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Do Mormon Women Oppose Priesthood Ordination? Clarity About the Pew Survey

In the middle of cranking out an excruciating long post, I keep coming across the almost universally intellectually dishonest or radically uninformed presentations about the supposed 90% of LDS women — and 95% of highly committed LDS members — who oppose ordination of women to the priesthood. So let’s clear up what the Pew survey revealed about Mormon opinion on female ordination once and for all.

Do Mormon Women Oppose Priesthood Ordination?

What the Pew Survey Did Not Say

  1. If offered the priesthood by the prophet, would you refuse it?
  2. If church leaders said women could be ordained would you support it?
  3. Would you welcome the ordination of women, if the general authorities approved it?
  4. Would you like it if women could righteously hold the priesthood?
  5. Etc.

What the Pew Survey Did Say

“Should women who are dedicated members of the LDS Church be ordained to the priesthood?”

All members of the LDS church are taught to “follow the prophet.” We are taught that he is the singular most important and authoritative mouthpiece for God on earth and, in fact, that no one else may declare doctrine. And as of this writing, the position of that prophet is that only men can be ordained to the priesthood.

Any member who answers the actual Pew survey question in the affirmative has, in fact, decided that they are willing to openly declare general church doctrine (or a highly controversial policy point that many (including most general authorities) believe to be doctrine) and to openly declare that the prophet and general authorities are wrong in their current stance.

Few “highly committed” members are willing to do this, no matter how much they wish, hope, and pray that things will change. And almost no members are willing to do this if they are neutral on the outcome.

Again, I liken this to Jeffrey Holland, who spoke of how he prayed and hoped for blacks to get the priesthood from the time he was young. All this happened while the general authoritative positions said:

  1. Either blacks had the mark of Cain and/or were less faithful in the prexistence.
  2. Either blacks could never receive the highest degree of glory (being “ministering angels”) or they could receive all blessings only after the resurrection.

In other words, Elder Holland hoped and prayed that the current stance was wrong. But it’s highly likely that if he were asked, “Should blacks who are dedicated members of the LDS Church be ordained to the priesthood?” he would say “no.” Doing otherwise would be usurping church authorities with his own desires. And he just doesn’t seem like the kind of guy to host a hostile takeover.

To be clear, if I were part of the Pew Survey question — in spite of my strong feminist equality positions — I would also be among the 95% who claim to be “highly committed” members answering no to this survey — because  the structure of the church I believe in disallows me from declaring policy/doctrine for the church.

If you choose to use the results of the Pew survey to make a point, at least use them honestly and in the context of the actual question and church culture in which they were asked.

{ 47 comments… add one }

  • Alison Moore Smith March 29, 2014, 1:26 pm

    Just had a Facebook discussion with Geoff Biddulph of Millennial Star. I linked to this post in response to his post titled Church again slams OW movement. He responded by saying, “I don’t disagree with anything in your post.”

    Yet here is what his post says (as of this writing, emphasis added):

    Otterson is referring to the protest at October General Conference against the Church by OW movement members intent on asking for the priesthood, which 90 percent of Mormon women — and 95 percent of active members — say they do not want. The OW movement vows to repeat this protest for April Conference, despite being asked repeatedly to stand down by the Church.

    This is exactly the kind of misrepresentation I’m talking about. The survey simply did not say what he claims it says and I really wish people would wise up and use the stats accurately.
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  • Angie Gardner March 29, 2014, 2:11 pm

    I probably would have answered that women shouldn’t have the priesthood as well because of the way the question was phrased. If the question had been am I open to church authorities inquiring of God about ordination, it would have been yes. If the question had been if the prophet announced that women would be able to be ordained immediately, would I support it, the answer would have been yes.

    Also, for a lot of women equality and ordination are not the same thing. I personally feel that women can make huge headway in the church without ordination, by adjusting some of our practices, policies, and procedures rather than our doctrine. I don’t feel that I need priesthood ordination in order to have more authority in the church. Others feel differently and that’s fine too. I’m glad we are talking about it.

    Now, all that aside, there is the issue of what if 95% of active church members actually ARE vehemently opposed to ordination. I am speaking of the people who would literally get up and leave the church never to return if the prophet announced that women would be ordained. I think there would certainly be some, although nowhere near 95%.

    I have also heard that before women were given the vote, 90% of women opposed getting it. Likewise, I would guess those numbers were about the same in 1978 before blacks were given the priesthood. It’s much easier to go with the flow in the 90% than to stand relatively alone in the 10%.

    Honestly, I don’t put a whole lot into the Pew survey. I think if and when female ordination happens, most church members will embrace it as they did blacks and the priesthood.

  • Ashley A March 29, 2014, 3:17 pm

    Angie and Alison,

    I think that If I knew you both in real life, I’d want to be your friends. I agree with you both.

    If the FP would answer OW and say, “We inquired of the Lord and were told that at this time, women should not be ordained,” I’d accept the answer. If they were to say, “We inquired of the Lord and were told that it is time to allow the ordination of women, ” I’d also accept.

    Angie, you brought up a point about holding the priesthood and perceived power/authority. I guess I have never been one to believe that holding the priesthood elevates one person above another in the church (I’m sure you don’t, either). I could be wrong. I grew up in a home of all sisters and a father who did not go on a mission, so I probably do not know as much about the priesthood as the average LDS person.

    I have always seen holding the priesthood not as (necessarily) a right, but more of a hefty responsibility. The priesthood holder cannot lay his hands upon his own head and give himself blessings – he holds the priesthood to bless others. I always just thought that the chauvinist men in the church who believe that women must submit to them because they are ordained were insecure, uneducated, perhaps mentally ill and uninformed regarding the rights and responsibilities that go along with holding the priesthood. I’m not saying we shouldn’t discuss it or that my sisters in the gospel shouldn’t hold the priesthood. I’m not saying they do not have the right to ask questions, either.

    I guess that if I were given the option to either hold the priesthood or not, my initial reaction would be to decline. Holding the priesthood comes with a boatload of responsibility – and hey, if you’re a woman who is up for the challenge, then more power to you! One deterrent (at least for me): having to bless babies in sacrament meeting. I’m terrified of public speaking. That alone would cause me to shy away. Do not think that I don’t see the benefits though. Imagine going on a hike with your girlfriends and someone falls and breaks their leg, but there are no men around to give a blessing. Wouldn’t it be nice if you or your friend could?

    I dunno. I don’t know if it’s right or wrong but I do know that dirty fighting and mud slinging never gets us anywhere.

    I feel like I’ve said this all 3 times now though, so I’ll stop repeating myself! X-D

  • Alison Moore Smith March 29, 2014, 3:19 pm

    Angie, so well said. Spot on.

    And for those who are so “faithful” that they would “literally get up and leave the church never to return if the prophet announced that women would be ordained,” well, yea. :)
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  • Lorian Dunlop March 29, 2014, 6:05 pm

    Nailed it again, Alison. Great post.

  • Angie Gardner March 29, 2014, 8:22 pm

    Ashley, we can be friends here! :)

    What I mean by authority is that I believe there is a separation there (or should be) between priesthood power and the authority to lead the church. Right now, both of those roles of the priesthood are held exclusively by men. By power, I mean the power to act in God’s name – blessings, ordinances, etc. By authority, I mean the governance of the church – leadership, autonomy in auxiliaries, etc.

    I feel no need as a woman to have the power of the priesthood to perform ordinances, etc. That power is used to bless others, as you said, not oneself. Most women have many priesthood holders in their lives who can fulfill this function – husbands, fathers, brothers, bishops, home teachers, etc. Additionally, I believe that women haven’t fully tapped in to their power that is not through the priesthood but is nonetheless there for us. Through personal prayer and inspiration, we are entitled to revelation for ourselves and for those in our stewardships. There have been many times when my husband hasn’t been around and I’ve found that I can bring great comfort and even wisdom to my children by praying with them and listening. I don’t feel like I need the priesthood to communicate with God.

    Authority, however, I see a little differently. Our church leadership is almost exclusively male. If you look at a ward council, there are 3 women represented and at least 11 men. If you move up to higher level meetings, there are no women (bishopric meetings, PEC, etc.) The bishop can invite the RS president at his discretion to attend PEC, but how many bishops are doing this on a regular basis I don’t know. Even if the bishop is always inviting the RS president, that is 1 woman and at least 7 men. We are just under-represented. Even though most of the men have great intentions, they aren’t women and don’t fully understand how their decisions might affect women. We need more female voices, in my opinion. Additionally, if you are an auxiliary president, you still don’t have full control of your organization. Your budget is decided for you, in some cases I’ve known of, presidents need to run every budget decision by the bishop first. Your staffing, while suggested (sometimes…have some stories there for sure!) by presidents, is approved or denied by the bishop. A president can feel incredibly inspired to staff her organization with certain people and then have them rejected. In my case, it was over, and over, and over (obviously, I know you aren’t going to always get what you want). It’s frustrating when you feel you have no control. I think that we could certainly make huge headway in this area without ordaining women. We are already seeing it a little more in mission leadership. When I served over 20 years ago, we had absolutely no leadership for sisters other than trainers. Now, we have sister training leaders and mission councils that include sisters. It’s a step. I think by giving women more seats at the table, more autonomy in their organizations, and more visible presence in leadership we could really come a long way – and no one would have to get their panties in a wad over women wanting to be ordained.

    I am hopeful that we will see more and more changes all the time. We have seen several recently and I think they will continue to come. Sometimes it’s not fast enough for me, but I’m trying to be patient.

  • annegb March 29, 2014, 8:44 pm

    I would not take the priesthood if Jesus came to my house. I wouldn’t care if everybody else did. I guess I’m resigned to my fate in a lower kingdom so I can do what I want.

    I think a lot of the men in my ward probably don’t want the priesthood either since they suck at honoring it.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 30, 2014, 1:09 am

    Ashley A, we were posting at the same time earlier and I missed your post.

    I guess I have never been one to believe that holding the priesthood elevates one person above another in the church (I’m sure you don’t, either).

    In many ways, I think it does. It allows men access to things (like blessing their children), it allows men to make decisions about things, etc. I suppose it depends on how you define “elevate,” but hasn’t the priesthood always been the sign of the “chosen” people?

    Did you listen to the women’s meeting? I liked the meeting, as usual, but there are always little reminders about who is considered noteworthy and who is not (so much).

    Sister Oscarson conducted the women’s meeting because she was asked to by President Monson.

    Why isn’t she referred to as “President Oscarson”?
    Why isn’t our meeting a session of conference?
    Why aren’t women allowed to choose who conducts the women’s meeting?
    Why are men allowed to attend — even those not speaking?

    She introduces the people on the stand thusly:

    First presidency – all by name
    Members of 12 – all by name
    Member of 70 – by name
    Presiding bishop – by name
    “Also seated on the stand are” – sweeping references to female auxiliary leaders and board members, not ONE by name

    All these things can (and often are) called “trivial.” But if they really are trivial, why can’t we just have some parity? If it’s “no big deal” or “not worth worrying about” who chooses who conducts, then why must we insist that a man does the choosing? I realize this was a woman conducting, but she’s following expected tradition and protocol.

    As a friend said to me, “death by a thousand cuts.”

    Again, I don’t know what you mean by “elevated,” but if you were outside looking in, wouldn’t it be obvious what the hierarchy is?

    Over and over I’ve heard people mock me because I suggest we should use titles for female leaders. The same people who mock the idea (generally suggesting it’s silly and/or just grasping for power) absolutely, positively insist that titles be used for men — with no such pejoratives assigned.

    I have always seen holding the priesthood not as (necessarily) a right, but more of a hefty responsibility.

    I agree, but don’t think it’s relevant.

    I’m probably going to be make some people mad here, but in spite of the callings full of titles and authority, I honestly don’t think men in the church generally work any harder than the women. In other words, I don’t think they have more responsibility anyway. We do stuff that is less publicly recognized and less lauded and with less autonomy. But, seriously, I rather conduct a meeting than plan dinner for 300 people. any. day. of. the. week.

    The priesthood holder cannot lay his hands upon his own head and give himself blessings – he holds the priesthood to bless others.

    True, but I don’t visit teach myself, teach lessons to myself, or conduct music for myself to sing. That is the nature of all church service.

    One deterrent (at least for me): having to bless babies in sacrament meeting. I’m terrified of public speaking. That alone would cause me to shy away.

    But as a woman, you might be asked to speak in church, be called as a teacher, or in other ways required to speak in public, right? And you haven’t stopped going to Relief Society because of it. :)
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  • Angie Gardner March 30, 2014, 8:13 am

    “I honestly don’t think men in the church generally work any harder than the women.”

