Five More LDS Church Discipline Policies That Affect Women Unequally

lady justiceThe fact that Mormon women are subject to a disciplinary system in which only men may call disciplinary councils, staff the councils, and judge their outcomes is more than enough to raise suspicion about the justice of this system for women.  (See this post for more about that: Church Discipline: Women Disciplined by Men.)  However, here are five other church disciplinary policies that have concerning implications for women.

1. A bishop may not excommunicate a man but he may excommunicate a woman.* If a man is summoned to a disciplinary council at the bishop’s level, he may be reassured that excommunication will not be on the table.  A woman has no such reassurance.

2. It takes 15 individuals to excommunicate a man, while only four are required to excommunicate a woman.* There may be advantages for women who are excommunicated in Bishopric councils as opposed to Stake councils. Testifying before four men who are members of your own ward may be less intimidating than testifying before 15 men, at least some of whom are strangers, and the risk of confidentiality breach naturally increases with the number of people involved in the process. However, smaller groups have their own risks. Personal biases are less likely to be balanced among small numbers and deviations from protocol have fewer witnesses. In either case, the final decision is made by one person alone instead of by consensus, but the stake president’s decision is informed by a larger number of opinions than a bishop’s.

Since women are excommunicated in a different venue than men, among different players and with different procedures, the outcomes will be different for men and women. Differential treatment does not yield the same results. Regardless of whether the different outcome is better or worse for women compared to men, the fact that it requires over three times as many human resources to end the membership of a man as opposed to a woman, and that a man may not be excommunicated at such low levels of church governance as a woman, suggests that a man’s membership is more valuable than a woman’s and that the church is more cautious about terminating a male membership.

3.  Church policy lends itself to stricter discipline for women who become pregnant than for men who commit the same sins. Disciplinary councils are optional for many transgressions including adultery and fornication but become mandatory if the transgression is “widely known.” A transgression resulting in pregnancy is widely known—but only for the female transgressor. If a man’s paternity is not “widely known,” discipline is optional. The “widely known” clause lends itself to situations like this one:

There was a pregnant girl in my Laurel class…The father was passing the sacrament while she wasn’t allowed to partake of it. Reference 1 

4.  Only men may read policies and procedures pertaining to church discipline, including the rights of the accused.  These policies are found in the Church Handbook of Instruction, Volume 1.  Access to this volume is restricted. Not all men may read these policies either, but many men have the opportunity at some point in their lives to serve in local callings where they are given access to this manual.  They may even gain additional insight into the process of church discipline by staffing church disciplinary councils. With the exception of the nine female General Auxiliary Leaders, no women are authorized to read the policies and procedures by which they may be disciplined. Reference 2

5. Single women may be disciplined for artificial insemination, although artificial insemination while single is not a sin.  A search of found no conference talks, official statements, curricula or any mention at all of artificial insemination except for a provision in the Church Handbook of Instruction Volume 2 that subjects single women who are inseminated to church discipline. So, apparently, we are not teaching that this action is a sin.  The rationale for holding disciplinary councils listed in the policy manual all relate to facilitating repentance or protecting victims of transgression; they do not apply to an action that has not been described as a transgression. Why would a woman be subjected to a disciplinary council when she has not committed a sin?  If punishing nontraditional choices is a valid reason to hold a disciplinary council, why is there no explanation of this in the rationale?

While insemination of a single woman is the only form of medically assisted reproduction that has a threat of discipline attached to it in church policy manuals, many others are noted as “strongly discouraged” and some local leaders insert themselves into these personal health decisions with the threat of discipline. Here are two examples:

I’ve been told by my stake president via my bishop that if I pursue being a gestational carrier that there will be disciplinary action because of the rules regarding insemination. I explained the difference between a traditional surrogate and a gestational carrier but it hasn’t made a difference.  Reference 3

The woman who was our surrogate was required by her bishop to write a letter of permission to the First Presidency. She had to lay out details about me, which made me uncomfortable, and how and if the spirit was directing her to do this. Her husband had to also write a letter giving his permission for her to be a surrogate, so long as the First Presidency approved. The letters were written and given to the bishop, for him to make notes, then sent to the Stake President. The Stake President also read the letters, added his notes and forwarded to the First Presidency. With all of this documentation, they had a verbal approval from the First Presidency- akin to “If the Bishop is okay with it, then we won’t challenge his (his) inspiration.” This was not for me, per se, but my reproductive history was required by a bishop to be a part of the whole thing, meaning there are strangers that are not scientists or doctors who know very intimate information about me and judged *my friend* on that information.



