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Ordain Whomever

Ordain Whomever

Where is my paddle when I need it. I have an idea: let’s all line up in the woods, choose sides, and bare our bottoms for a good old fashioned spanking. Maybe thinking about our welting backsides, and that it hurts just the same whether you “hold” the priesthood or not, will help us remember that we are first children of God. A God who has commanded that we love one another, even as He has loved us.

And in our mortal state we experience pain, and can inflict it on others most violently.

Someone please provide me with absolutely irrefutable proof that we have any business “trying to figure this out.” Isn’t it the Lord’s business? Isn’t He capable of deciding what to do with “irreverent” and “disobedient” children. For the record I do not see those agitating for change as either of those terms.

Listen here, it’s not your business how your neighbor gets to Christ or even if they do. I know we hear a lot about sharing the gospel and spreading the good news. But that does not mean we are better than the next lady trying to figure out her destiny. It doesn’t. Ever.

The louder the screams. The more hateful the rhetoric. The stupider the one saying it looks. Period. 

Are we really so scared the Lord cannot lead His church that we are taking over for him? It sounds like it’s time for a little game called “let’s replace fear with faith.” Here’s the only rule: stay out of the Lord’s business. And I don’t mean we can’t ask Him “why”or “if” there is change needed! Each person, every single one ever created, is His business. We don’t need to worry about how He parents His children.

If you believe the Lord has called you to agitate for change, then do it. If you believe the Lord has called you to pass judgement on your sister, then you are delusional and probably need some help. Just stay in your own playground and be quiet. In our family we have a saying, “Give yourself enough time before speaking so that you won’t have to regret what comes out.” Certainly, at some point, there will be regret for the garbage being thrown around cloaked in the guise of righteousness. Regret isn’t so fun.

How about we choose the Lord’s side and not try to tell anyone else they aren’t on it. Hopefully we are a smidge past picking teams based on popularity and being “liked.”

It sounds less like something that needs to be endlessly droned on about with vitriol and an air of passing judgement, and more like a lack of faith. That is a personal issue, to be dealt with quietly. Even silently.

Just stop it already. I am ashamed at how we are treating each other.

{ 25 comments… add one }

  • Nathan Whilk March 26, 2014, 9:28 am

    “If you believe the Lord has called you to pass judgement on your sister, then you are delusional and probably need some help.”

    It sounds like you are passing judgement on those who are passing judgement.

  • MB March 26, 2014, 9:50 am

    I read your post and Moses, chapter 7 came to mind:

    The Lord said unto Enoch: Behold these thy sisters; they are the workmanship of mine own hands, and I gave unto them their knowledge, in the day I created them; and in the Garden of Eden, gave I unto them their agency;
    And unto thy sisters have I said, and also given commandment, that they should love one another, and that they should choose me, their Father; but behold, they are without affection, and they fear and condemn;

  • MB March 26, 2014, 9:54 am

    In other words, I also sorrow over the divisive unkindness that has arisen in the hearts of some people on both sides of this issue.

  • Angie Gardner March 26, 2014, 10:21 am

    I agree Amy and MB. It feels really hostile out there right now for anyone who opens their mouth either way. I personally cannot wait until conference is over. Not that that will solve all our problems, but I definitely think the brethren will be addressing this. Whether it’s announcing changes (which I anticipate would be very small steps, but steps are steps!) or putting us back in our place like they pretty much tried to last conference, at least it might calm down for another 5 months.

  • Amy Lockhart March 26, 2014, 2:34 pm

    Nathan – perhaps there was a bit much tongue in my cheek. I certainly meant to judge the behavior of those participating in the war, but did not intend to take sides or pass judgement on any one person or group of people. Point taken.

    MB – I was hoping you’d comment! You always say what I am thinking, much better than I do, or could!

    Angie – Why do you think it is so hard to have a conversation without needing to prove a point? I am just so disheartened that we can’t even seem to listen to each other without behaving like stubborn two year olds that want a sucker. Is there really not enough room for all people in Christ’s Church?

    Anyway, the whole thing makes my stomach turn and wish we could just be respectful and at the very least civil.
    Amy Lockhart recently posted…Must ReadMy Profile

  • Angie Gardner March 26, 2014, 4:44 pm

    I wish I knew the answers, Amy. My own sister who knows me probably better than anyone other than maybe my husband and my mom asked me why I didn’t just go start my own church. It’s so disheartening. From naive to simple-minded to apostate to feminist, none of these labels are helpful or in most cases even true. They cause us to put up immediate defenses rather than really listening. It’s okay to disagree, I personally feel like as LDS women we need to learn to do it more, but in a more productive way.