    ^^This^^

    For the first time in our married lives, I think my husband is working harder than me. He’s the bishop and I play the piano. But in every other calling either of us has had, I’ve had a lot more responsibility, it’s just without recognition. We are doing a lot of the service in the church, leading huge organizations (hello Primay of almost 200!), planning activities and dinners, etc. Now, some of this is our own fault. The men seem happy to put on a dinner that is potluck and where putting butcher paper on the tables is the decoration – and it’s just as fun and yummy as the carefully planned and decorated RS birthday party where the food committee met for 3 months and worked for 3 days before the event preparing.

    Let’s take a couple of rather similar positions – Elders Quorum president and RS president. They both have to assign visiting/home teachers – but the EQ president splits this task with the high priest group leader, while the RS president assigns ALL the sisters in the ward. They both have to staff their organizations, which for EQ is usually a presidency and instructors. For RS we have the presidency and instructors but also RS has far more activities, enrichment classes, etc. Our ward has probably 10 women on different committees – kind of nice because many hands make lighter work, right? In some ways yes, but overseeing that all is a lot of work.

    Also, at least in our ward the priesthood shares music callings between YM, EQ, and high priests since they have opening exercises together, but both RS and YW have to staff their own organizations (or create some kind of rotation) with music people.

    These are just a few examples.

    Thanks Alison for pointing out some of the inequities from last night. I loved the meeting, especially President Oscarson’s talk. I really like her. Her content was wonderful and she doesn’t talk in the Primary voice, which wins her lots of points. :) It is sad to me that the male leaders are named and yet the one chance women have their own meeting and they could be named, they aren’t. Again, not the hugest deal but it’s a difference and it’s noticed.

    Last night we had a few men in attendance, from the stake presidency. It was nice for them to come and show that they were interested. I wonder what the response would be if the stake RS presidency showed up to priesthood session next week?

  • David Petersen March 30, 2014, 10:51 am

    I\’d love to hear your comments on these ideas. It\’s a theological/doctrinal-based backing for why women don\’t hold the priesthood, not a practical rationalization. Thank!
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    • Alison Moore Smith March 30, 2014, 2:56 pm

      David Petersen, not sure I understand. Did you want me to comment on something in particular?

      My problem is that I don’t know what the theological/doctrinal reasoning is other than tradition. I’ve been asking for over 30 years and I still haven’t found anyone (at any level) who can tell me how to know if a scripture is just to men or to men and women. When I was a kid, I was taught “Oh, ‘man’ means ‘mankind.’ … er … except when it doesn’t…”
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  • Jeff G March 30, 2014, 2:48 pm

    Allison,

    I think you are spot on right. I think that many on Geoff’s side are painting with a bit too broad of a brush. They are using data which does not unequivocally support their position. By contrast, many on the other side (many at FMH) are misinterpreting this data even worse by guessing at what some hypothetical survey would show and portending nonexistent support. I wish this latter group came under near as much condemnation as the former. Although both sides clearly want to use that survey as a weapon against the other side, I think the Iron Rodders are on slightly more solid (slightly less shakey would probably be more accurate) ground than the Liahonas here.

    • Alison Moore Smith March 30, 2014, 2:57 pm

      Jeff G, I’m not on either “side,” but I promise you the “liahonas” are under constant, scathing, and (frankly) completely unchristlike scrutiny from some who claim the side of “faithfulness.”

      I’m doing a post about that, probably next week. Unfortunately, the material is far too easy to come gather. :/ You won’t be disappointed. They are constantly getting smacked upside the head.
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  • Jeff G March 30, 2014, 3:25 pm

    I think all reasonable Iron Rodders would agree with that assessment. The problem, I think, is that the Liahonas are so focused on why their critics are wrong for saying what they do that they miss that which is very much justified in their criticism. Cries of “how dare you”, “privilege”, “that’s hurtful”, etc don’t really address the issue.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 30, 2014, 5:06 pm

    Her content was wonderful and she doesn’t talk in the Primary voice, which wins her lots of points.

    !!!!!!! I thought the SAME THING. I was sitting there thinking –WHAT THE HECK, A NORMAL VOICE!!! It was pretty awesome and she seems like a lovely person.

    Last night we had a few men in attendance, from the stake presidency. It was nice for them to come and show that they were interested. I wonder what the response would be if the stake RS presidency showed up to priesthood session next week?

    I think we already know. :/

    I think, is that the Liahonas are so focused on why their critics are wrong for saying what they do that they miss that which is very much justified in their criticism.

    Jeff G, you’ll have to tell me what the justified criticism is. Mostly I just hear, “Why don’t you just leave if you don’t like it?” coupled with claims of superior faith and righteousness. I haven’t seen many cogent arguments.
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  • David Petersen March 30, 2014, 6:26 pm

    Sorry. My comment above made no sense. Feel free to remove it.

    I totally agree with Ashley A:
    If the FP would answer OW and say, “We inquired of the Lord and were told that at this time, women should not be ordained,” I’d accept the answer. If they were to say, “We inquired of the Lord and were told that it is time to allow the ordination of women, ” I’d also accept.

    As far as my thoughts regarding women and the Priesthood, I’d love to hear what you think of this short summary of my personal search relating to it.

    As a young toddler I had a fascination with exploring things, particularly things that I was not supposed to get into. Of course I meddled with all of the usual things that little ones play with: tasting dirt, bringing worms home to mommy, or seeing if the vacuum could suck off my face. My favorite pass time, however, was attempting to plug in the toaster. I would find a way to climb onto the kitchen counter (no small feat when Mom has child-proofed the area and is just in the next room), unplug the toaster, grasp the two metal inserts on the toaster’s plug and thrust both them and my tiny fingers right into the electrical outlet. ZAP! I would begin crying and screaming and that would signal my mom that I was at it again. And so I became the first person in the world to discover electricity, at least the first person in my experience to discover electricity. In any event I certainly believe I was the first person in the world to discover electricity. If only there were a scientific society for discovering that which has already been discovered. I would be a regular contributor!
    I have a particular reason for mentioning the toaster however. I’ve never quite outgrown my fascination for exploring things, perhaps even things that I am not supposed to get into. Since a friend of mine introduced me to the campaign Ordain Women, I have enjoyed exploring the importance of gender in the context of the gospel. Here I want to share a few ideas encountered in this exploration because they have helped me to find so much peace amidst the confusion and misunderstanding that sometimes swirls around gender discussions. None of the ideas I have encountered are new or obscure. Revelation for the church is the province of those who we sustain as Prophets, Seers and Revelators. I hope this will be taken as a conversation from one friend to another, for that is what prompted my search in the first place.
    As I have interacted with my friend I have come to admire her deep faith and strong desire to seek for truth in her life. My associations with LDS feminists have led me to want to be a kinder, more accepting, Christlike person. They have continually inspired me to seek for a deeper understanding of the truth and this has led me to an increased testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and of His restored church. My gratitude extends to them as well to all who share an interest in seeking after these truths.
    Trying to butter two sides of a piece of toast simultaneously is a nearly acrobatic feat for one person. It’s hard to do well and it’s hard not to make a mess in the process. Those who dispense with political correctness usually assert that they are trying to be straightforward rather than couching their dialog in sugar-coated euphemism. Too often this is used as license for incivility rather than for clear discussion. As a person who loves feminists but does not support the ordination of women to the Priesthood, I hope that these thoughts will be both straightforward and kind. I will try to accomplish both sides of this discussion without making too much of a mess. I do not write in the spirit of contention but of sincere desire for reconciliation between all seekers of truth. I believe that all of us feel there should be no schism within the body of Christ.
    If these ideas are wrong, which I admit is possible, I hope that those who read this will look upon it as my mother looked on me when I was screaming on the counter, toaster-plug in hand: “There’s David, trying to be a big kid again. Look, he’s just discovered electricity!” So, with every chance of saying what everyone else already knows, I present why I believe women should not be ordained to the Priesthood and why I think it brings us closer.

    Considering the Doctrine of the Fall in the Context of the Plan of Salvation
    When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, they were faced with an incredible opportunity and an incredible choice. In their paradisiacal condition they had the ability to live forever, however they did not have knowledge of good and evil, nor could they become parents. The Lord had given them several commandments:

    1. A Commandment To Be Fruitful and to Multiply and Replenish The Earth

    “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth…”(Genesis 1:27-28)

    2. A Commandment Not to Partake of The Forbidden Fruit

    “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.”(Genesis 2:17)

    In these verses we are faced again with a situation that seems perplexing until brought within the context of the Plan of Salvation. Adam and Eve could not keep both of these commandments. Many times throughout my life I have heard people question why God would give two contradictory commandments to our first parents. It seems puzzling. The key to understanding this puzzle is gaining a deeper understanding of the Plan of Salvation. Knowing that God’s whole purpose is to bring about, “the immortality and eternal life of man”, helps us see things more clearly and turns what seems to be a confusing contradiction into a clear and loving manifestation of God’s love.
    The sequence of the first two commandments is instructive. The first commandment was to multiply and replenish the earth. In Adam and Eve’s unfallen condition they were unable to do this. I’m sure they wanted to start a family. They probably dreamed of having a family, but they were incapable of doing this.

    “And now, behold, if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end. And they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy, for they knew no misery; doing no good, for they knew no sin. But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.”(2 Nephi 2:22-24)

    Adam and Eve had to fall if they were ever to be able to obey the first commandment of God and become the parents of the human race. In Eden it was as if they received the commandment to multiply and replenish the earth along with a list of instructions on how to obey it. The first item on the list of instructions was to fall.
    The forbidden fruit was a sinless way to transgress a formal rule that was wrong only because it had been officially forbidden (mala prohibita) rather than violate a commandment which was inherently wrong (mala en se). Because God is just, he does not expel any clean thing from his presence. Therefore He would not force Adam and Eve from the garden unless they transgressed a law. He gave them the choice to partake of the fruit and enter mortality or to remain forever in the Garden of Eden.
    If we were to compare the two commandments, we would see a major disparity in their respective levels of importance. The first commandment held eternal significance and foreshadowed the couple’s potential for everlasting posterity. The second commandment was a formality that had been instituted for the express purpose of facilitating a transition into mortality. Although important in its role of helping Adam and Eve enter mortality there were no grandiose reasons for them not to eat the fruit. With their minds and hearts set firmly on obeying the paramount decree of God to begin a family, Adam and Eve partook of the fruit and fell. This in turn enabled them to begin having children. This furthered God’s work to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man.
    Seeing the first two commandments within the context of the Plan of Salvation clears up any perplexity that may have existed. They are a progressive series of instructions, the second vital to the fulfillment of the first. Many of the details of the Plan of Salvation become confusing if we lose sight that His plan is designed to bring to pass the eternal life of man and to help us receive a fulness of joy.
    We owe a great debt of gratitude to Eve who partook first of the fruit and to Adam who followed. Eve will be forever honored by those who truly understand the Plan of Salvation as a heroine who bravely stepped into a new world in order to fulfill the will of God.

    Considering the Doctrine of the Priesthood in the Context of the Plan of Salvation
    Like all other doctrines of the gospel, the Doctrine of the Priesthood must be seen within the full context of the Plan of Salvation to be truly understood. Questions, doubts or perceived injustices fly away in the light of truth when any honest seeker of truth begins to see any doctrine of the gospel in its true fullness. With this in mind, let’s consider the Doctrine of the Priesthood from the eternal perspective we gain from the Plan of Salvation.
    God’s plan provided us with the opportunity to come to earth, passing through the joys and trials of mortality. He also provided a means whereby we might escape both spiritual and physical death, the inevitable consequences of our mortal experience. Jesus Christ was chosen as the Redeemer of mankind.
    In the greatest act of love that the world has ever known, Christ gave himself as a sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. Christ’s love for and union with the church was so complete that the scriptures often use the metaphor of a marriage. Christ is the Bridegroom and the church is his Bride. Marriage was the only mortal union that could begin to convey the extent of his love. This selfless union was also meant to show us what an eternal marriage could be like.
    The symbol of the church as the Bride of Christ pervades the New Testament and early Christian theology. In the Book of Common Prayer we read just one well-known example of this principle set forth:
    “DEARLY beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this Man and this Woman in holy Matrimony; which is an honourable estate, instituted of God, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church” (The Book of Common Prayer, 1928)
    The strength of this symbolic union was one of the principal reasons why divorce was barred by the Catholic Church for centuries. Christ would never abandon his Church, thus marriage was absolutely indissoluble. To the Latter-day Saint the mystical union betwixt Christ and his Church has largely been demystified through modern revelation. We are linked to Christ by covenant. Likewise we are linked to our spouses by eternal covenant.
    If we return to Eden we can learn a great lesson about the Doctrine of the Priesthood from the events that transpired there. It’s a principle that I think is important because it can help families become closer together and closer to God.
    When Eve partook of the forbidden fruit she took upon herself a symbolic role. She represented the faith that each of us demonstrated in stepping from the pre-mortal world into this fallen world. Eve knew full-well the ramifications of this glorious choice. She single-handedly moved forward the Plan of Salvation for all mankind. And think for a moment the trust she placed in God and in Adam; for if Adam had not followed Eve in partaking of the fruit, if He had not joined her in leaving the garden, she could not have had children. More importantly the promised Savior could not have come to earth to provide the means for mankind’s return to live with God. Eve was unshakable in her faith.
    I believe each of us faced a similar decision in the pre-mortal council when we chose to follow the plan of Heavenly Father. We could step out of paradise and put our full trust in Jesus Christ’s promise to redeem us, or we could have chosen to follow the plan of the adversary and forfeited our chance for mortal life and our second estate.
    Symbolically, Eve is each of us, male or female. We are Eve. We chose to leave our paradisiacal home trusting on God as our only means for returning to him.
    Adam also faced a choice. He could have remained in the Garden of Eden forever, but he would have remained alone. Adam knew that the Plan of God required him to leave Eden and join Eve in the fallen world. The thought of not spending eternity with his beloved helpmeet must have proven unbearable. Without each other, the plan could not continue. Together, they could create a family to which in time the promised Messiah could be sent.
    Adam left his paradisiacal home to be with Eve, knowing that only together they would be capable of making it back. He wanted to be forever with Eve. He wanted to start a family. He wanted to fulfill his part in the Plan of Salvation. The only way for him to do this was to join his Bride in the mortal sphere.
    Symbolically, Adam is Christ. Christ chose to follow us from pre-mortality to this fallen world so that all of us might have the ability to return to the presence of God. Without Christ even our brave demonstration of faith in choosing to come to earth would not have been enough.
    Importantly, this symbol does not exalt men and degrade women. Men did not come to save women! Christ came to save all of us. Adam and Eve’s marriage is an incredible symbol of this to me. Their marriage is meant to point us to Christ. Their conduct both in the Garden and beyond carries immense symbolic significance. It lends clarity to the principles presented by Paul in his Epistle to the Ephesians.

    Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it…(Ephesians 5:22-25)

    Such a relationship is not one of inequality when truly understood. It is a relationship of divine equality. It is a symbolic relationship. It is the relationship that we have with Christ, and there is no other relationship that compares in scope or depth to the love that Christ has for us.
    I believe that the Lord wants us to have the opportunity to have a marriage like Adam and Eve. The Lord extends to each couple married through covenant the chance to become a type of Christ. Both the man and the woman is necessary to teach their children of the family’s absolute reliance on the Lord.
    Imagine the effect this type of union would have on children. They would grow up in a family where the relationship of their parents continuously points them to Christ. The father loves and honors the mother as Christ loves and honors the Church. The mother loves and honors the father, as we love and honor Christ. In conduct toward each other and in shared purpose of being a family for all of eternity, the Priesthood would bring them closer.
    In families where there is no Priesthood holder present, the Doctrine of the Priesthood still brings the family closer. Such circumstances draw upon the ward family ensuring that no families are left isolated.
    There are no differences in physical, mental, emotional or spiritual capacity between men and women that would preclude females from holding the Priesthood. There are no differences between men and women in their ability for spiritual strength or dedicated service. Both are equal before God and equally dependent upon the Atonement of Christ.
    Men are ordained to the Priesthood so that they may act in the name of Christ both in their symbolic role within a marriage as well as in their clerical role in the Church. Women do not hold the authority of the Priesthood so that they might perform the equally important service of pointing those around them to Christ. By making clear their dependence on the Priesthood faithful women are symbols to the world of each of our complete dependence on Christ.
    When we chose to follow the Plan of God in the pre-mortal existence both men and women were foreordained to fulfill specific missions in this life. Men who followed Christ were foreordained to be bearers of the Priesthood. Women who followed Christ were foreordained to point others to Him by not holding the Priesthood. In doing so, they followed Mother Eve into a brave new world. We importantly recall that in the pre-mortal council that we shouted for joy because of this plan. I promise that same joy can be ours as we gain a greater testimony of God’s plan and the part we play in it.
    In a world calling for us to be increasingly independent, I am calling for us to become more dependent: dependent on the Priesthood, dependent on Christ and dependent on each other. As we rely more fully on others and become truly interdependent, bonds of trust will form. They will make us ever more unified and the Priesthood will serve to bring us closer.

    My Testimony
    I know that the doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as the Holy Priesthood has been restored to the earth in our day by heaven. My testimony is that the church is in the right course and is guided continuously by revelation from on high. No group needs to agitate an issue in order to help the brethren get it right. Doctrine does not change as new Apostles and Prophets are called. Women are not disenfranchised in the Restored Church; indeed, the Doctrine of the Priesthood helps us understand the vital part that women play in advancing the Great Plan of Happiness.
    I invite those who have questions relating to the ordination of women to the Priesthood to earnestly study the Doctrine of the Priesthood. From personal experience I know that this is an incredible source of truth and peace.

    I also invite those who have been advocating the ordination of women to the Priesthood to end this campaign. Regardless of the intentions of their cause, it is creating a schism within the body of Christ. Let us be reconciled together through Christ, for then the Priesthood will truly bring us closer.
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  • Amy Lockhart March 31, 2014, 11:44 am

    David Petersen – “I also invite those who have been advocating the ordination of women to the Priesthood to end this campaign. Regardless of the intentions of their cause, it is creating a schism within the body of Christ. Let us be reconciled together through Christ, for then the Priesthood will truly bring us closer.”

    Why does the blame/responsibility rest solely on the shoulders of OW? It takes two to tango and the schism has largely been created by resistance to, and hateful actions toward those involved with, the OW movement.

    No one should be inviting anyone else to drop anything. We each have a responsibility to ensure our own actions are within the bounds the Lord has set, without declaring a more righteous position.
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  • Alison Moore Smith March 31, 2014, 11:58 am

    Why does the blame/responsibility rest solely on the shoulders of OW? It takes two to tango and the schism has largely been created by resistance to, and hateful actions toward those involved with, the OW movement.

    Spot on. I’ve been following this decently closely and in my experience the vitriol has been almost exclusively one-sided. In fact, sometimes the OW and LDSWave folks (who have a different agenda) are so excruciatingly tolerant and kind that it makes me want to scream.

    When I read descriptions of the civil rights lunch counter confrontations, there are many similarities. The “activists” making their position clear and the “mainstream” having a hissy fit, name calling, demanding people leave, etc. While the “activists” respond with complete civility and calm.

    David, that’s not what I’d call a “short summary,” :) so I’ll have to get back to you when I have time to read it.
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  • Martin March 31, 2014, 6:26 pm

    Allison,

    I completely agree with your post. However, the opposite is also true. I think if polled, 95% of women would agree that if the prophet said women should be ordained, they’d say they were for it. I think the real question is “Not knowing the ultimate mind of God at this point, do you believe that women should be ordained to the priesthood in the near future?” I believe that most would say no, because the paradigm shift would be too great. What about the role they’ve sacrificed to embrace? What about the role they feel taught to expect their husbands to fill? I don’t necessarily believe we’d see a big exodus of women from the church should women be ordained, but it would be an enormous (and for many, cataclysmic) change, and the church would hardly resemble the one we have now. Which is, of course, the point, but I think you’d be deluding yourself to think the majority of women would want to make that change in the near future.

    • Alison Moore Smith March 31, 2014, 7:55 pm

      Martin, I agree with a great deal of what you said, but I think it’s almost impossible to tell what people want or will do in a culture where women (and people in general) have been taught NOT to want things they aren’t explicitly told are appropriate.

      As I’ve written elsewhere, when I was a kid I kept asking about the black priesthood ban because it just made no sense at all to me. I couldn’t figure out why skin color would/should make any difference. But, because of the church policy, practically everyone who was “faithful” had figured out a way to rationalize it. (Bott was only parroting what many authoritative voices had said when he got thrown under the bus.) That’s just what we humans do when there is cognitive dissonance.

      I never once heard anyone even bemoan the situation or say it was sad or troublesome. It was just accepted as God’s will and just fine.

      But then — living smack dab in the middle of Happy Valley (Orem, Utah) — when the change was announced on the radio, my mom came screaming through the house. We all jumped up and down. People, very literally, flooded into the streets to tell their neighbors. People were hugging and crying and rejoicing.

      Somehow — in spite of the total submission I saw almost everywhere — I don’t think that was the reaction of people who didn’t want change.

      Yes, I’m sure there will be some who will be upset. But I suspect most would welcome it with joy as long as they could do so while maintaining their “faithful” cover.
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  • Martin April 1, 2014, 11:46 am

    See, that’s where we see things completely differently, and I suspect that both of us only see it from the perspective of our relatively narrow perspectives (and mine the male perspective to boot), but were the prophet to announce female ordination today, I don’t think you’d have rejoicing in the streets. Some would, of course, but I think most would react with stunned silence. There’d be a lot to recompute. Maybe you’d be right 10 or 20 years from now.

  • Terrie Lynn Bittner April 3, 2014, 7:12 am

    After Sister Oscarson’s talk, I committed to try to be nicer in the way I talk about this subject–but I’m still not sure how to do that, so if I’m rude, feel free to call me out on it.

    I understand the desire for ordination because I joined the church as a teenager in 1976. I was raised to be a feminist. I had to work through the issue of ordination before committing to baptism. However, once I saw the church in action, I realized that no one, priesthood holder or not, has “authority” if they are doing their calling correctly. Authority belongs to God. All we’re supposed to do is to carry out his instructions. Yes, some men abuse that–but some women would as well.

    After that, it was no longer an issue for me and I was able to pray about it with an open mind. I have no interest in ordination. If the prophet offered it, I’d take it only because that’s how I am–I try to do what God wants me to do. But I’d probably grumble about it, anyway. I have no interest in any of the responsibilities that come with priesthood. I want to receive a life-long calling to Primary. Put a puppet on my hand and a flannel board in my classroom and I’m happy. I don’t even want to be the Relief Society president. I can’t imagine anyone who knows what a bishop does would want to be one–for free, no less.

    I have realized that what bugs me isn’t the desire for priesthood, but the way the campaign is carried out. Send a polite letter to the prophet, pray about it…that’s how you let the Church know what you want. Bringing a spirit of protest to a sacred meeting and clogging up the ticket line, taking it to the mainstream media, which then portrays it as Mormon cat-fighting and as a majority stance…those things I don’t approve of. Family feuds should stay in the family. I was a recent convert when blacks got the priesthood. I don’t recall any of this going on at that time. It was all polite praying and letter writing and trusting God.

    So, yes, the question was a little misleading, but I honestly see very little longing among most women for the priesthood until it comes with a paycheck :) In the end, as Sister Oscarson said, we all just want to serve God. I personally feel that where I serve (despite my preference for Primary) is unimportant–serve where He sends you and as long as you’re serving, you’re doing what He sent you to do. I even serve in Relief Society if they insist (but my flannel board goes with me).
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  • David Aamodt April 3, 2014, 12:55 pm