*The policy forbidding bishops from excommunicating men specifically refer to men with Melchizedek priesthood. 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, this policy discriminates solely on the basis of sex.


April Young Bennett

April Young Bennett is the author of the Ask a Suffragist book series and host of the Religious Feminism Podcast. Learn more about April at

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77 Responses

  1. anon says:

    Interesting. It’s bothersome to me that there are church policies discouraged/forbidden by the handbook (surrogacy, permanent birth control) that affect women and their choices, but we have no knowledge of them. Certainly never discussed over the pulpit, and how many people discuss their vasectomy plans first with the bishop to see what he thinks?

    • Peter says:

      Just ask to read any of the Church Handbooks. They’ll let you read them. Church Handbook 2 is on line at

    • bladybug says:

      I did not bother to get my bishop’s permission when I had a hysterectomy. My husband and I had been discussion it for years as something that I would do when we were done having kids. When it became a medical necessity (for various reasons) I made the appointment to have it done and informed my husband afterwards when it would be. He was just fine with it, and as far as I am concerned it was NEVER the business of anyone but me and my husband, when and why it was done.

  2. TopHat says:

    I recently learned from my husband who has access to CH1 that if you aren’t comfortable with your bishop doing your disciplinary counsel, you can request a stake council. That’s the sorts of information that should be available to everyone who goes through a council but only the leadership have access to it!

    • X2 Dora says:

      That’s interesting to me. However, there is no next step. If you aren’t comfortable with your stake president, there is no one else to whom you can turn to. Church leadership won’t interfere with a stake president unless the PR consequences are dire.

      • lyle says:

        A ward council can be appealed within 30 days to the Stake President, and a Stake council can be appealed similarly to the 1st Presidency of the Church. You are informed of this availability in the letter of the results of a disciplinary council at either level.

  3. Andrea says:

    Wow. A member my whole life and had no idea. Thank you for this post April.

    “There was a pregnant girl in my Laurel class…The father was passing the sacrament while she wasn’t allowed to partake of it.”

    In my ward growing up, a very popular teen boy got 2 different girls pregnant, and then went on a mission while they dropped out of school and were shamed. People said, “Well, he repented.”

    I wish my weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth would change something.

    • Martine says:

      Andrea, repenting of bringing 2 lives into the world without a family structure would have meant providing for their upbringing, I’m sure you agree. How did a bishop and Stake President EVER think that going on a mission was the preferred outcome?

      How was that hidden from the FP and Q12 and missionary dept on his application? Boggles the mind.

      • Douglas L Self says:

        This is VERY surprising, as generally the Church’s policy of a young PH holder who has fathered a child is NOT eligible to serve a mission, but must instead tend to the needs of his offspring, wbich may or may not include marriageto the mother. Thankfully bishops have “done a 180” re: unwed fatherhood; years ago a quick “temporal” marriage was pushed on the couple as a necessary part of their ‘repent’. Now the boy and the girl are usually discouraged from such an inpromptu marriage; the boy is to seek employment and pay child support, and participate where possible in the upbringing of his child. However, if the girl is still a minor, her parent (s) may refuse to let him see their daughter and/or grandchild (ren).

    • David says:

      There is something wrong with that. I know for a fact that you ***CAN NOT*** go on a mission if you have ever fathered a child. Regardless if the child made it to birth or not, you ***CAN NOT*** go on a mission. I have a lot of doubt about your claim, as this policy has been around for a very long time. If he did go on a mission, then I’m assuming the bishop and stake president had no idea that this happened.

      • Holly says:

        You have no basis for that assumption, David. If others in the ward knew, how would the bishop manage to remain ignorant–unless he wanted to?

