#hearLDSwomen: In My Stake, Women Can’t Use the Church Building Without a Priesthood Holder Present
At the time of Kate Kelly’s fight for women to have the priesthood, I served on our ward’s Ward Council. I am pretty vocal and at one particular meeting shortly after Kate’s excommunication, a Bishopric member asked if I wanted his priesthood keys too. He then reached into his pocket and pulled out his car keys and mockingly offered them to me again. I was so furious and embarrassed I couldn’t think of a response.
When I was serving in a Relief Society presidency, the presidency decided to serve ice cream to the men on Father’s Day. That Sunday the fridge broke and so we wanted to serve it at the beginning of the meeting before it melted instead of the end like we’d originally planned with the bishopric. We told the bishopric member conducting and he said that we couldn’t make that decision and that the priesthood had a lot of important announcements that day and that we needed priesthood approval to change it. Really, I can’t even decide something as simple as when we serve ice cream without the holding the priesthood? Even when the options are now or never?
My husband and I lived in a married student ward for several years. One time during a ward conference, a counselor in the stake presidency taught the elders a real gem of a lesson. It was a general lesson on marriage relationships and one section of the lesson was on finances. The man was saying things like “don’t use credit cards because they’re bad.” Then he said, “Definitely don’t let your wife have a credit card. Women should not have control of the finances in your marriage. Women like to spend money and can’t keep track of what they spend so you [men] need to keep charge of the family budget.” My husband chimed in to say “ My wife handles our finances and we talk about our money. We use credit cards regularly and we’re smart about paying it off. I trust her and we’re doing fine.” The stake presidency counselor pretty much didn’t respond to him and moved on with his lesson.
My husband told me about this later, and I was so proud of him for speaking up. I was also appalled at the message he was responding to!
Women are viewed as children who can’t be trusted with adult responsibilities. Benevolent patriarchy belittling women under the guise of “caring for them”. Ugh.
One time I was leaving a single adult activity at someone’s house and this much older, frail, man insisted on making sure I got to my car safely. It was a nice neighborhood and I don’t think it was even dark. I had to walk slow because he was so frail. But sure, you’re going to defend me. At that time I lived in Phoenix and worked and shopped in really not great areas all by myself just fine.
In my stake, women aren’t allowed to have their own meetings in the building without a priesthood holder present. Including for volleyball games: the wards trade off who is in charge of bringing a “priesthood holder” to babysit the women.
Pro Tip: Women are generally responsible adult humans who can make administrative decisions and take care of themselves.
“If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mark 4:23)