    I have thoroughly enjoyed reading these comments. I really liked most of what has been said, but can’t help but feel that I need to comment on a few things that have slipped into the conversation.
    Personally, I totally agree that if the prophet said that the Lord has now said it’s time to ordain women, I would be totally fine with it. If he says that the Lord still wants it as it currently is, then I’m alright with that as well. I remember when the Catholic Church was under a lot of public criticism about not ordaining women to the priesthood. I believe it was Pope John Paul who replied (and I paraphrase here), “We’ll be happy to ordain women to the priesthood as soon as God tells us to.” I think this is a point that has been touched on, but not really delved into in these comments. Who is the “authority” in the church? If we believe that it’s the men, then we totally missed the message. I believe it’s Christ. I believe that everyone, men and women alike, are entitled to inspiration from Christ through the Holy Ghost to administer in their stewardship. This is the point to much of this discussion. Where I live, there is a predominant church (not LDS). Their conferences are not a bunch of talks. They bring motions to the floor, have discussion, then vote. Majority wins. That church has also splintered many times when the vote doesn’t go the way some people want. The Lord, however, didn’t set us up that way. We’re not majority rules. We can, and should, petition our leaders to ask the Lord about matters of concern to us. But if we believe the answer is “no” because the men don’t want it that way, then we are saying we don’t believe the answer really came from Christ. Sorry if this sounds bad, but that’s how I see it.
    A few other things to note:
    We need to be careful about our comments regarding Blacks not getting the priesthood before ’78. While many people, including some general authorities, gave opinions on why that was the case, the church’s stance NEVER included saying it was the mark of Cain or lack of faithfulness in the pre-existence. I wrote a thesis on this topic at BYU and researched it a lot. The church gave three official statements on the subject over all those years and they all said in essence that we don’t know why the Lord has directed this right now, but He has, and we pray for the day when it will change. President Kimball & other general authorities at the time have been very open about how they pled with the Lord for it to change. They wanted the change, but publicly stood firm to the answer they’d received. How do we know the same thing isn’t happening now regarding women and the priesthood?
    Ashley, you are absolutely correct when you say, “the chauvinist men in the church who believe that women must submit to them because they are ordained were insecure, uneducated, perhaps mentally ill and uninformed regarding the rights and responsibilities that go along with holding the priesthood.”
    Angie, although men do outnumber women at ward council, if you have 11 men there, then there are some coming who aren’t supposed to be there. The only men that are to be part of ward council are the bishopric, HP group leader, EQ president, YM president, and ward mission leader. I know that’s still more than the 3 sisters, but it sounds like your ward’s not doing it right. Sometimes the ward clerk is there to keep minutes, but he’s not an official part of the council and should only be taking notes.
    When I was a bishop I regularly invited the RS president to our meetings. Perhaps I was an anomaly. Yes, we need more female voices, but it’s been quite clear that the GAs are pounding that point, especially Elder Ballard and Elder Scott.
    “Additionally, if you are an auxiliary president, you still don’t have full control of your organization. Your budget is decided for you, in some cases I’ve known of, presidents need to run every budget decision by the bishop first.” Yes, budgets are ultimately decided by the bishop. But why do you think this only applies to women? The HP budget, the EQ budget, the YM budget, the ward mission budget, scouting budgets, etc. are ALSO decided by the bishop. This has absolutely NOTHING to do with gender. If a bishop makes you run decisions past him, he’s clearly taking on more than he should. Was there a past problem with inappropriate spending? I saw that kind of oversight done once when a YM group had mismanaged funds. Again, nothing gender based.
    “Your staffing, while suggested … by presidents, is approved or denied by the bishop. A president can feel incredibly inspired to staff her organization with certain people and then have them rejected. In my case, it was over, and over, and over (obviously, I know you aren’t going to always get what you want).” I’ll give two stories related to this. I had a Primary President ask for a certain man to be a teacher. We said no. She asked for the same man again and we said no. Then she proceeded to tell us how she’d been inspired strongly that this man was to be the teacher for a certain class. We again had to say no, which I realize frustrated her. What I wasn’t able to tell her, due to confidentiality, was that the man she was requesting was disfellowshipped and unable to hold any calling. On another occasion I had a certain sister ask, confidentially, to hold no callings for a while. Shortly afterwards the YW submitted her name. We had to say no. A couple months later that sister said she was ready to hold callings again. When the YW asked who might be available for a calling, we gave her name as a possibility. They then launched into a monologue about how the bishopric was being difficult and petty to deny a specific request then turn around and suggest the same person as if it was our idea. We just took it instead of breaking the confidence that sister had requested about having no callings.
    Regarding who chooses who conducts meetings. It’s the presiding authority (which I’ll grant is still a man). However, if a member of the stake presidency visits your sacrament meeting, the bishop suddenly loses his authority to decide who conducts. That means the bishop now has no more authority to decide who conducts as does anyone else in the congregation, whether man or woman. Further, let’s be fair in stating that most priesthood holders have no authority in governing the church, even in your ward. Most men hold the priesthood, yet very few are in positions of authority.
    “Elders Quorum president and RS president. They both have to assign visiting/home teachers – but the EQ president splits this task with the high priest group leader, while the RS president assigns ALL the sisters in the ward.” Don’t forget that the EQ and HP have to home teach ALL the ward members, not just the men. I’ve been in wards where there were large numbers of single men. While many wards also have large numbers of single women, don’t forget that the EQ and HP home teach them as well. The women are not visiting teaching the single men. So the volume of people being HT is always larger than the number being VT. I actually think it’s very good that women in the church get 2 sets of people offering to be of assistance (VT & HT) although the men get only one.

    I think Terrie Bittner’s comment is probably the best one and thought it should be left at that. Some will fault me for my comments & I’m sure I’ll be thought of as a chauvinist. But I think if we’re to have an honest discussion about this, then comments have to addressed fairly.

  • Angie Gardner April 3, 2014, 2:54 pm

    Hi, I just have a few quick minutes and perhaps will expound more later, but I wanted to reply to Terri and David.

    Terri, I really appreciated your comments, and I mostly agree with you. The problem that I think arises is that not all women are the same. While I don’t want to be a bishop, there are some women who might really enjoy that and be great at it if given an opportunity. While I could probably be totally happy with things as they are (well, not totally happy but mostly happy :) ), I also have empathy for my sisters who are not in the same situation as me, with an active, faithful husband – or even a husband at all. Or maybe these are sisters who have experienced abuses by priesthood authorities, or served as an auxiliary president under a bishop who was not so enlightened as others.

    About letter writing. It would be awesome if this worked, but it doesn’t. If you write a letter with your name on it, they will refer you to your local authorities. If you send it anonymously, most likely it will just be thrown out. It’s very difficult to move things up the line. And as for praying, women have been doing that for years regarding women’s issues in the church and while small steps have been taken, there are still issues that should be addressed. (Again, I will state that I do not personally agitate for priesthood, just improvement.)

    David, to clarify a few of my comments. Regarding ward council, on the few I’ve been on there have been 9 men in attendance (Bishopric, executive secretary, ward clerk, EQ president, HP group leader, YM president and Sunday School president) and 3 women (auxiliary presidents). I said 11 because I was also counting elder missionaries because they do attend ward council here. Then again, so do the sisters (we have a set of each in our ward) so I am either bad at math (truth) or just wanted to point out the disparity (also truth). So, in our current ward council we have 5 women and 11 men. In most wards, you probably have 3 and 9. Even though the clerk and secretary are not involved in decision making, they are still privy to a lot of ward business that women are not. Take them out and you still have 3 and 7. Anyway…it varies, but that’s not really the point, just that any way you look at it, women are under-represented.

    As for PEC, I would hope that RS presidents are always invited, but my experience is that they are not. Here again, even if they are you are talking one woman and multiple men (we won’t do the math on this one ;) ). That is not even to mention bishopric meetings, which occur every week, sometimes more than once a week, and never include a woman.

    About budgets. Yes, I am aware that all budgets go through the bishop, including the men’s. I suppose the beef here is that women used to have more control over their budgets and that has been taken away.

    Finally, with staffing. I would hope that most women understand that there are things we are not aware of when a “no” is given. In most cases, I think the way a bishop responds can make a lot of difference here. A simple “no”, while it makes sense to the bishop, doesn’t make a lot of sense to a president who is having strong impressions about a certain person. Perhaps the bishop could say “not at this time” or give a simple explanation without divulging confidences. I know in my experience an explanation such as this was usually enough. However, (and yes, I did really have a bishop say this to me once) “Sunbeam teacher? But Sister so-and-so is capable of so much more!”

    Yikes.

  • Angie Gardner April 3, 2014, 3:10 pm

    Oh, forgot to address visiting teaching and home teaching.

    Agreed, all families in the ward are visited by home teachers but not all by visiting teachers. Trying to think back on my previous wards to think of how many single men we had, and in most wards it has been approximately 5-10. In my current ward, I can think of 4. This too will vary but I think usually the numbers are not significant, especially since you have 2 men’s organizations to figure it out. You also have more home teachers theoretically, since YM home teach but YW do not. A blessing and a curse, I’m sure. :)

    Not to mention all the behind-the-scenes home teaching done by the women, i.e. baking the bread or cookies the hubby takes or nagging him to do his home teaching.

    Totally joking about that last part. :)

  • Terrie Lynn Bittner April 4, 2014, 6:43 am

    Angie, I joined the church as a teenager, the only member of the church to do so. There was no priesthood in my home until I married, but I never felt I was not protected by the priesthood. I don’t have to cook the meal myself to get the nutritional value of eating it. The priesthood was always there for me when I needed it and I felt my home was protected by it even when there were no priesthood holders living in it. If my husband died, I would still have the priesthood in my home.

    Concerning prayer: I do know there are women who prayed about it–I was one of them when I was investigating. However, as a person who has happily taught Primary for decades I know that God always answers prayers. He says yes, no, or not yet. So, if a woman prays for the priesthood and doesn’t get it, she is either getting a no or a not yet answer–but she did get an answer. The question is…do we trust God’s promise to always answer our prayers–although to answer them in the best way over all, rather than just in the way we want him to answer them? If so, we don’t need to advocate. We just need to trust God–and keep praying if it’s really important to us. When God wanted the priesthood returned to black men, he put into the role of prophet a man who longed for it to happen. He knew from the beginning when that moment would be and who needed to be the prophet at that moment. I believe that if He wants women to have the priesthood–and I don’t think He does or Jesus would have chosen female apostles in the Bible and Book of Mormon–He will do the same thing. He will put in place a prophet who will plead with God for it.

    I always hear as a reason for women getting the priesthood that some male priesthood holders and leaders are not doing it correctly. Honestly, that doesn’t even make sense as a reason. Putting women into those offices won’t end the possibility of imperfect leaders. When I was growing up in the 60s and 70s, women said that if women held office, there would be no wars. It turns out women vote for war, too. The truth is that a person who is going to ignore the way God taught us to do something isn’t doing it because he is male or female. He is doing it because that’s who he is at this moment. A woman priesthood holder could be just as unrighteous. What we need to do is to raise the bar as we raise our children. The more strong and faithful children we have, the fewer unrighteous leaders we will have in the future–of either gender. Putting women in office will not fix that problem.

    The bottom line for me is that it does not matter who leads. It only matters that the leader does what God asks him to do. If he is doing that, no one has power but God. Not having the priesthood will not affect my eternal salvation, so I have more important things to worry about. One thing teaching Primary has taught me is that the saving doctrines are the ones I need to focus my life on.
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  • Angie Gardner April 4, 2014, 1:16 pm

    “The priesthood was always there for me when I needed it and I felt my home was protected by it even when there were no priesthood holders living in it.”
    -I think we might be talking about 2 different things here, power and authority. The power of the priesthood is there to bless everyone, and is available to all (maybe with a few phone calls but fairly easily accessed). The authority is not as accessible to all.

    “I know that God always answers prayers. He says yes, no, or not yet.”
    -This could probably easily be a topic for another blog post (and probably has been). I am not great at explaining myself with this topic so I’ll leave it at that. It’s complicated.

    “I believe that if He wants women to have the priesthood–”
    -Again, I personally do not agitate for priesthood ordination for women. That doesn’t mean I don’t pray for women’s equality in other ways. Mormon feminism is so multi-faceted. Many feminists want ordination and many do not. So when I said women have prayed about this for years, that means hundreds, maybe thousands, of different women asking for different things that they see as equalizing. For me personally it has just been praying to feel that I have more of a place in the church as a woman and that my voice is heard more often. I have never prayed about priesthood per se because I don’t think women need it to have very real and meaningful changes happen. My point is just that not all women are praying for the same thing. I’m sure some women are praying that the feminists will just go away. That isn’t any more likely to happen than women’s ordination. So, my prayers are just for progress.

    “Putting women into those offices won’t end the possibility of imperfect leaders.”
    -Agreed, and I’ve never claimed that it would. Again, I’m not agitating for priesthood, just more involvement for women. I’ve served in enough presidencies to know that women aren’t perfect either – none of us are. Women and men do bring different talents and points of view to the table, though, and that has been somewhat one-sided because of the few opportunities for women to have a place in the conversation.

    “The bottom line for me is that it does not matter who leads. It only matters that the leader does what God asks him to do.”
    -Agreed again. But if it doesn’t matter who leads, why not more women? Why can’t a woman do what God asks her to do just as much as a man can do what God asks him to do?

    There was a great post on LDS WAVE a few years back. Google “I Feel Unequal When” and it should come up. While I don’t agree with everything mentioned there, there are certainly many things mentioned that give food for thought.