        For many years, it was standard practice to simply move young men through the priesthood offices. In my ward, my mother made a stir when she raised her hand to show that she was opposed to giving the Aaronic priesthood to a young man who caught molesting his neighbor’s very young daughter. It freaked everyone out–no one remembered anyone not simply routinely agreeing to every vote that came along.

        She was asked about her vote after the meeting and reminded the bishop and his counselors about the molestation. They all knew about it, of course–it just hadn’t occurred to them that that was a valid reason not to let the kid pass the sacrament.

        they did decide not to give him the Aaronic priesthood at that time.

      • Lisa says:

        My female roommate served a full time mission after having a baby. She gave the baby up for adoption to her parents. So people are allowed to go on missions even after having children.

      • Emily U says:

        David, I know for a fact that men HAVE gone on missions who have fathered children. Whose bishops knew about it. They made exceptions.

      • Disappointed Ex-Mo Lady says:

        That isn’t true, at least not anymore. It’s up to your bishop/stake president.

        I know this because my brother fathered a child (the girl miscarried) and he’s still being pressured to serve a mission. He doesn’t even WANT to. However, when I DID want to go on a mission, I had to endure several interviews regarding two sexual partners I’d had as a teenager and already repented for. In the end they decided I had to wait even longer. I never went.

    • Peter says:

      Unfortunately none of this can be verified. If a YM gets a girl pregnant he is not allowed to go on a mission.

    • Peter says:

      I doubt it happened as you say. YM that get a girl pregnant whether the baby is born or not cannot serve.

  4. Jessica F says:

    Every woman should have a bootleg copy of handbook one. Easily found via google.

  5. bones says:

    I have a pdf copy of Handbook #1 and agree with Jessica that everyone should have a copy. When I was YW president, I would even refer to it in meetings with the bishop. If anyone would ask where I got a copy, I’d casually answer that you can find anything on the internet and then move on. Don’t let anyone have more knowledge than you–it’s a first step to taking back power.

    • Peter says:

      Just ask to read the handbooks. It’s as easy as that. They let everyone look at them. You just can’t copy them.
      Despite your dramatic story it cannot be verified. The web makes many bold and brave and truth gets distorted.

  6. Chris says:

    April, you are accurate and insightful in you assessment of Church discipline inequities. Thank you for describing them so articulately. Hopefully, someone will share this article with those in general Church leadership and our Church leaders will become aware of the needless suffering and heartbreak that current Church policies create in the lives of good women. I pray for the day when the Church will use the Savior’s example in dealing with those who struggle. “Neither do I condemn thee. Go and sin no more.”

    Time and time again, I have observed good women severely disciplined while sexual perpetrators have gone unpunished by the Church. This needs to stop!

    • Douglas L Self says:

      It’s been my experience that usually it’s the males that are dealt with more harshly for transgressions. However, often it’s not a simple issue of gender bias but rather “Cliquishness”…the errant offspring of a popular local leader often gets away with “moider”, while someone obscure or perceived to be an ‘outsider’ is given harsh and insensitive treatment, with often no semblance of due process or regard for rules of evidence. “Inspiration” becomes an excuse to act upon prejudices.

  7. James says:

    #2 is incorrect in a couple of ways. Technically, it’s not a male/female issue it’s a Melchizedek priesthood holder/non Melc Phood holder. The Stake Pres holds the keys of the Melch Phood. A Bishop and SP will confer on a MP holder situation and the Stake will be the venue if the likely outcome will be excom.
    Also, a Stake council does not require the decision of 15 to excom. The 15 discuss the issue and then the Stake Presidency retires for further discussion and prayer. They return and announce and explain their decision and asks if the HC concurs. Additional discussion may take place but when all is said and done it is the SPresidency’s decision. 3 not 15
    Also something you and your readers should know, if they don’t, is that the Handbook does state that the primary consideration in applying (or not) formal or informal discipline is what is in the best interest of the individual. Secondary, is protecting the Church, which is where the “widely known” consideration comes in. Someone who demonstrates a truly repentent attitude would, in my experience, not likely require formal discipline except in the most grievous circumstances. What should never be “widely known” is the outcome of the council.
    In your scenario in #3 if i was bishop and both individuals were in my ward, if i opted for a council it would be 2 councils. If only 1 was in my ward and i opted for a council i would call the bishop of the other individual and make sure he was aware of the situation and let him know i was a convening a council.
    #4 a Bishop or SP will always meet with a member, sometimes several times, before a decision is made to convene a council. During those 1 on 1 visits the Bishop or SP will inform the person not only of his/her rights in a council but also of how it will proceed and be conducted
    Former Bishop and High Councilor

    • Ziff says:

      Regarding your first point, see the endnote.

