Mother in Israel, Judge in Israel

I recently had a conversation in which I expressed my hope for women to someday be ordained and serve in callings such as bishop.  I described a friend whose husband is a bishop.  They are parents of very young children and his bishop duties have made parenting difficult.  There are very few worthy men in their ward who could fill the bishop position, so it has fallen on him in spite of the hardships it brings to his young family.  I thought it would be wonderful if the bishop could be one of the worthy, older women in the ward whose children had grown up.

I was surprised by the reaction of the person I was speaking to.  She found the idea of a female bishop repulsive, even though she agreed that it would be a logical solution to the situation I described.

In contrast, I have had other women tell me that they are uncomfortable having men ask them questions about their chastity and undergarments and would be more comfortable if they had a female bishop.





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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6 Responses

  1. Em says:

    I think it would be an adjustment, but it would be every bit as likely to be good as if we had a male bishop. The overall tone of the ward depends so much on the attitude and priorities of the Bishop, so I think the big distinguishing feature is more the individual, rather than the gender of the individual. When you have someone authoritarian or controlling, regardless of whether the person is a man or woman, there can be potential problems. Our current bishop is really loving, sensitive and is a good listener. I think a woman would do a great job too.

  2. Caroline says:

    I have nothing but feelings of utter happiness at the thought of a woman bishop. For so many reasons: A) it gives more people chances to serve in demanding callings. b) it would utilize the skills and talents of people who have not had opportunities for ward leadership because of the current policy c) it would show my kids that women are spiritual authorities just as capable as men spiritual authorities. d) it would give women the chance to understand, experience, and grow from the pressures and issues that so many male bishops deal with, e) it would be easier for some women to discuss certain intimate things with a woman bishop f) it would return some young fathers back to the home where they belong if women could serve sometimes as bishop.

    I could go on forever. Yes to women bishops. Absolutely.

  3. Cruelest Month says:

    Yes, yes, yes! I can think of many women who would make wonderful bishops. The last time my stake presidency changed up leadership a newly called counselor told a “funny” story. He was released as bishop and enjoyed a month off before he was called into the stake presidency. When his young children found out about the calling they cried and said, “But we just got you back. We’ll never see you again.” I wanted to cry too. “Turn down the calling!!! Pick your kids. They are more important.” So many capable women in our stake could have held that calling. Far fewer children crying for absent fathers.

    • Jess R says:

      This is something I’ve had a hard time understanding – because the church pushes the whole stay-at-home-mom/working-dad thing, men miss out on time with their kids during the day. But then they are the ones who have callings like bishop and stake president that take them away from home in the evening. It makes it so hard for kids to get dad time.

  4. Andrew R. says:

    I can’t answer the poll because the answer I would give is not covered.

    I am neutral in terms of how I would feel from a male/female perspective. I would have no problem if the person I had to speak with was a female.

    However, from a doctrinal point of view I do not believe women are required to hold the Melchizedek priesthood – ie it is not salvic for them. As such, a women holding the priesthood would have to be optional. If it is optional the problem you describe could still exist because the “ideal” women might not want the priesthood – and you can’t force her if she has not requirement to hold it.

    Requiring women to hold the priesthood, ie make it salvic opens too many cans of worms IMO.

  1. August 17, 2014

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