  • Reuben Dunn April 9, 2014, 11:58 pm

    In 1985, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS, now known as the Community of Christ.) took the unprecedented, and non scriptural step of ordaining women into its priesthood, and Apostleship.
    This received world wide media attention at the time.
    It also signaled the beginnings of a mass exodus of their membership, which at the time, barely stood at just over the 300,000 mark, estimates showed that nearly half of their membership, over time, took a walk. Many starting splinter groups, including one that is currently known as “The Organization”, with the goal in mind of “restoring” that which was changed unscripturaly, namely the proper role and function of their priesthood.
    According to a Salt Lake Tribune article, written in 1992, the shift from the historical perspective of the priesthood, along with their watering down the doctrines of the restoration, meant that:
    “Nearly 15 percent of formerly active RLDS now attend “dissent congregations,” possibly as many as 150 congregations, according to [RLDS historian Bill] Russell,… ”
    There is a cautionary tale in all of this.
    When one tries to steady the ark, and somehow bring it in alignment with what the world demands, there is a price to be paid, sometimes, that price will cause more damage and harm to the ark than good.
    There are those who advocate change, who want to have the priesthood. They affirm that they are loyal members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, that they sustain the Prophet, Apostles, as men, called of God. They seemingly support Thomas S. Monson as a Prophet, Seer, and Revelator, and the only person on the face of the earth to receive revelation on behalf of all of Heavenly Fathers’ children.
    Yet these self same people are ignoring the very counsel that they are seeking, simply because they don’t like the answer.
    Joseph got an answer that Martin Harris didn’t like, asked it three times, and finally got what he asked for. The results? 116 manuscript pages that are now lost to the world. All because he, and Martin, couldn’t take “No” for an answer.
    While we DO have the priesthood authority, as opposed to the RLDS/CoC, look at what happened to their membership when the decision was made to cave in, to follow the dictates of what the world demanded? Then just imagine what similarly would happen were the same thing to occur within the ranks of the LDS faith?
    What many are forgetting is this simple litmus test, as taught by President Joseph Fielding Smith. It is a shame that so far the discussion here, and elsewhere has shifted away from what the word of God teaches us? Joseph Fielding Smith, taught, as found in Doctrines of Salvation 3:203-204: “It makes no difference what is written or what anyone has said, if what has been said is in conflict with what the Lord has revealed, we can set it aside. My words, and the teachings of any other member of the Church, high or low, if they do not square with the revelations, we need not accept them. Let us have this matter clear. We have accepted the four standard works as the measuring yardsticks, or balances, by which we measure every man’s doctrine.
    “….If Joseph Fielding Smith writes something which is out of harmony with the revelations, then every member of the Church is duty bound to reject it. If he writes that which is in perfect harmony with the revealed word of the Lord, then it should be accepted…”
    The arguments for universal ordination have, thus far, have had little, if anything to do with scriptural reasoning, but have more to do with so called “equality” as the world sees it.
    It is a pity that the words of the prophets are absent from the discussion. There simply is no harmony with what is contained in the canon of scripture.

  • Vince W April 10, 2014, 12:20 am

    I may be late to the party, but I just wanted to say a few things.

    I agree that the question actually asked was phrased poorly and would tend to skew to the negative. But the statements posed under “what was not asked” are even more incorrect for the same reasons pointed out in the article. I don’t know if it was the intention of the author to provide alternatives.

    The question as posed, upon further reflection, is “is the current church policy correct?” But all of the other questions provided by the author state, either blatantly or assumptively, “would you follow church policy if it changed?” The final question is the least biased (“would you like it if women could righteously hold the priesthood?”) but even that is a minefield where a change in church policy is assumed (by use of the word “righteously” which can connote personal worthiness and/or sanctioned by leadership). I would answer yes to all of those questions posed, but I am against the ordination of women in light of recent statements by church leaders and my own viewpoints on the roles of and need for women and men in the family.

    A more correct question to gauge support for the ordain women movement would be something more like “if put to a vote, would you vote to extend priesthood ordination to worthy women?” I’m not saying this would be a perfect question, but in my mind, this sort of question has less assumptions, subtext, and bias.

    If asked that question I would say no. This is largely because the women closest to me (like my wife, mother, mother-in-law, etc.) have unequivocally stated they do not want priesthood responsibility and I believe the division of responsibility between men and women in the home and church is ideal for raising a family. But if President Monson got up in October and announced that women were ordained to the priesthood, I would is say “Awesome!” and then ask my wife to give me a blessing.

  • Shawn April 10, 2014, 11:14 am

    One important distinction about the revelation in 1978 keeps getting overlooked, that puts in in completely different perspective than women receiving the priesthood.

    It was taught that at some point this revelation would occur, and it was a sign to precede the Second Coming. So when it did occur, AND within someone’s own lifetime, it was cause for great rejoicing for many, even if they had not other reason to be other than to rejoice that a sign had been given, they were a part of it, and that God had spoken to our prophet.

    Undoubtedly there would be rejoicing if women were given the priesthood, but since its not an anticipated event, looked for as a sign preceding the second coming, any comparison between each might be a little too much wishful thinking.

    I also wonder about the context of such revelation. Would it be allowed, but in some similar fashion as marriage, pre 1890? Meaning – all could marry, but only a relatively few were asked/approved to participate in plural marriage. In like manner, only a select few women would actually be authorized to hold the priesthood – such as those that serve in particular callings, in the temple, etc. Or what if it was given and retracted as one was called/released to a calling such as a presidency, serving a mission. So the priesthood became available, but only to assist those serving in the roles we currently identify as gender specific.

    Its all speculative of course, but perhaps that would be how the Lord would desire to handle the priesthood, and being His church, all the options are His. What then?

  • Alison Moore Smith April 10, 2014, 11:38 am

    Reuben Dunn, it’s interesting info about RLDS, but completely irrelevant if you ask me. We don’t believe that the RLDS church has God’s authority to do anything — including ordain the RLDS men — so how a particular action impacted them doesn’t mean anything in the context of the LDS church.

    When one tries to steady the ark, and somehow bring it in alignment with what the world demands, there is a price to be paid, sometimes, that price will cause more damage and harm to the ark than good.

    First, please note that this post wasn’t about whether or not women should be ordained. It was about the misuse of polling stats.

    But next, you employ a pretty common semantic trick and it’s kind of boring (and not unlike the misuse of stats). As soon as you don’t like a particular idea, you begin adding nefarious labels, like “steadying the ark” and Martin Harris comparisons.

    You could compare OW to those (like Elder Holland — before he was ELDER Holland) who wanted the current church position to be WRONG and wanted blacks to get the priesthood (with full privileges, before the resurrection, etc.) when the official position was “not going to happen.” You could compare them to Emma who vocally and unequivocally pointed out to Joseph (even though Joseph was THERE and had EYES) that the “School of the Prophets” was a disgusting pig sty. You could compare them to myriad other woman and men who aided in incredibly valuable change in church policy and perception by actually speaking up about problems.

    But you don’t because it doesn’t fit your narrative.

    The arguments for universal ordination have, thus far, have had little, if anything to do with scriptural reasoning, but have more to do with so called “equality” as the world sees it.

    The arguments for gender-selective ordination have, thus far, had little, if anything, to do with scriptural reasoning, but have more to do with so called “appropriate roles” as the world saw it thousands of years ago.

    But I’ll ask you what I keep asking everyone (and have for 45 years). Can you tell me the scriptural formula for when “man” means “mankind” and when it means “males”?
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Career Inequality No More – Obama Will Pay You to Be a Super Model!!!My Profile

  • Alison Moore Smith April 10, 2014, 11:52 am

    Vince W:

    I don’t know if it was the intention of the author to provide alternatives.

    No, they were not intended as alternative questions. They were a sampling of the erroneous conclusions many people made about the result.

    This is largely because the women closest to me (like my wife, mother, mother-in-law, etc.) have unequivocally stated they do not want priesthood responsibility and I believe the division of responsibility between men and women in the home and church is ideal for raising a family.

    Hard for me to understand this response, although it’s pretty common.

    When women say “I have enough to do” or something, I’m unsure how this fits. I don’t see women in the church just taking it easy while the men do all the heavy lifting (sometimes not even literally — I’ve helped people move, I’ve set up tables and chairs).

    What “responsibility” are they avoiding by not being ordained? The responsibility of participating in a healing blessing for a sick child? (I’m in the room anyway, would it be an onerous burden to move my hands to the child’s head or utter part of the prayer?) The responsibility of making sure all the Sunday School classes are staffed? (As opposed to, say, the (apparently non-onerous) responsibility of making sure all the Primary classes are staffed?) The responsibility of stepping into the water to baptize the family you just taught? (Rather than standing next to the font and watching?)

    Sincerely, what is this enormous burden so many women claim to want to avoid?

    As for the division of responsibility being ideal for raising a family — how so? What is it about the division that is “family friendly”? Or what would it be about ordaining women that would necessitate a climate that would harm families?
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 10, 2014, 12:00 pm

    Shawn:

    It was taught that at some point this revelation would occur, and it was a sign to precede the Second Coming.

    Shawn, that’s actually not true. One of these recent threads (sorry, I can’t look back right now) I left a whole slew of authoritative quotes.

    The church position was unclear, but there were two prominent views:

    1. Blacks would be ordained after the resurrection
    2. Blacks would have some priesthood blessings, but would not be sealed, etc. (would be ministering angels in the lowest kingdom of the celestial kingdom)

    I agree that there aren’t statements indicating that women will be ordained at any particular time (such as before the second coming of Christ), but the temple ceremonies certainly indicates it will happen SOMETIME.

    In like manner, only a select few women would actually be authorized to hold the priesthood – such as those that serve in particular callings, in the temple, etc.

    Elder Oaks implied that is already the case. Not ordination, but female use of priesthood authority in administering ordinances in the temple has been happening since the restoration.

    Unsure what you mean by, “What then?” This post was about misuse of stats. I’m not part of OW and haven’t asked to be ordained. I have, however, been discussing the issues around church gender disparity for 45 years because they don’t make sense to me.
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  • Vince W April 10, 2014, 8:18 pm

    Alison:

    Sorry, but this is going to be long.

    I understand that there will be plenty to pick apart in my statements, but I’m not here to argue what would or would not happen if women were ordained. This is not meant as an argument, but simply an incomplete elucidation of my viewpoints as to the roles of men and women in the church and in the family. This is also not a counter-point to anything you said, but, again, just an explanation and attempt to answer the questions you posed.

    Regarding, additional responsibilities that can come with the priesthood, there is no question that certain priesthood callings come with additional responsibility (like any calling). Before I get into the additional responsibility, it should be noted that stating that my wife does not want additional responsibilities does not mean she is “avoiding” responsibility or wants to do so. Nor does it mean that women’s responsibilities as they now exist in the church or family are less onerous or important than men’s. I can’t think of a Primary President who hasn’t served circles around the Sunday School President, Elder’s Quorum President, and High Priest’s Group Leader.

    Obviously, responsibilities that come with the priesthood are not limited to the outward, public manifestations (blessing a baby, baptizing a convert, or presiding in sacrament meeting) and I know that’s not what you meant, but there undoubtedly responsibilities that fall on the priesthood that do not fall on church members in general. As it stands right now, no woman in the church has the terrible responsibility of telling another member “You should not take the sacrament for the next two months,” “You may be re-baptized into the church in one year, pending approval,” “I’m sorry but the church just can’t pay your rent this month.” My wife doesn’t want to be called to make determinations regarding worthiness, to counsel others in the repentance process, to determine who receives welfare from the church, or be a part of the counsels that make such decisions. I don’t think anyone seeks to take part in that (at least nobody in their right mind; I’ve been in those counsels and they are run by spirit but they are not enjoyable). People do make those decisions because the Lord has asked them to. My wife doesn’t want the Lord to ask her to do that.

    My wife does not want to be responsible for receiving revelation for a ward or stake, calling speakers for church, counting tithing, or many other service that is now done solely by the priesthood. Before anyone starts jumping up and down on me, I understand ordination to the priesthood does not mean she will automatically have all these responsibilities or that she will ever have them, but it means that she may have them. Knowing what kind of woman my wife is, I’m pretty sure that if she were ordained to the priesthood, one day she would have some if not all of those types of responsibilities. I’m also pretty sure that one day she will be a relief society president despite the fact that she does not seek or want such a calling.

    As for the division of responsibility in the family, the proclamation on the family states “By divine design, fathers are . . . responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.” The church leaders have stated in no uncertain terms that, in general, the ideal home setting is one where the husband provides and protects (generally by working in the world) while the wife nurtures (generally by working in the home). This is not a rule, nor a commandment, and there are many families where a different set-up is ideal, but for my family and for most families the working-father and stay-at-home mother is optimal.

    I believe this is because my children need a mother more than then need a father (they need both, but stick with me for a second). A mother is generally better suited to teaching and caring for children on a day-to-day basis than a father. In an eternal perspective, a husband and wife share these responsibilities equally (if my kid turns out rotten it’s both our faults or mine alone, not hers), but on the ground, women do most of the work in the trenches raising children. This is the set-up because the children need the mother there more often and to a greater degree than they need the father. A good father will make the most of the time with his children and take full responsibility for raising them, but he may spend the majority of his time providing for their physical needs over the daily “care and feeding.” A good father will come home from work and step in to teach the kids, change the diapers, clean the house, and help the family at home.

    Mother’s need to be with their children as much as possible because the work of a mother in nurturing for children on a day to day basis is vastly more important from an eternal and mortal perspective than the fathers role in bringing home a paycheck to cover the temporal needs of the family. Both are important and necessary, but what I do at my job and how much money I make is not nearly as important as what and how my wife teaches our children.

    For a mother to be able to nurture her children, she needs to have time to spend with them. If my wife were called into a bishopric, as a ward clerk, as an executive secretary, or some other substantial priesthood calling, she would have significantly less time to spend with her children. That isn’t to say that women don’t already provide immense service and innumerable hours, but the fact is that certain callings in the church take more time than others, and these responsibilities largely fall on the priesthood. I believe that the bishop and relief society president are the busiest people in any ward, but I also believe a counselor to a bishop and a counselor to a relief society president generally do not have the same time commitments (having experienced the time commitments for both I can say this with at least minimal confidence).