    • April says:

      James, with regards to your second point, you are misrepresenting what I said. It takes 15 people to excommunicate a man because the man cannot be excommunicated until a council of 15 men has convened for discipline. You seem concerned that I do not understand this process, so let me explain it to assuage your concerns. At the stake level, the High Councilmen are given the opportunity after evidence is presented to “present their views of the matter” to the SP for his consideration. Then the SP deliberates with his counselors alone. The counselors are supposed to “sustain” the SP’s decision, but they may try to influence him. Then the SP presents the decision to the High Council. If someone on the High Council objects, they may try to persuade the SP to change his mind, and if the SP decides to reconsider, he may, but he is under no obligation to do so.

      With regards to scenario 3, I am glad that you feel that you would have handled the situation better if it had hypothetically landed in your lap instead of what actually happened in real life. My point in writing this series of posts was not to say that these situations are never handled well, but rather to point out systemic flaws and real life examples that illustrate these flaws.

      With regards to whether the Bishop or SP would meet with the person and explain their rights, I would certainly hope so, but I have carefully studied Section 6, CHIv1 (2010) Church Discipline and Name Removal, and have found no statement mandating that course of action. If you know where to find such a mandate, please offer the reference. I would love to have such a reference. I know from speaking to individuals that have had opportunities to participate in these councils, that many of them do report that in their local wards the accused transgressor is educated on their rights by the bishop, and others report that such education does not happen in their local areas. My concern with restricting access to the policy manual is that there is no safeguard against unrighteous dominion. For example, perhaps someone has a bishop who is exercising unrighteous dominion. She would prefer not to be disciplined by him and according to the Handbook she is not allowed to read, she has the right to choose to have a stake council instead. However, she will only find out about that right if her bishop, the same one who is exercising unrighteous dominion over her, chooses to tell her that she is allowed to go over his head. See the problem here?

      -Someone who has never been a bishop or high councilor, because I am a woman, but that does not make my views less valid

      • John says:

        Except in the case of Melk. Priest Full time missionaries. Mission President + 2 HP can do the whole thing.

      • Peter says:

        Just ask to read the handbooks. It’s as easy as that. Any one can read them, just no copying.
        Despite your dramatic stories they cannot be verified. The web makes many bold and brave and truth gets distorted.

        BTW it is high councilor

      • Douglas L Self says:

        No one has invalidated your views because you’re female. Please remove that 4 x 12 “chip” from your shoulder.

  8. Melody says:

    Thank you for another thoughtful post. . . I found myself audibly sighing while I read. Same with the comments. When these issues are put forth so clearly, it’s pretty depressing, frankly.

    But I’ve always been a fan of shining the light of truth on everything, no matter how unpleasant the scene may be. If it’s true, we shouldn’t be affraid to see it. For “whatsoever is truth is light, and whatsoever is light is Spirit, even the Spirit of Jesus Christ.” God sees all of the ugliness in the world. And once we begin to see it, we have a sacred obligation to respond. Thanks for doing your part, April.

    • Caroline says:

      What Melody said. Thanks for another important post, April.

    • Peter says:

      If only she were more accurate. The references are” here say” at best and possibly made up and do not follow policies in practice or in the handbooks. YM fathering a child cannot serve a mission.
      Ask to read the manuals. Anyone can read them, just no copying.
      It is a high councilor not high councilman. (Been that way for over 30 years)

  9. Mary says:

    I didn’t know this stuff & I find it nauseating. This is so disturbing on many levels. I wish church would focus on the tenets of the gospel and not all this judgemental bullshit!!!