  • Amy Lockhart March 26, 2014, 4:51 pm

    Angie – I am sorry. Your own sister. That is just heartbreaking. I really appreciated your last two sentences! Thanks :)

  • Alison Moore Smith March 26, 2014, 7:38 pm

    Angie, what the heck? Your sister? Good heavens.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Why I’m Not Really All That Grateful to My Birth MotherMy Profile

  • Tracy Keeney March 26, 2014, 9:24 pm

    This is what we studied just yesterday in Seminary. I really wish the Lord would just pop down here for a little visit and settle this issue, the same way he handled the “disputations” among the Nephites about baptism. I imagine that the situation was probably EXACTLY the same as it is now. One group perfectly fine with the doctrine and practice as it was, and another wanting it to change and “disputations” arising betweeen the two.
    These few verses of scripture are SOOOO perfect for this entire discussion. Christ Himself sets the doctrine, then tells them “and there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been”. I took the liberty of substituting “ordain” for baptize. Read it– it’s absolsutely perfect for this whole thing.
    1 Nephi 10:
    28 And according as I have commanded you thus shall ye “ordain”. And there shall be no disputations among you, as there have hitherto been; neither shall there be disputations among you concerning the points of my doctrine, as there have hitherto been.
    29 For verily, verily I say unto you, he that hath the spirit of contention is not of me, but is of the devil, who is the father of contention, and he stirreth up the hearts of men to contend with anger, one with another.
    30 Behold, this is not my doctrine, to stir up the hearts of men with anger, one against another; but this is my doctrine, that such things ashould be done away.
    31 Behold, verily, verily, I say unto you, I will declare unto you my doctrine.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 26, 2014, 11:32 pm

    I’m turning 50 in a few months and for about 46 years I’ve been asking someone to tell me when “man” (and it’s forms) in the scriptures means “males” and when it means “mankind.”

    If someone can clear that up for me, then we can get to the business of “ordaining” as God commands. Until then, I don’t know if we’re complying or not.

    Oh, and I sure would love it if someone would give me the priestess handbook, so I can read up all about that.

    I just spent the last hour responding to Tyler over on the old radical feminist post. If you ask me, there are some pretty startling quotes that also sound SOOOOOOO perfect for this discussion.
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Slow Cooker Cilantro Lime Chicken TacosMy Profile

  • MB March 27, 2014, 1:46 am

    When Joseph received a revelation directed to Emma (section 25), that revelation concluded with “And verily, verily, I say unto you, that this is my voice unto all. Amen.”

    When Joseph received a revelation directed to himself, Sidney Rigdon and Oliver Cowdery (section 61) that revelation included these words: “what I say unto one I say unto all”.

    And, in Mark 13, when counseling his apostles to be diligent in their service to Him , watchful and prepared for his return, Jesus said “And what I say unto you I say unto all”.

    So, I tend to believe that just about every counsel of the Lord in the scriptures has applications in my life and the lives of my family members of both genders either in the past, the present or the future, and that personally I’d better pay attention, learn it well, and, with God’s grace, do it and be it when called upon.

  • Ashley A March 27, 2014, 3:46 am

    Maybe I’m out of the loop because I don’t live in Utah (I didn’t hear about last conference’s incident until well after the fact – I live in DC) but what is happening this time?

    I personally feel torn when it comes to this issue. My background is in the liberal arts/social sciences so of course, I see the problems associated with a patriarchal organization. There is this other side of me, though, that feels that there is something wrong with what is going on…

    The best conclusion I can draw as to why I am experiencing these opposing feelings within myself is that it is the approach that both groups are taking and the fighting amongst our own that is making me uneasy.

    What is wrong with peacefully asking questions and having civil discussions? Why aren’t we doing this instead? I feel sometimes like adults are really 13 year old junior high school girls wearing grown-up suits.

    Why have we become so quick to anger? Are there only a few of us who are looking around ourselves and seeing that things are quickly changing? This is not the same world it was 10 years ago… I feel like we need to be strengthening ourselves and pulling together, not dividing because we have different opinions. I do not know exactly how the second coming is going to look but I’m going to guess that as it gets closer, we’re going to need one another more. It’s high time we started behaving like adults and respecting one another, regardless of opinion.

  • Angie Gardner March 27, 2014, 9:16 am

    Ashley, most of what I’ve heard is online (mostly Facebook). Ordain Women has asked again for tickets to the priesthood session and were again told no – but this time the church released a press release that many didn’t take very well. The OW movement has been asked to meet in the area where the church allows protestors and not attempt to go to the doors and ask like they did last time.

    Agree with OW or not (and I don’t most of the time) I think it’s pretty safe to say that their concerns are being dismissed. But that’s not the most painful part. The painful part is that there are hateful comments, mostly directed at OW but also anyone who considers themselves to be feminist. It’s ugly.

    (I’m outside of Utah as well.)