    More callings that require more time commitment are generally given to the priesthood because men are usually missed less at home. Think about when your father leaves for basketball on Tuesday night versus when your mother leaves for a weekday relief society meeting on Wednesday night? Which absence has a bigger impact on your family that night? Now imagine if your mother were called as a bishop or a counselor in a bishopric and was gone all day Sunday, most of the day Saturday, and at least three nights out of the week. How would that affect your family?

    If my wife were called as a bishop, I believe my wife would do a wonderful job, my family would somehow survive, and we would be blessed for her service. But I know it would be a lot easier and possibly less deleterious for my family if I were to serve as bishop and my wife were able to spend more time at home. I believe that’s the case for most families in the church. And I believe the Lord has set up this division of responsibility in order to support the family.

    In short, the Lord wants more mothers to be able to spend more time with their children because their children need them more than they need their fathers; the Lord asks fathers to spend more time in the church because their children do not need them more than they need their mothers. To ordain women to the priesthood, and presumably provide them with 50% of the callings that now belong to the priesthood, would take many women out of their homes and away from their families to a greater extent than what is required now (think back to President Packer saying we already have too many programs in the church that take away from family time).

    This is not to mean that women are not already taken out of the home for church service, or that if a woman is called into a bishopric then there will necessarily be an epidemic of teenage hooliganism, but I believe the Lord has set up the division of responsibility in the family and church (since the time of Adam) the way he has for a reason. If the Lord says it’s time for a change, I will wholeheartedly welcome it while praying that my wife doesn’t get called away from our family. The current church policies and practices, while far from perfect according to my opinion, is designed to allow mothers to spend as much time with their families while still giving the church the inestimable benefit of their service.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 11, 2014, 12:09 am

    Hi Vince:

    here is no question that certain priesthood callings come with additional responsibility (like any calling).

    Vince that parenthetical is the kicker. “Like any calling.” I understand that callings are different and that the responsibilities are different — just like I understand that having “access to the blessings of the priesthood” isn’t the same as “having the blessing or administering the priesthood” (although that point seems to elude almost everyone in the discussion). But “additional responsibility” isn’t synonymous with “different responsibility.” It’s more in line with “more responsibility.” And as a general rule in the church, I don’t see men carrying a GREATER burden, just a DIFFERENT one.

    Of course no woman in the church has the responsibility to do anything a bishop or stake president does because she’s never been a bishop or stake president. Just as no man has ever been a Relief Society president or compassionate service leader.

    You say your wife doesn’t want to be called to make such decisions. Fine. But honestly, do you know any man who admitted to wanting that either? “Yes, mostly I’m looking forward to excommunicating people! Bwahahahaha!” So, do we tell men having the priesthood is a horrid, terrible, awful things because, well, you MIGHT have to be a bishop some day and THEN JUST LOOK AT THE MAYHEM!!! Why don’t we tell the young men that they are signing up for some awful shizz?

    For that matter, why don’t we tell women they might have to dress dead people, look through people’s cupboards and tell them exactly what food they can have, and clean animal feces from under cabinets? Not to mention be “delegated” the food assignments for every “ward” party (and even “quorum” parties) throughout all eternity?

    Sincerely, you say your wife doesn’t want to avoid responsibility and then list all these supposedly really “terrible” things that she doesn’t want to do — and you do it as if the poor guys just do EVERY HARD thing while the women are making refrigerator magnets. But…well…we’re not. (And gosh, if we are, isn’t it time we stepped up and did our fair share for the kingdom?!)

    Here are the things I think are true:

    • Being in the church means service. You can’t get away from it. It’s part of the package.
    • We don’t apply for callings. Under most circumstances we take what we are offered.
    • It’s OK to have callings we prefer and callings we don’t prefer. Under most circumstances we are happy about those we prefer and maybe not so happy about the others, but we still buck up, pray a lot, and do our best in those. Generally, we find growth and blessings in both kinds.
    • The priesthood isn’t a “calling.”
    • Both male and female callings have things that are desirable and things not so desirable about them.
    • Both women and men work hard in the church.

    All that said, the priesthood discussion almost always comes back to what I think are really lame talking points. Namely: “Why do you want to be a bishop??? Look at the horrendous things bishops do! You power seeker, you!” and “Why do you want more responsibility??? You do enough already. Plus, men do all the hard stuff you don’t want to do!”

    Look at your paragraph about division of responsibility. It has so many caveats that it went nowhere.

    “The Family is utterly clear that husband should provide and wives should nurture and that usually, often, sometimes, kind of, sort of, perhaps, might, at least in my family that means…”

    Look, I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for almost 27 years. (And have run a home business since graduating from college — 2 weeks after my oldest was born.) I’m not really bucking the traditional roles system there. I could argue (a lot) about which parent is “more important,” but it’s beside the point.

    Men serving in bishoprics with little kids aren’t contributing to the providing for the family part. Women serving as Relief Society presidents with small children aren’t contributing to the nurturing part. My husband was in multiple bishoprics and high councils when our kids were young (our youngest is now 10) and I was a Relief Society president and counselor in RS and YW multiple times as well. In fact, when I was the RS president, my husband was 1st counselor in the bishopric — and our kids were young.

    We simply figured out how to manage the service with our families. Made no difference who had the “bigger” calling at the time.

    Vince, with all due respect (and I DO mean that, because you have approached this civility), I think you talk more than you walk. And unfortunately that’s really common among men in the church. You PRAISE women verbally to the nth degree. But you still really believe that MEN do the most work in the church. You don’t see what REALLY happens.

    Do you REALLY think it is harder to attend bishopric meeting, sit on the stand conducting Sacrament Meeting, and and counting tithing than getting four little girls (including a nursing baby) ready for church, sitting ALONE week after week and wrangling them all, waiting around in the foyer keeping them from disturbing others afterward (because you only have one car), spending multiple weekend nights home alone doing everything?

    Do you REALLY think it’s harder to be called to be a mission president, move to another country, have all sorts of adulation and authority along with your responsibilities, and work day and night for the Lord than it is to be called to NOTHING, get no title, move away from your home and family, be given all sorts of responsibilities as an APPENDAGE to your husband, and work day and night for the Lord?

    Do you REALLY think it’s harder to fill the requirements of getting an Eagle Scout award, receiving all sorts of badges and pins and praise and applause and ceremony, have a big hoop-de-doo court of honor, and have “resume worthy” notoriety than it is to fill the requirements to get your Young Womanhood Recognition award, get a couple of ribbons and a costume jewelry pendent, and have the bishop call your name out in Sacrament Meeting?

    I submit to you that men do more that is SEEN of others and RECOGNIZED by others and LAUDED by others — but that they do not actually DO more than the women who are less recognized, less authoritative, less titled, and less respected.
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  • Vince W April 11, 2014, 12:16 pm

    Alison:

    In this response I try to give your statements the most generous reading possible. Nothing is meant as an attack on or presumption about you, a statement as to the wonderful service you render to those around you, or your opinions whether expressed or unexpressed. I don’t pretend to know who you are, what you do, what you’ve seen, or what you believe and think (unless explicitly stated “I believe,” “I think,” etc.) and I never mean to make assumptions or characterizations regarding the same. I would respectfully ask that you do the same.

    What women do serving in the kingdom (whether informally, through callings, or most importantly through the home) is not less important, less difficult, or less laudable than what men do in serving in the kingdom (again whether informally, through callings, or most importantly through the home). Anyone who says that what a man does is more important, more difficult, or more worthy of praise than what a woman does for the kingdom needs to change their opinion, because it is wrong. Anyone who says that men are more important than women because they have the priesthood is dead wrong. If anything in my post made you think or feel that I believe that women work less for the kingdom or that their work is less important, or that I condone this sort of thinking, I apologize as that was the antithesis of my intention (which I thought was clear when I said that the work of a mother in raising a family is the most important responsibility from an eternal perspective or that the services provided by women are of inestimable value).

    I will readily agree with you that men do more that is seen, recognized, and lauded in the church. I will readily agree with you that the recognition and lauding of men over women needs to change. I will readily agree with you that women need to be seen, recognized, and lauded more than they are now. The members of the church, and the men especially, need to recognize and laud women commensurate with the incredible service they provide (although I don’t think it is possible to give enough praise to women for their service). Getting the Young Women’s Medallion is just as big a deal as getting a Duty to God award or Eagle Scout, and should be seen as such by the members of the church (and I believe the Duty to God is more important than Scouting, and I’m currently a Venture Crew Leader). The bishop’s wife deserves as much recognition, praise, love, and support as the bishop. The sacrifices and work of a mission president’s wife are no less difficult, important, or praiseworthy than those of a mission president (my mission president will readily agree when I say his wife was his biggest asset and his best “attribute”). I believe that the most important work a man or woman can do is within the walls of their own home; to wit, the work done by a father or mother in the home is vastly more important, more difficult, and more worthy of praise than any calling in the church. I think that wrangling one daughter (much less four!) and keeping her quiet in church while alone in the pew is more difficult, more important, and more praiseworthy than being a counsellor to a bishop (although my wife disagrees with me).

    Men, leaders, and the church in general need to recognize, laud, and support the wonderful stay-at-home moms, working moms, single parents, and ALL women than they do now. Anyone who believes that women deserve less respect, honor, or recognition than men for what they do (in and out of the home) needs to change their opinion, because it is wrong. But to say that women need to be ordained to the priesthood so that they can receive more recognition, more praise, more gratitude, and/or more visibility from the world or the members of the church is dangerous (I do NOT believe these are the reasons most people support the ordination of women).

    To be clear, the division of responsibility in the home and in the church is not a question of importance or difficulty, it is a question of where people are asked to allocate their time. I said that, in the aggregate and not the particular (bishop vs. relief society president), the organization of the church is such that men are asked to and should provide more time to serving the needs of the church. I did not say that women spend all their time making refrigerator magnets, or that women do not do enough in the church, or that what women do is less important than what men do, or that that what women do is less difficult than what men do, or that men should be lauded more than women, or even that men actually spend more time serving in the church for women. Again my previous statements may not have been clear, and it probably seemed like I was speaking in the actual when I was speaking largely in the ideal.

    Again, what I said (or meant to say) was the church is set up so that, when running ideally (which never happens due to human frailty), men would spend more time serving the needs of those in the church so that women can spend more time serving the needs of the family. Does this mean that men actually spend more time serving in the church? I honestly don’t know, but I would probably say no. I think women are generally so much better at magnifying their callings than men and women devote more time to their callings and responsibilities. I do know that my wife generally spends more time in her callings than I do in mine. I also know that I am imperfect, I have a lot of room for improvement, and should do a better job of magnifying my calling.

    But does this mean that in an ideal congregation the work of men would be more important or more praiseworthy than the work of women, just because they are asked to spend more time? No. It does mean that in a perfect congregation the elder’s quorum would step up and fulfill the responsibilities they already have to watch over the welfare of and serve the men and women of the ward, which in turn would naturally lighten the load for others. It means that home teachers would step up and make more than a half hour visit once a month to shoot the breeze and ask “anything we can do for you?” Instead, they would provide more meaningful service to their families in more ways (this does not mean that in an ideal ward visiting teachers would be obsolete or that they aren’t important or necessary, so please don’t take it that way).

    In short, my understanding of the division of responsibility is a question of the allocation of time between the home and the church, not the importance we as members perceive, the praise we give, or the “comparative” difficulty. It is a question of where the Lord wants us to spend our time as mothers and fathers, men and women. He needs all of us to serve each other and take care of our families and those around us, but he asks men to spend more time serving outside the home so that mothers can spend more time doing the important and difficult work at home.

    I don’t think I have illusions about what women and men REALLY do in serving in the church, but I won’t say I have a complete grasp on the magnitude of what either gender does in the church or in the home. I believe that the ward would cease to function if women did not serve as wonderfully and faithfully as they do. I don’t believe that in the ideal congregation, women would cease to serve or that the importance of women’s service would decrease.

    When I was in a bishopric, I tried my best to appreciate the women in the ward and to act that way. whenever I saw the relief society president or primary president, I asked them what I could do for them in their callings and personally (it was a married-student ward so there were no young women). I did this because I saw and believed that they were devoting more time and energy to serving the ward than anyone else, save the bishop, and needed more support and more help. I thanked them as deeply as I knew how both in meetings and in personal settings. I believe that what I did do to help and thank and praise them was insufficient in comparison with the amazing service they provided. I should have done more to help and honor them, and I’m sad I didn’t magnify my calling better in that aspect. I tried my best to make sure they felt included and represented in the ward, I tried to think about what the women in the ward needed and constantly asked the relief society president what I could do better. Again, I know I could’ve done better, and I’m trying to do better.