    • Peter says:

      The Church does focus on the gospel. It is the occasional self righteous blogging that over states, distorts, and misrepresents things as they are. The Church has to maintain the integrity of the Church and protect innocent people. Disciplinary councils are no fun. Take a lot of time and wear you down. They are necessary to help folks return.

  10. Sonya Brannock says:


  11. Tom says:

    One aspect not addressed here is the different ways church discipline is applied to active Melchizedek priesthood holders and to women. I sat on a disciplinary council for woman where the outcome was a formal probation. Her partner in the transgression, an active M.P. holder, was excommunicated. He complained to the stake president about the inequity of the two decisions, but to no avail.

    My point is this: while some may consider the M.P./stake disciplinary council v. Female member/ Bishop’s disciplinary council another example of patriarchal oppression, from my perspective (having sat on several disciplinary councils for both men and women) I have often thought I would rather be female than male if I had to receive church discipline.

    • Rachel says:

      Was the distinction really a Melchezedek vs. non-Melchezedek one, rather than an endowed/non-endowed?

    • Satsuki says:

      Really? I was excommunicated “as an example” but my MP holding boyfriend wasn’t disciplined in any fashion whatsoever. The attitude was that “men have needs”.

      • Peter says:

        While your snippet of “story” seems dramatic it unfortunately cannot be verified.
        I doubt it happened or happened as you hint.
        You are saying 15 men actually said “men have needs”. Or 4 men in a local council.
        Very , very suspicious

      • mraynes says:

        This comment is completely out of line, Peter. The Exponent is a forum for women to share their stories and experiences. We strive to make this a safe place for people to share–nobody gets to come here and invalidate a woman’s experience and basically call them a liar. This is an outright violation of our comment policy. You can’t prove that this experience didn’t happen to Satsuki so stick to your own personal experience. If you can’t do that you will be banned.

      • Douglas L Self says:

        I’m calling BS on the retort, “men have needs” as license to flagrantly violate the Law of Chastity. Most bishops and SPs that I’ve would be utterly shocked if a brother gave that pathetic, self-serving excuse, and when they’d regained composure, would likely rebuke that brother. That would all but seal his “fate.”

  12. Corey says:

    Yes, great post. One more thing: This may be coming from a pro-ordain women standpoint, or at least give more power to the RSP, but I think there is a much more basic disadvantage to add to this list. If it is easier for a man to speak to a man and a little more uncomfortable for a woman to speak to a man, and I would say in the LDS culture it absolutely is, then aren’t young men or men at a distinct advantage to go through the (arguably necessary) step of repentance of “speaking to your bishop” than a woman? When you need to confess your sins, or talk about your hardships, isn’t it a little but easier to make that appointment and go through that if you are a male?! So the atonement is open to all, but at certain and desperate times, it’s a tad easier to have access to it… For men. As it stands now.

  13. EFH says:

    This is very interesting. Thank you for doing this research to enlighten us.

    I can see that many policies are based on the culture of the 20th century and have not been updated. This gives me one more reason to value the work that all mormon feminist do across the board. It is necessary and very important.

    I do want to point out that on point number 2, I can see a reason for the number of men needed to excommunicate a woman being smaller that for excommunicating a man. It might be to make the woman a little more comfortable (if it is possible in such cases). I can imagine that if I stood in front of 15 men judging me for my sexual transgressions (for example), I would feel more scared than standing in front of 4 or 5. This difference in number of judges might be not because the sins of women are easier to judge or no need for many opinions is necessary. It might be due to the fact that since the church fulfills this administrative duties only through the lines of priesthood, then they are trying to feel the woman judged a little less exposed, if it is possible. So, this is one difference that doesn’t bother me. I do think that having women present at least when judging women, would be a better policy.

  14. Phil says:

    Most of the points can be ‘fixed’ with ordaining priesthood to women. Assuming that won’t happen in our life time, how you propose the church should promote more equality in the points you have made?

    • April says:

      Phil, I don’t like to assume that ordination of women won’t happen in my lifetime, because that is so depressing, but here are some of the easiest changes that could happen in the meantime, while we wait for that big, exciting change.

