Less than two weeks after the attacks of September 11, Sister Chieko Okasaki spoke at the Manhattan Stake Priesthood Leadership meeting. She delivered what I thought was a thoughtful, courageous, and provocative sermon. The reaction afterward was striking: some men lined up at the podium to thank her; others lined up to object to stake leaders.
Today I just happened to come across my notes from that meeting, and I thought it would be worthwhile to post them here, for posterity if nothing else. So here they are, without editorializing (and with apologies for their limitations):
The attacks of 9/11 reminded her of Pearl Harbor. She recalled that after Pearl Harbor, her ancestry rendered her a suspect.
Women want their voices heard by the priesthood leadership. Priesthood leaders need to involve women in actual planning, not just asking the women to ratify what is already planned. She said, “The structure does not include us.” There needs to be more “what ifs” — more brainstorming time. Priesthood leaders should ask women for feedback on the efficiency of leadership meetings.
To her, the word “auxiliary” means “subordinate.”
The Proclamation is wonderful, but it causes concerns. The Church should support all family configurations — we want people to know that their best *is* good enough.
Marriage should be managed like a partnership, not a corporation. It should be less centralized, more participatory; not accountable to outside interests, only to each other. She challenged the term “preside.”
9 women officers represent 120 women in a ward. Leaders should not be in touch with only the 9 officers. Church intersexual friendships have been frowned upon. That is sad. Not to condone sexual games, but we need to talk and listen to each other, and not only in formal settings. We should prevent problems, not just solve them.
The women in the ward shouldn’t be thought of as “the wife of . . .” or “the mother of . . .” For example, have everyone at a ward party be considered as separate individuals, not as couples.
Remember, the Pharisees exploit the poor and powerless. They love rules. They are self-indulgent, attention-seeking, and offer ostentatious prayers.
Priesthood leaders: don’t give platitudes; believe survivors of abuse; assist with therapy. Remember, the ends don’t justify the means.