    Finally, I will just say that in my previous post regarding the division of responsibility, I have caveats because every family is different, every ward is different, and I was trying to state my opinions and understanding of how the church and family interact without offending those who need adaptations to the ideal. If you think the caveats make it so my main statements is pointless, then so be it. The leaders of the church have stated clearly the ideal roles of men and women in the family along with reasons for those roles, how they are to be fulfilled, and an understanding that exceptions will apply as to be determined by each family on an individual basis.

    And finally finally, I do wish there were more information, training, etc. regarding how the priesthood and church can provide greater support and recognition of women, so thank you for the thoughts you provide in this blog.

  • Reuben Dunn April 13, 2014, 10:17 am

    Alison, you wrote:
    First, please note that this post wasn’t about whether or not women should be ordained. It was about the misuse of polling stats
    Alison, this is not a real poll in any event. The question is poorly written, and there are no control parameters set. There is no way to verify who actually responded, e.g., which gender, how many times the question was answered, whether or not the individual responding to the poll was even a Latter-day Saint to begin with. It is hard to take such online “polls” seriously when they are this flawed.
    They DO serve a purpose I suppose, look at the dialogue it created.
    Please note also that this post has evolved, in much the same way that proponents of universal ordination are asking for the Church to likewise evolve with the rest of the world. There is a subtle irony here I think.
    You then commented:
    Reuben Dunn, it’s interesting info about RLDS, but completely irrelevant if you ask me. We don’t believe that the RLDS church has God’s authority to do anything — including ordain the RLDS men — so how a particular action impacted them doesn’t mean anything in the context of the LDS church.
    Alison; It is completely relevant. It is not a question of whether or not that WE don’t believe about the RLDS, but what THEY believe. My late grandmother was a member of that church and I can tell you, her testimony about their line of authority, priesthood etc., was as strongly felt as mine is concerning Thomas S. Monson, Tithing, temple attendance, the Book of Mormon, etc.
    The impact on their overall membership because of caving into what the world wants is, as I noted, a cautionary tale for us to be aware of. The mass exodus from the church, which some have estimated to be nearly 50%, over what was seen as a non-scripturally based decision can, and please note my caveat here, can have a similar, albeit perhaps smaller reaction here in the LDS community.
    You then made the following comment:
    But next, you employ a pretty common semantic trick and it’s kind of boring (and not unlike the misuse of stats). As soon as you don’t like a particular idea, you begin adding nefarious labels, like “steadying the ark” and Martin Harris comparisons.
    What kind of trick here my friend? Harris and Smith asked over three times for something that the Lord told them “No” to on the first attempt. What was the end result? Are you suggesting that there is not a similar event in the making here? “Nefarious labels”? Seriously? This is hardly productive dialogue with someone who you choose to disagree with don’t you think?
    You then referenced Elder Holland:
    You could compare OW to those (like Elder Holland — before he was ELDER Holland) who wanted the current church position to be WRONG and wanted blacks to get the priesthood (with full privileges, before the resurrection, etc.) when the official position was “not going to happen.”
    The difference here is simply this. President Holland may have wanted the priesthood to be given to all worthy males in the church, (PLEASE note the restriction was not just for Black men, but for all men who were of mixed blood. There were some serious problems in Brazil because of interracial heritage.) but President Holland, as he was known then, DID NOT attempt to publically “Storm the Bastille” or make public statements that put him in direct opposition to the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the church. Had he done so, do you seriously think he would have lasted either in the Church Education system, or as president of BYU? You are attempting fit this particular square peg into a rather tiny mouse hole. ( I would also like to know the source/talk reference that you have to CLAIM that President Holland wanted the position to be WRONG. I have little time for rumors, or “I heard it from someone, who had a brother who had a friend who heard him tell this at a Chuck-o-Rama…”Can you cite the source of this please?)
    You then added:
    You could compare them to Emma who vocally and unequivocally pointed out to Joseph (even though Joseph was THERE and had EYES) that the “School of the Prophets” was a disgusting pig sty.
    Wives are like that. They have eyes, and, in many cases, more wisdom than their husband. Using Emma is a tad disingenuous I think.
    It was because of her asking the Prophet if there was something more that the women of the Church could do, other than bake bread, that the Relief Society was formed. Please tell me that this “Exclusive – Women Only” organization has not had any impact, either on a local or worldwide basis? The wheat etc. that went to Europe, that Elder Ezra Taft Benson took over, after the Second World War, came from the granaries that were under the charge of the Relief Society.
    Your use of Emma and Elder Holland is a straw-man argument, and, is kind of boring .
    You further commented:
    You could compare them to myriad other woman and men who aided in incredibly valuable change in church policy and perception by actually speaking up about problems.
    But you don’t because it doesn’t fit your narrative.
    My “narrative” as you call it is rather simple. The argument for ordination of women, as I originally wrote, “ thus far, have had little, if anything to do with scriptural reasoning, but have more to do with so called “equality” as the world sees it.”
    The difficulty with the “narrative” of those who advocate this change, is that they, (Perhaps you as well?) scripturally speaking, simply do not have a leg to stand on. They cannot support their demand for change with anything other than secular reasoning. This is hardly the litmus test for scriptural revelation. Parenthetically I could not help but notice that the only comments you take issue with are mine. You seem to ignore those direct statements from the President of the Church, e.g., Joseph Fielding Smith.
    His remarks, SHOULD be the focus of whatever narrative you seem to feel I have.
    Proponents of universal ordination, falls far, far short of the mark simply because of the litmus test that President Smith presented, and which you have chosen to ignore, which is that the Standard Works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are there for a reason. They are the standard upon which all church doctrine is to be based. You know this already. But you seem to ignore this for some reason. One can’t help but wonder why?
    You also chose to cut off and ignore a statement I made in connection with the quotation listed below:
    The arguments for universal ordination have, thus far, have had little, if anything to do with scriptural reasoning, but have more to do with so called “equality” as the world sees it.
    You ignored the concluding sentence:
    “It is a pity that the words of the prophets are absent from the discussion. There simply is no harmony with what is contained in the canon of scripture.”
    DO I have a “Narrative?” Nope. My position has been, and always will be this simple: Present an argument for change that is more than just secular trivia.
    Please, show me, from the Standard Works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where this, or any other secular change in society is supported; and then show me the writings and sermons from those men whom the Lord has raised up to be His mouthpiece to the world; namely The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that support this. He is, after all, the only one with the authority to pronounce both doctrine and revelation to the world.
    You concluded with this:
    But I’ll ask you what I keep asking everyone (and have for 45 years). Can you tell me the scriptural formula for when “man” means “mankind” and when it means “males”?
    There is a simple formula for understanding scripture. I call it the three up/three down principle. Simply put, look three verses above the one in question, and three verses below, and then read it in context. You know this already I’m sure.
    Context is everything; something that seems to be absent in either this “poll” which, has no relationship to a properly constructed and un-monitored, scientifically inaccurate poll, and, this particular argument.

  • Alison Moore Smith April 13, 2014, 5:52 pm

    Vince W:

    What women do serving in the kingdom (whether informally, through callings, or most importantly through the home) is not less important, less difficult, or less laudable than what men do in serving in the kingdom…

    Vince, the fact that men are givent titles (and we are all expected to USE those titles) and women rarely get titles (and even when they do, the titles are used so rarely that doing so often raises eyebrows) indicates that church leadership (and membership by following suit) does, in fact, find service men do both more important and more laudable that the work women do. (See ELDER Scott D. Whiting (First Quorum of the Seventy) and SISTER Bonnie L. Oscarson (General Young Women PRESIDENT).

    And to anyone who (as usual) wants to say I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, please note that I’m not the one who insists that we use titles for men. The mountain was made long before I came on the scene.

    I will readily agree with you that men do more that is seen, recognized, and lauded in the church.

    And that is the point. While what women do might not be “less laudable” (by whatever measure you are using), what they do is certainly “less lauded.” So we agree. :)

    Getting the Young Women’s Medallion is just as big a deal as getting a Duty to God award or Eagle Scout, and should be seen as such by the members of the church…

    Duty to God throws a wrench into the odd church/scouting mix, to be sure. (I’d prefer we drop scouts and go with DtG for boys.) But having scouts (with all it’s massive funding and infrastructure) embedded in to the US youth program for boys means that the YW award will NEVER be given the same status.

    But to say that women need to be ordained to the priesthood so that they can receive more recognition, more praise, more gratitude, and/or more visibility from the world or the members of the church is dangerous…

    I didn’t say they need to be ordained to receive recognition. I didn’t say they need to be ordained at all. But given the status and deference offered to those with the priesthood — and to the priesthood itself — it’s kind of obvious that the disparity makes the respect/recognition/voice even harder for women to overcome than it already is given just culture.

    Again, what I said (or meant to say) was the church is set up so that, when running ideally (which never happens due to human frailty), men would spend more time serving the needs of those in the church so that women can spend more time serving the needs of the family.

    My point is that I don’t think the church IS set up that way. I do not think men spend MORE time in church service than women. I also don’t the think the church structure supports the supposed “roles” in The Family. When men are counting tithing they aren’t out earning money for the family. When women are cleaning the homes of the sick, they aren’t nurturing their children.

    I don’t think this is a function of imperfectly implementing a designed structure. I don’t think the designed structure is what you think it is.

    Vince, don’t get me wrong. I think you’re one of the good guys. I think you try hard and you serve with the best intentions. But men have a huge blind spot that few of them ever see around.

    You ponder about “how the priesthood and church can provide greater support and recognition of women.” I object to men being referred to as “the priesthood,” but I’ll get over it and tell you.

    I’m pretty outspoken about gender issues, as you noticed. Most women in the church (in my experience) are not. I think that’s enormously culturally reinforced and perpetuated. In spite of that, however, I have almost NEVER served in a leadership position in which the women did not complain about the male leadership who served over them. To be clear, these were women who would never CONSIDER being part of OW, who would have sounded a resounding “NO” to the survey question, and who are very uncomfortable even addressing gender issues in the church.

    What were their complaints? Almost universally the complaints were (in very polite, subdued verbiage with gentle tones) about heavy-handedness, micromanaging, and lack of autonomy.

    For example:

    1. auxiliary leaders being “notified” who would be called/released to positions
    2. recommendations for staffing being almost always ignored or overridden
      intimate involvement and supervision over lessons, events, activities, assignments
    3. I’m going to tell you about a man who was the bishop when I once served as the Primary chorister. The man is a very good, decent man. (And I’ve been the chorister in every ward I’ve lived in — it’s the curse of musical people — so it could have been any of them. And, to an extent, it was.)

      Correlation dictates most of the content for the annual Primary Sacrament Meeting program and it takes most of the year to teach the songs, with little time for anything else. (Correlation is a topic for another day.) After nine months of preparation and a few weeks of practice — two weeks before the program — the bishop came in, cut three songs (that were specified by headquarters), added a song that was not listed, and changed the entire script one of the counselors had written.

      Of course, there was nothing to be said because, you know, the bishop is “inspired” and all that. (And, as women, his inspiration trumps ours. every. time.) Even the most submissive woman involved was quite livid, but maintained the faithful countenance.

      As we reworked the entire program to meet his whims wishes, I suggested that if the bishop wanted to have input into the program, that was his prerogative, but it would be nice to get his input in JANUARY instead of OCTOBER.

    Just on a common sense level, does that need to be pointed out explicitly? I think not. But this kind of thing happens all the time at church. (And, please, don’t tell me this never happened with you or with anyone you’ve worked with. Women won’t tell you this stuff and, in fact, sometimes the same ones who complain will deny it later, because that is what is required of the “faithful” Mormon woman.)

    So, here’s my explicit advice. Treat women in the church as bright, competent, faithful people who don’t need to micromanaged and who can make sound, inspired decisions for those they have stewardships over. Intervene with extreme caution and thought, not just when you would have done things differently. Some of them have no confidence because they’ve never been given any autonomy and they have been conditioned to follow on the heels of the leader. They don’t think they CAN lead.

    The best thing I did in female church leadership was to employ Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits to the organization. I started out leading the women as I had always been lead by men. But reading his book I realized how backward that is. I turned the callings over to the person given the calling. I gave them minimal required guidelines, specified resources they could access, and let them go.

    Result? Far better everything.
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 13, 2014, 6:38 pm

    Reuben Dunn:

    It is hard to take such online “polls” seriously when they are this flawed.

    And so we agree. The results of the poll don’t support what many are claiming the do.

    It is completely relevant. It is not a question of whether or not that WE don’t believe about the RLDS, but what THEY believe.

    Unless you can show me that RLDS and LDS actually behave similarly, it’s irrelevant. Unless you can prove that RLDS women being ordained caused the deterioration in that church, it’s irrelevant. (And not, say, the fact that they moved away from LDS dogma to be more “mainstream Christian” or not that they were actually recruiting people from the Smith bloodline (my husband is a Smith), or myriad other things.)