      Number 3 could easily be fixed by deleting the “widely known” clause. God knows all our sins–why is how many human people know relevant to the repentance process?

      Number 4 could partially be remedied by posting Handbook of Instruction Volume 1 on the Church website, just like Volume 2, and deleting the page that says only authorized users may read it.

      Number 5 could be remedied by deleting the threat of discipline for artificial insemination, or better yet (my personal preference), deleting all of the provisions that “strongly discourage” something and replacing them with statements like this, “The Church neither forbids nor encourages this course of action. Members are encouraged to make this a matter of personal prayer.”

      All of these changes are simple and impactful, but of course, they do not address the biggest issues of gender imbalance and potential for abuse. Many people have different ideas about the best ways to incorporate women into the process until women are ordained, to make it more fair (or eliminate it) and to add more safeguards against abuse. I am not advocating any one in particular here because these ideas warrant more serious study, and I myself am unsure of which of the many options would be best (although I am quite confident that having women confess before all-male panels is not the best option out there). I am hoping these posts will inspire more dialogue toward these solutions.

      • Paul says:

        It is saddening all the energy and efforts put into these type of things. Although, I personally stand in favor of the protection of women’s rights and gender equality, I think the general authorities have been clear when stating that man and woman were made different and that they complement each other.

        When encouraging this type of discomfort, you only promote the idea that what has God has decided that the role of the woman should is far from divine and even a burden. Thus, reinforcing and supporting the view of other men who also belittle woman’s divine role.

        If you invested as much time and energy in sincerely and prayerfully seeking to understand God’s wisdom on this matter, you would probably obtain the fulfillment that you so endearingly seek (as all of us).

        And please, don’t start saying that the policies are outdated or influenced by regressive thinking. If that is so, the Lord himself will change whatever needs to be changed (and we will all follow whatever he mandates). The church does not follow the thinking of the world but the thinking of the Lord.

      • TopHat says:

        Paul, your statement, “If you invested as much time and energy in sincerely and prayerfully seeking to understand God’s wisdom on this matter, you would probably obtain the fulfillment that you so endearingly seek (as all of us),” violates the clause in the comment policy against questioning others’ testimonies and dedication to the church. Please make sure you are familiar with it before commenting further.

      • X2 Dora says:

        I find Paul’s stance very contradictory. When I look at the D&C, what I see are people with questions, approaching deity or prophet for more truth and light than was available at the time. Even the 13th Article of Faith states that God will yet reveal many great and important things. The leaders and the members of the church exist in symbiosis. Through Joseph’s experience, we know that revelation isn’t only a top down process. We also see this in Spencer W. Kimball and the many members who asked about expanding priesthood and temple blessings.

        If anything, we should be asking *more* questions, but that can only happen with more understanding. Seriously, the students/disciples who don’t ask questions are generally those who don’t understand enough to know what they don’t know.

      • Paul says:

        1st: Keep please in mind the context during which the revelations of D&C were received, a time where the organization of the church itself was far from fully stablished. However, I do not oppose to the idea that we must constantly ask and question things. General authorities have continously taught in different moments that it is through meditation and questions that we can receive spiritual revelation. This is not the case of writing an article stating 5 more policies that affect women unequally, case I referred to with my comment.

        2nd: Small correction: it is not the 13th article of faith which states that but the 9th. Additionally, scriptures teach that any matter pertaining the whole church will be revealed through His servant, nothing to do with bottom up revelation. The examples mentioned do show that many things can trigger revelation (and so the scriptures show this), but ultimately, the Lord will speak His will through his servant. I am more than sure that the church leadership is well aware of your concerns regarding women and church policies, and if they are they have probably consulted the Lord on this. If aomething needa to be ammended, the Lord will do so through inspiration to His ordained servants and no one else.

        So please, I am not implying that we shouldn’t raise questions, on the contrary, ask the Lord, ponder the scriptures, the modern words of the prophets. In my opinion, this article is not a question but a statement, one so such a sensitive nature that could damage the faith of the members of the annointed servants of the Lord.