  • MB March 27, 2014, 9:27 am

    I think that one of the best ways to find out what an organization believes and plans to do and why is to visit the web site of that organization. (Certainly that is what I hope that people who want to find out what the church believes will do.)

    So, I’ve found it helpful to visit the Ordain Women web site. It’s at ordainwomen (dot) org if you’d like to peruse it.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 27, 2014, 10:40 am

    Here is a link for those interested: Ordain Women
    Alison Moore Smith recently posted…Top 10 Things More Fun Than Watching SOTUMy Profile

  • Ashley A March 27, 2014, 2:55 pm

    Thanks, Angie. It does sound like they are being dismissed and it is too bad that the feminism is being attacked. It’s just sad how this is turning into a steaming debate rather than a mature, healthy discussion. It’s too bad because there is so much opportunity for growth here.

    I have visited the OW website in the past. The points are well made and they do make sense. On the other hand, I’ve heard points made on the other side of the debate that also make sense (less sense, but still make sense).

    I think that if the issue was directly addressed in a loving way, maybe things wouldn’t be so heated. My hope is that this has all been inspired of The Lord, and it isn’t set up this way due to someone’s desire to practice “unrighteous dominion.”

    Either way, I do believe that for the most part, we should be listening to our leaders… Though listening does not mean that we shouldn’t ask questions or that we are not, at least to some extent, entitled to answers!

  • Amy Lockhart March 27, 2014, 8:31 pm

    Thank you Ashley A. I appreciate your comments. Any ideas on why it seems so impossible to have a mature, healthy discussion?

    At the end of the day I am just so stumped. It is reasonable to assume that Christ would listen without spewing forth venom, so why do any who claim to be His disciples think it’s okay? And it’s not like these conversations are happening in little groups around the quilt. People obviously feel they are so right that they can post this awful stuff without even batting an eye that it will reach many and most certainly the one’s being spoken of.

    To me it seems like the most cowardly and truly spiteful way to say something. I see nothing productive in this at all, other than to hurt others and that can’t possibly be condoned by Christ.

    It is so clear to me that this type of behavior is simply not okay. How is it that those doing it can think it is acceptable at all. Let alone in the Lord’s eyes?

    Angie – any thoughts on a “more productive way” and specifically how we can raise our daughters to not get stuck in the same trap you see a lot of us in today?

  • Ashley A March 29, 2014, 7:57 am

    Amy,

    You asked why I think that we cannot have a mature, healthy discussion.

    My knee-jerk reaction is that, unfortunately, maybe someone on the church-side feels threatened and does not want to address the issue and perhaps the way that this is being dismissed is fueling the fire on the OW side (or not? I have no idea how they are reacting, but usually a debate has two sides! Lol). I have not read the church’s statement on the issue (the one that has been taken offensively) so I can only speculate…

    We are taught to be teachable, meek, humble and submissive like little children. I believe these are pure, exemplary, disciple-like traits. This does not mean that members should actually be TREATED like children by their leaders (who also are commanded to be meek). I think human error gets in the way. We’ve seen these men speak at Conference for years. We’ve met some of them in person. They seem so loving and kind – especially the First Presidency. I just cannot imagine them being deliberately hurtful…

    I am not sure how this all began in the first place. Honestly, the first I heard of it was a second-hand account that women were “angrily” wearing pants to church and trying to “crash” priesthood session (word choice by the source was obviously designed to be negative toward OW). I am sure this is not the way things began. Was a question first asked by OW and then ignored by the church? Do these women (and men) feel that the only way they can be heard is through demonstration?

    In my opinion, the church should address the question. I don’t see the harm in answering OW. Do you? Ten again, I am not in a place to run or receive revelation for the church so my opinion is just an opinion.

  • Alison Moore Smith March 29, 2014, 8:52 am

    Ashley A., you hit the nail on the head.

    Then again, I am not in a place to run or receive revelation for the church so my opinion is just an opinion.

    Women’s thoughts are ALWAYS non-authoritative opinions in the church, even women at the highest level.
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  • MB March 29, 2014, 9:01 am

    Amy, in response to your question, I believe that the first step in teaching our daughters how to engage in civil dialogue is teaching the art of taking the time to seek to understand as the first part of the process rather than seeking to disprove or defend as the first action to be taken.

    In light of that:
    Ordain Women’s mission statement can be found at ordainwomen.org/mission/

    The history of Ordain Women’s actions (from most recent to earliest) can be found on their web site: ordainwomen.org/actions/ and on the page linked by “older entries” at the bottom of it.

    At the bottom of this page
    ordainwomen.org/actions/page/2/
    you will find a FAQ section that outlines what they are doing and why and what they hope will be the results.

