administrative, some of it involves spiritual revelation, and some of it is around blessings and ordinations.  Work rotates within these areas and among people.  Callings rotate. It seems to me that families will spend more time together if the work is spread among more people – including single women.  Perhaps in some homes a mother will spend extra time at church meetings for a few years while the father watches over children on Sunday morning.  And perhaps in other homes, the dinner hour will be less interrupted because Brother Smith can call me (a single sister) to give a blessing rather than the father of a family.

3. Am I questioning church leadership by supporting women’s ordination?

For me, this answer is a firm “no”. I love the church; I trust and sustain its leaders.  I am not questioning either, I am simply giving voice to something I also believe: women’s ordination. My friend, Carri, who is an inspiration to me on the subject of LDS women writes, “for many years I tried to make the status of women in the Church make sense. I tried to find ways to justify it – which is where I believe the vast majority of the Church is now, believing it’s right because it is … but it isn’t necessary right, it just is.”

Nephi also has some interesting thoughts on the matter: 1 Nephi Chapter 25.  I quote from Carri again, “One of the things I find most intriguing about Nephi is how often he feels constrained by the smallness of his world. He is so aware of how much power and knowledge there is to be had, but in his day-to-day life, he is pestered constantly by simple-mindedness and weakness. I imagine him feeling tethered to earth when his vision is so much greater.

“And notwithstanding we believe in Christ, we keep the law of Moses, and look forward with steadfastness unto Christ, until the law shall be fulfilled. For this end was the law given; wherefore, the law hath become dead unto us, and we are made alive in Christ because of our faith; yet we keep the law because of the commandments.” 

They keep the “dead law” because that is the commandment they have. They speak of the higher law as they live the lesser one.  Nephi was ready to be Christian 600 years before Christ came. He knew the law of Moses was not complete and that he and generations of his posterity would be subject to living it. But he spoke of the higher law, which he knew someday would come. And he rejoiced in it.”

 

I feel like Nephi: I am living the law and commandments we have.  I am serving in ways that are given me.  And I’m waiting for what I believe is the birthright of all the worthy sons and daughters of God – to act in His name with Priesthood power.  I claim that birthright, even as I wait for the actual ordination  … in the Lord’s time.  “I believe all that God has revealed, all the He does now reveal, and … that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” (Ninth Article of Faith)

There are several schools of thought on the issue of woman’s ordination – or Goalposts as John-Charles Duffy calls them.  Where do you fall?

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7 Comments

  1. If men would go inactive in droves because women get the priesthood, then we have some serious work to do in the current priesthood quorums about testimony building. If the foundation of the majority of men’s testimony is that they are special in the kingdom of God because women are less special then that is a huge huge issue. If what makes the priesthood important is that half the church cannot have it, then we need to go back and have about a bazillion more lessons for the priesthood holders about the priesthood.

    As it happens, however, I have more faith in the men of the church than that. I don’t think that most men find meaning and their testimonies based entirely on exclusion. Exclusion is a fact, but not the basis of belief.

    As for the more work thing, I think that would be a yes and no type of situation like you describe. If a woman were called as Bishop yes it would mean a lot more work for her and her family, but it would also shift the balance. It would mean that if you had a worthy, faithful, hardworking husband you weren’t necessarily condemned to never see him on the sabbath again as he faithfully served in ever more demanding callings, becasue there would be twice as many willing people to choose from. Maybe you wouldn’t have to hold the same calling forever and ever becasue there would be other candidates.

    • “If the foundation of the majority of men’s testimony is that they are special in the kingdom of God because women are less special then that is a huge huge issue.”

      Amen, Em. If this is a real reason, it’s seems totally misguided to cater to men’s insecurities that way. If it’s true that men are going to leave, then we need to work on men having something to hang onto than “I’m in a club where there are NO GURLZ ALLOWED.”

  2. These responses are brilliant, Suzette. Thank you so much for posting them. I will be returning to this post again and again, as people continue to ask me about my stance on the women’s ordination issue.

  3. I really admire your openness with your family, friends and church leaders about the issue of women’s ordination. Lorie Winder has been saying that it will not happen until the idea becomes familiar. People need to talk about it.

  4. Suzette what a beautiful profile & post. I get these questions so frequently, I’m glad I now have honest, concise answers I can just point people to!

  5. What a beautiful parallel – Nephi awaiting the New Tesament (New Covenant) to come! Thank you Suzette!

    I have spoken with many men about this issue and not all agree with the OW movement, but every single one has said if President Monson announced tomorrow that women would be ordained, they would be thrilled. One member of a bishopric said “I hope it happens soon – we could use some help!” He is a young oeverworked and overstressed father and could return home and be with his sweet little family that needs more of his time while a wise grandma takes his place in the bishopric!

    What could possibly be wrong with doubling the priesthood power on the earth?

    As to the argument that we might lose members – I think the opposite will happen. Marlin Jensen’s research showed that people, especially those under 30, are leaving the church in droves right now as it is. With half of them citing gender inequality as a significant reason – I believe those people will return and strnegthen the church!

    There were members who left the church because the priesthood was extended to all worthy males in 1978. But it was still the right thing to do.

  6. Great points, Suzette! Regarding your first point, I would personally rather my wife be the one to baptize the kids. Being an ordinance performer stresses me out! :)

    Also, I totally agree with your second point. As you said so well, “Ordination brings more hands to the table, not fewer. ” It seems to me that if there are any arbitrary constraints on who gets to hold which callings, the work of callings will end up being distributed in a way that piles more on fewer people than is necessary. Freeing women up to hold all the callings we currently bar them from (bishopric, clerks, high council, quorum leaders and instructors, SS presidency, etc.) and, heck, freeing men up to hold callings we currently bar them from (primary presidency) should result in much better sharing of the church work load.

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