    • Hill says:

      I think the Episcopal church is ordaining women into the priesthood. Why not just go there. The only reason I can think of for staying in a church that does not do what you want, when another church does, is because you believe the first church is divinely directed by God and has the words of eternal life. If that is why you stay then accept that and sustain the prophet.

      It seems so strange that individuals struggle with such a basic principal. It is fundamental that either the prophet really is God’s mouth peace and we respond to his direction as though God spoke it directly (“whether by mine own voice, or by the voice of my servants, it is the same” (D&C 1:38). OR the counter position that we are more in tune about what revaluation should come than the prophet is. That of course means the prophet is not a prophet at all and the entire foundation of the church is a fraud. If the latter is the case, whether they grant the priesthood to women is moot because they have no authority or true priesthood to grant. If we reject the prophets, seers, and revelators, then we leave the Church because we have already rejected the Church. To stay is to live a lie and pretend we are something we are not. You just can’t have it both ways.

      • TopHat says:

        Hill, it is against our comment policy to question other peoples’ righteousness or beliefs. You don’t get to tell people how to believe here or act as if they don’t understand the gospel correctly.

  15. Hill says:

    Really ???

    You equate everything that is not the same as being unequal? Worse yet, you start with the assumption that it always unequal in favor of males. Anyone that knows church pol;icy and who has seen disciplinary councils from the inside knows that a far easier case could be made that they discriminate against Priesthood holders. The fact is however they discriminate against no one. They are structured as the Lord directed. If one does not have a spiritual witness that the Church is directed by a living prophet then they are not really members in the first place. Instead they embrace some other doctrine or faith and just continue to attend the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS or just like to call themselves Mormons. What makes one a fellow citizen among the saints however is embracing the covenants associated with the ordinances of the Gospel.

    Many of the post I read here contain obvious misinformation. Those who snipe ignorantly not only miss the point, they miss the opportunity to learn because they assume they know rather than seeking truth.

    • Plumsherry says:

      Hill, your negative comments are not exactly Christ like behavior. And while you insinuate ignorance and lack of understanding, you are simultaneously assuming the motivations, experiences, and knowledge of everyone else. You can not possibly know the reasons behind everyone’s opinions.

      I’m going to counter your two comments with my own experience and testify that there is certainly wielding of unrighteous dominion by some of these priesthood holders and even if the Church is true, it doesn’t mean it’s impossible for unworthy men to hold office. And my situation definitely would not have occurred had a single woman been involved. I was sexually assaulted and was punished for ‘my role’ in the abuse. You might try to rationalize this away and think that I must have done something wrong–it might be more important for you to maintain your constructs than to consider something that violates them. But its the truth–I was traumatized at the hands of a fellow member and re-traumatized by the men who declared they were ‘trying to help’. I went to these men in trust, expecting help and guidance, and instead was made out to be a ‘predator’ in need of discipline. Obviously what happened to me is wrong and not inspired, but it happened. There was no sympathy for my abuse and they held fast to the flawed and outdated belief that I was complicit because I didn’t ‘fight back enough’.

      God is infallible, men are not. Someone can still believe in the church and have hopes for its improvement. And while we disagree, I respect your right to believe in the church as you do. I just cannot agree with your methods of criteria for what makes a member and what doesn’t. Only Christ can judge that qualification.

    • shoemaker says:

      Here’s how you can tell that there is inequality. Let’s say you are on the verge of being conceived by your parents and God says to you, “my almost conceived little soal of a saint, here are the benefits of being a male in the church and of being a female in the church…and here are the negatives of each. Now you choose if you will be born male or female”.

      Which would you really choose? Truly imagine you don’t know what it is like to be the gender you currently are, and make an objective choice.

      Now, how do you think everyone else will choose?

      Here is another problem with the “equality” you say the church has: the complementarian’s view that women and men are equal but complimentary depends upon the male being perfect as Christ is perfect. If he is not, the experience will result in inequality. Complementarian viewpoints are great in theory, but poor in practice.

      The fact that there aren’t gazillions of blogs from males asserting they are treated unfairly due to their gender demonstrates to me that you have an inequality problem of major proportion.