    The church’s first response to a request for Priesthood Session tickets last fall can be found at ordainwomen.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/Response-Letter-from-Ruth-Todd.pdf

    The church’s recent response to the second request that was published on March 17 can be found on its newsroom site: http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/article/church-asks-activist-group-to-reconsider-general-conference-protest-plansAnd Ashley, I think the answer “yea or nay” is not quickly forthcoming because the answer and its incumbant logistics and ramifications are complicated and nuanced enough and have such a myriad of global considerations that must be addressed that there needs to be whole lot of thoughtful, sincere “studying it out” done as part of the revelatory process before the answer is clear. And that “studying it out” takes time. I think it’s unrealistic to believe that the question and its wisest answer are simple. I would be leery of a quick answer, whether it was yes or no.

  • M March 29, 2014, 9:03 am

    Whoops. Run-on paragraphs in my last comment.

  • Angie Gardner March 29, 2014, 9:56 am

    There is a short documentary about OW and their attempts to attend the priesthood session last conference at vimeo dot com forward slash 77027706

    While I don’t fully align with OW, I thought this video was really powerful. Watching them individually ask politely to be let in, and then be politely turned away was touching to me. I didn’t see it as unfaithful, protesting, demonstrating, etc. at all.

  • Amy Lockhart March 29, 2014, 11:01 am

    MB – Amen. Thank you!

    The genesis of my thoughts on all of this: When we react with emotion understanding is lost.

    Whether we are simply uncomfortable with change of any sort, or perceive immanent and unwelcome change/disruption as a result of another’s choice or action, we can’t understand each other.

    The static brought on by emotional response is overwhelming to rational thought and dialogue. If we can’t, or won’t, at least attempt to understand first, then we are constantly flubbing about misunderstanding. Of course understanding can be found anew, but first a willingness to seek it must be present.

    Ashley – Thank you for responding. I loved this, “This does not mean that members should actually be TREATED like children by their leaders (who also are commanded to be meek). I think human error gets in the way.”

    I saw the pants initiative simply as a way of some empowering themselves, and others, to see that within the church there are cultural expectations/norms that are, in fact, not a part of the gospel. Their action to agitate for clarification and change in that regard sparked a great deal of movement which has caused great discomfort to many. To the point where some act in such a way that suggests (more like screams) they are more righteous than others with a different view or experience. Even worse, that they have a rightful place in the church and those asking questions do not. In my view, discomfort is not a sound reason to attempt verbal annihilation of others for the sake of preserving the status quo.

    In contrast, that same movement brought peace and a sense of belonging, never felt prior, to others. So in my journey with this whole thing what is of greatest import and consequence is how we treat each other, as sisters in the GOSPEL.

    Personally, I haven’t delved too deeply into how the hierarchy of the church is handling the matter because I am not sure that my testimony of the CHURCH is strong enough to whether that storm at this point. My testimony of CHRIST and His GOSPEL are rock solid, but for me there are inconsistencies within the church organization that cause me to take caution with certain topics and areas of debate. I admire and enjoy hearing from those that are in a different place than I am in that regard, and hope to be there one day.

    To be clear, I love the CHURCH and what it provides for my family and I!

    I see the OW movement as part of that initial demonstration and, no matter their tactics, I don’t believe that anything they do will usurp Christ’s power over His church. And no, I most definitely do not see any harm in answering OW. There could only be harm in the how.

    I just wish, as members of the church, we could leave meanness out of things. Some of the greatest things this world has ever seen have come as a direct result of willingness to ask questions and a refusal to accept the status quo. I don’t particularly like the idea of women holding the priesthood, but I like lots of people that do. I don’t feel a desire to pursue their course, but know plenty that do and don’t consider myself any more worthy to participate in church worship or gospel practice than them. The Lord will answer. I pray that I am willing to accept His answer.

    Alison – Will you clarify non-authoritative for me please. Also, how do you reconcile inconsistencies with faithful dedicated participation? Feel free to make it into a post :)

    Tracy – Thanks for the scriptures. I have been pondering those the last few days and things become more and more clear for me within that context!

  • Brittany April 3, 2014, 4:56 pm

    I loved this post and you’re so right! What alarms me about the whole discussion is that I joined the church at 22 and almost didn’t do so because I and most people I knew believed it to be anti-feminist. It is not! But what women of the church need to be aware of is how these conversations are impacting those around them who might be interested in the church. Are our own agendas worth sacrificing someone else’s potential conversion? Because that could so easily have been me, and I’m so thankful that it wasn’t. Keep up the good work :)

  • Amy Lockhart April 4, 2014, 12:11 pm

    Thank you Brittany for adding your perspective. I hadn’t even thought of that side of things. There are so many reasons to be responsible and civil in our dealings with each other, over every matter.

    Thanks again!

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