    Most important, unless you can show me that God in running the RLDS church, it’s irrelevant. I’m sure your grandmother had strong feelings about her beliefs, but as a member of the LDS church, it is having God’s actual, real sanction is the difference that matters, not the feelings of members.

    The impact on their overall membership because of caving into what the world wants is, as I noted, a cautionary tale for us to be aware of.

    But you’ll note that OW isn’t asking the leadership to “cave to what the world wants.”

    What kind of trick here my friend? Harris and Smith asked over three times for something that the Lord told them “No” to on the first attempt. What was the end result? Are you suggesting that there is not a similar event in the making here? “Nefarious labels”? Seriously? This is hardly productive dialogue with someone who you choose to disagree with don’t you think?

    I specified above. You aren’t required to describe their behavior that way. You choose to use the negative labels and examples when you could do otherwise. You are simply not qualified to determine where these people actually stand with God.

    President Holland, as he was known then, DID NOT attempt to publically “Storm the Bastille” or make public statements that put him in direct opposition to the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator of the church. Had he done so, do you seriously think he would have lasted either in the Church Education system, or as president of BYU?

    I’ve addressed that elsewhere (ad naseum). I agree there is a difference. But I also suggest there is a difference for the women. Men have voice in the church women do not have. Men have access women do not have.

    Could the women spend the rest of their lives begging God (quietly, privately, alone) to hear them? Sure they could. Would it help? Actually, probably not. Does that matter? Probably not to you. But it does to them.

    When President Hinckley made the comment that female ordination wasn’t an issue because LDS women weren’t “agitating” for it, it reinforce the idea that our leaders will not see a need or concern UNLESS it is presented to them. And that presentation (unremarkably, if you ask me) is more efficiently done in ways other than hoping and wishing in one’s closet.

    Seriously, you behave as if you think there were just a million Mormons around the world secretly praying for blacks (yes, I know the history, thank you) to get the priesthood and NOT a whole bunch of people actually in the ROOM with President Kimball directly ASKING him the questions.

    Can you cite the source of this please?

    Yes, it’s in my files. I’ll find it and post it later. For the record, he didn’t SAY “I hope the prophet is wrong.” He prayed and hoped for something that was contrary to the authoritative teaching of the time. (Which is, in fact, hoping and praying that it’s wrong.)

    Wives are like that.

    I know. Naggy and mouthy and out of place. Psshhht.

    They have eyes, and, in many cases, more wisdom than their husband. Using Emma is a tad disingenuous I think.

    Yea, I know. Disingenuous because women in the church might actually have wisdom and experience in things men in the church don’t. Like being women in the church. So they shouldn’t speak up about being women in the church to men (who aren’t women) because that’s, you know, storming the Bastille and steadying the ark. Plus going all Martin Harris on you.

    Because having an actual DISCUSSION is so insubordinate.

    Please tell me that this “Exclusive – Women Only” organization has not had any impact, either on a local or worldwide basis?

    This relates to this topic how? (P.S. You know that women in the early church DID bless people, right?)

    The difficulty with the “narrative” of those who advocate this change, is that they, (Perhaps you as well?) scripturally speaking, simply do not have a leg to stand on. They cannot support their demand for change with anything other than secular reasoning.

    What is the leg, scripturally speaking, that you’re standing on to demand that they are wrong?

    Parenthetically I could not help but notice that the only comments you take issue with are mine. You seem to ignore those direct statements from the President of the Church, e.g., Joseph Fielding Smith.

    That might be because the JFS quote you gave makes sense and yours don’t. Just a thought. I’m not ignoring them, I have nothing to add to them.

    It is a pity that the words of the prophets are absent from the discussion. There simply is no harmony with what is contained in the canon of scripture.

    The prophets don’t say a lot about presenting survey results, except, you know, BE HONEST. Which is the point of this post. So, yea, if you want to bring in some prophetic revelation about authoritative Pew survey reading, I’ll be happy to include it in the OP. Kah!

    Present an argument for change that is more than just secular trivia.

    For the love of pete, why didn’t you take your question to someone who’s actually making the argument for the change?

    But if you really need an “argument” for change, they’ve made them. You just aren’t listening. (And, in fact, you seem to have no actual understanding of what they have requested.)

    Please, show me, from the Standard Works of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, where this, or any other secular change in society is supported; and then show me the writings and sermons from those men whom the Lord has raised up to be His mouthpiece to the world; namely The President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints that support this.

    This run-on sentence is kind of a garble. But let’s be clear. Change in the church happens all the time and it happens in response to dealing with current culture, among other things. It’s not pulled from the standard works, it’s CHANGE from what has been done or thought in the past. (Thus the word CHANGE.)

    So, show me (in the standard works and earlier prophetic pronouncements) where blacks get the priesthood in 1978, where Relief Society is correlated, where women pray and speak in church, where polygamy starts (or pretends to end or really ends), where women are sealed to more than one man, where women serve missions, and on and on.

    He is, after all, the only one with the authority to pronounce both doctrine and revelation to the world.

    This might actually explain to you why these women are asking the prophet instead of ordaining each other. Think about that for just a minute before you respond.

    There is a simple formula for understanding scripture. I call it the three up/three down principle. Simply put, look three verses above the one in question, and three verses below, and then read it in context.

    Well, I guess we know what my next non-scheduled post is going to be about. We’ll test your very simple formula and see how it works out.

    Good times.

    P.S. What do you think a “priestess” is?
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  • jennycherie April 13, 2014, 7:35 pm

    “But men have a huge blind spot that few of them ever see around.”
    I think this is the point of WHY we need to have these discussions. Good men with the power to effect change don’t always see the problems, unless they are pointed out. It is hard to point it out without putting them on the defensive.

    Interestingly, I keep noting this tendency to hold women up as paragons who magnify their callings and put men to shame (and this usually perpetuated by good men, who are humble and don’t want to be arrogant or authoritarian). One of my big annoyances in my ward is that the good men are very quick to bend to accommodate the female auxiliary leaders, and at times, the women are not so accommodating. We have had a tradition of having two Sundays each year where the men substitute and run YW and Primary so all the RS sisters can meet together. Originally it was well received and all participated. Slowly, there is cropping up the idea that the men can’t handle YW / Primary and so some of the female leaders stay in with YW / Primary to help them. I have also noticed that when male auxiliaries are in charge of ward activities, they are sometimes undermined by a strong over-bearing woman who will come in and tell them they are doing it wrong and take other their activity. This puts the men in an impossible situation (since it is usually our kind, humble EQ president or HPG leader) of not wanting to be overbearing. I think in this case, it probably has to be the RS president who pulls these women aside and talks to them about how to support the priesthood in their calling. Anyway…. back to the topic at hand ;)
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  • Shawn Elder April 14, 2014, 1:07 am

    Alison,

    After fact checking the survey questionaire, I also discovered the actual data. I agree that if you choose to use the results of the Pew survey to make a point, at least use them honestly and in the context of the actual question and church culture in which they were asked.
    Using the correct statistics would be just as important, wouldn’t you think? ;-)

    They can be found in the pewforum website, within the Mormons-in-America PDF doc. (tried to add a direct link but the blog site would not allow it)
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  • jennycherie April 14, 2014, 1:42 am

    Shawn, what is your point? Alison linked the source for the statistics she quoted. Why do you think they are incorrect?
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    • Shawn Elder April 14, 2014, 11:15 am

      My point is that you can’t extract data from one grouping and mix it from another, and be accurate. When that happens, it becomes misleading.

      People using this Pew Research data keep mixing the datasets between those with a high religious commitment, and then using the data from the general dataset as it is broken down by gender. That is not very accurate. It would be more accurate to also use the gender breakdown of only those with a high religious commitment when using the overall dataset of those with a higher religious commitment.

      That’s not happening – not in the media, not even by Otterson. (I have not actually found that dataset from PEW yet- so it may not be available.)

      In simple terms, what we can accurately say is that of those polled, 87% answered no, and 11% answered yes. By gender, 13% of men said yes, and only 8% of women said yes. This part of the poll data has nothing to do with religious commitment, it only has to do with if you identify yourself with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. (This could include anyone, active, less active, excommunicated -so long as they identified themselves as LDS – for further info on how this was accomplished – see the poll full report)

      The subset data that was parsed found that those polled who claimed to have a high religious commitment – 95% said no to the survey question. However, we do not have this dataset by gender. using this data mixed with the gender based data is an inaccurate representation of the data, since it is not 13% of men and 8% of women who have a high religious commitment.

      Alison’s observation is correct – but its much deeper than just understanding context to the question, it also has to do with how the poll data is actually presented.
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  • jennycherie April 14, 2014, 5:17 pm

    Got it! Thanks for the clarification! This is often the problem with poll data – how the questions are written and how the data is interpreted can completely alter the way in which people understand the information. Recently, our school district asked all parents to participate in a poll regarding school start times. The questions were so obviously geared towards getting a particular answer, it was clear that they were not gathering data, they were trying to create data that would support the decision they had already made.
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  • Alison Moore Smith April 14, 2014, 7:17 pm

    jennycherie, absolutely. I’m all for autonomy on both sides, even when it means abject failure. (For example, when one of the teens was assigned to do something, I did NOT prepare a “backup” plan. It only took about twice for the kids to realize the assignments were for real and Sister Smith didn’t hide a few dozen doughnuts in her trunk “just in case.”) :)

    Shawn, I agree with your points. But all you have to do is read the actual question to see that the claims being made are wrong. There are all sorts of other things that can be parsed, as you point out.

    As they say, “Lies, damned lies, and statistics.” :)
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  • Ashley A April 15, 2014, 7:02 pm

    Yikes…

    I totally forgot about this post and haven’t checked back until today. I know I’m bringing up an old topic but ironically, I DID stop attending Relief Society because I am so tired of being put on the spot. The second you walk in the door, you’re asked to pray or share a thought or read a scripture. Sometimes the instructor throws everyone a curve ball and creates a situation in which everyone in the class is required to read something. I grew so tired of taking my anti-anxiety medication before RS every week, I just quit attending. I haven’t been since 2008. And actually, I also decline to speak in sacrament meeting as well. I have discussed my issues with the bishopric and they have been kind enough to accommodate me, thankfully. I do not suspect this would be the case in every ward, but I’m fortunate enough to have a down-to-earth bishop. I actually had to arrange to defend my thesis over Skype while medicated just because I was terrified of presenting. I know it’s terrible, but it is a phobia that began at church during a bullying incident so until I’m able to work through my issues, it is what it is. I guess this is kind of off the topic though, isn’t it? This is all related to why I do not care to hold the priesthood.

    To the person who mentioned that people should write peaceful letters to the First Presidency: I wish this yielded results. I really do. I remember when I was growing up in Utah and we were watching the KBYU channel. The program that began was nothing short of soft porn… we were all appalled. I do not know what the program was called, but we changed the channel. On a few more occasions, we saw inappropriate programming being advertised on KBYU. For those who do not know, KBYU is owned by the church.

    My father had had enough. He wrote a kind letter to the FP informing them of what was being shown on the church’s channel and asked them to please fix the problem. No reply was ever received and from what we could tell, nothing ever changed.

    Unfortunately, they just won’t listen. I wish they would because I’d rather not see people storming Conference Sessions but if you could come up with another way for OW to be heard or even addressed, I think they’d be happy to hear it. For the record, I’m neutral on the issue. I do not personally feel like I want to hold the priesthood, but I do not object to the ordination of women.

  • Feer O'Reprizl April 19, 2014, 5:42 pm

    I want to say first that I enjoyed reading this discussion, but I didn’t…enjoy it…..in fact, Vince’s comments are were surprisingly open in perpetuating ineffeciency by arrogance. Don’t be angry Bro. but someone needs to help you here or you’re gonna insult people to the point of creating some permanent divisions. I hope you’ll really consider what I think you may not know. Whether YOU think you are right and polite, is not the point, but is frightening. And Bro, look, you offend Sisters. And you offend me. You gave her argument the “most generous interpretation possible.” My Brother?
    The “storming of the Bastille” Really? Human beings approaching a door and asking entrance and stepping away when denied, is the same as the murder of a hundred? Why? Because those asking to be let in are only women? Or because those murdered at the Bastille were only French? One day your great grandchildren may understand the phrase: “Hey, can you stop making your decision on my commitment, ability, and worthiness for this task by looking solely at my rack” ?
    In all of these posts I still don’t see where God says “Women can not be priests.”
    Why all these comments about how most women “can’t”? The question must be “Can THIS woman?” Sorry, “Can THIS person?” It’s not about what makes anybody anything. If men think women can’t OR mustn’t, then men haven’t done a good enough job being in charge to continue being in charge. And my brother you and I know who’s charge, or women wouldn’t have to ask us. I cannot believe that God is telling you that the cause of failure in the world is because men put women in positions of decision making and service based on criteria other than buldges under their blouses. How do you know that the applicants buldges are in fact breasts? But that is where you end consideration in both meanings.

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