      • Peter says:

        Not so. The reason there are not gazillions of posts is that most people “get” the reasons for not having women ordained. There are differences and women do have the responsibility for certain things and men for other things. Do ya think we like getting up early for meetings. Staying through more meetings than anyone in the world. We are asked to do it and we say yes

      • Ziff says:

        “Do ya think we like getting up early for meetings. Staying through more meetings than anyone in the world.”

        It’s nice to highlight the chose that meetings can be. That this is true does not take a way an iota from the fact that women’s powerlessness in the Church is harmful to them.

      • Douglas L Self says:

        You’re employing the logical fallacy of “Argument from Silence”, and you’re not correct that men don’t complain of “inequitable treatment”. They do, and their “inspired” PH leadership takes that to mean the “brother” is not repentant.

    • Peter says:

      You are correct.

  16. Victoria says:

    Great information to be aware of.

  17. leo says:

    Hi there, I’ve been searching for a copy of Handbook 1 but I’m not having any luck. If a copy were to magically appear in my email I would be very appreciative. leofibonacci AT hushmail DOT com

    Thank you! 😉

  18. leo says:

    Hi there, I’ve been searching for a copy of Handbook 1 but I’m not having any luck. If a copy were to magically appear in my email I would be very appreciative. leofibonacci AT hushmail DOT com

    Thank you! 😉

  19. Ziff says:

    Peter and Tim, your complete failure to empathize with the situation of women who do not have direct access to Handbook 1 is really disappointing. “Just go ask to read the Handbook,” you say, over and over. As though asking were no barrier at all. As though asking a leader who has the power to direct Church discipline at you were no barrier. As though no leader would ever be the least bit reluctant to open the Handbook to his ward members, and no leader would ever be the least bit suspicious of ward members who might have the temerity to ask. Particularly to ask repeatedly, as who’s going to get all their answers in one look? As though reading through the Handbook while a leader hovers over you is no barrier. As though all members just instinctively *knew* to begin with that there’s even a secret Handbook used to govern their Church lives. Seriously. Try just for a moment to think beyond your own personal experience of quick and easy Handbook access and realize that it’s not remotely as simple as you make it out to be!

  20. HMJ says:

    I was excommunicated at 19 having never been to the temple. I was called in by the bishop (didn’t know him) to give me a calling. I told him that I was not worthy because I had been sleeping with my then boyfriend (later husband). The following Thursday, two men showed up at my door to summon me to a bishop’s court the following Sunday at 7:30 pm. I showed up only to be told that it had been scheduled at 7:00 and that I was already excommunicated. Yes, the letter stated 7:30. They saw no reason to reopen the court. The verdict was announced in the priesthood meeting so that no one would fellowship me or pass me the sacrament. Never saw or heard from these men again. Never knew about a handbook. Didn’t know I could appeal. I wouldn’t have even if I had known. Didn’t even know anyone who had been excommunicated.

    To put it bluntly, it was a horrible experience that has negatively affected me all of my life. No one told me when I got baptized at 8 that I was giving them permission to humiliate me. What they did tell me is that I would need to confess my sins. They taught me that my intimate, personal life was theirs to judge. My parents were devastated when they found out 5 years later. Siblings wouldn’t let me around their kids. Lots of speculation. It must have really been bad if I got X-ed.

    19 years later, I went in to get re-baptized. I wondered if the bishop would believe me. Of course he did. It was written in the minutes, stored in my membership file, just as I had remembered it. Now, I have no documentation to prove my story. I was never given a copy of my membership file. I don’t know how many men have read it–far more than I would like.

    There are the Peter’s of the world that will say that I got what I deserved. I knew the rules and I broke them.
    And, he is correct. I went to church for love, compassion, understanding, fellowship and most of all–spirituality. That is not what I got.

    Side note: The bishop was a career military man whose last name was Gunn. How ironic is that?

    • Douglas L Self says:

      Too often these proceedings are held in a manner that belies the qualifier that a Church disciplinary council is a “court of love”.

  21. Elmo says:

    Reading Tim’s comments one can easily discern the internal genesis of his narrative.

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