What Think Ye?

February 14, 2005 | 197 comments
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Kaimi scooped me by about 6 seconds on the sidebar link to this.

Now that you’ve read it, I’d like to hear from the men. What did you think?

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197 Responses to What Think Ye?

  1. Ryan Bell on February 14, 2005 at 6:49 pm

    Julie,

    Respectfully, I think it’s trash.

  2. A. Greenwood on February 14, 2005 at 6:58 pm

    It does two things: it takes the worst possible view of the role of women in the church. And it assumes that all the ostensible reasons for the way the Church is are fraudulent; men would sing a different tune if only the roles were reversed.

  3. HL Rogers on February 14, 2005 at 7:02 pm

    I think one of the things that has made the bloggernacle such a success is the manner in which it creates an effective outlet for expressing a wide-range of of very difficult topics in respectful and faithful ways. We have been instructed by leaders in the Church on several occassions to cease certain discussion forums because they lead to groups of members engaging in discussions that generally seem to lead people out of the Church. Most recently was the 1st presidency letter about a decade ago counseling members not to join discussion groups that meet in people’s homes or the church meeting houses. The great aspect of the bloggernacle is that it allows for simialr discussions in such a wide open forum and that transparency and wide ranging critique I think makes it a better medium for faith-promoting discussions. Now I realize that was a very long winded opening for a rather short and simplistic critique. However, I think the post cited to is neither uplifting nor helpful for meaningful discussions. If shock value was what was sought than I suppose it was a success. Howvere, I think there are far more beneficial ways to discuss the difficult topic of women’s roles in the Church. I would have to second Ryan’s assessment.

  4. john fowles on February 14, 2005 at 7:04 pm

    It ignores the possibility that men hold the priesthood because God wants it that way and not because God nor anybody else wants to oppress women. It is also irreverent towards our Savior and his Church, his way of doing things, and our eternal natures (if you subscribe to the doctrine in the Proclamation to the World).

    What does Gaia think: that after reading it all LDS men (particularly those with stewardships at a level that could actually make a difference in policy . . . if the Church really were simply led by men and not by God) are going to throw up their hands and say, “you’re right, this whole thing is wrong–here, have the priesthood.”

  5. A. Greenwood on February 14, 2005 at 7:08 pm

    “Most recently was the 1st presidency letter about a decade ago counseling members not to join discussion groups that meet in people’s homes or the church meeting houses. The great aspect of the bloggernacle is that it allows for simialr discussions in such a wide open forum and that transparency and wide ranging critique I think makes it a better medium for faith-promoting discussions.”

    A very interesting point. I don’t know if the openness of the bloggernacle makes for more faith-promoting discussions, but it makes for less apostasy-promoting discussions. The problem with those little discussion groups is that they often egged each other out of the church, either to the left (Power to the people, not the Patriarchy! Joseph Smith lied, people died!) or to the right (Extremism in the defense of polygamy is no vice! Real Prophets have Beards!). On the internet the groups aren’t closed and they aren’t in person, so you don’t get those kinds of dynamics.

  6. Ryan Bell on February 14, 2005 at 7:10 pm

    Well, now that that’s settled. . . :)

    HL, just wanted to say I’m glad you’ve started including your last name. I”ve been wondering whether you were the HL I know of. Glad it is. Tell Rob to come hang out here some time.

    And go Darts.

  7. HL Rogers on February 14, 2005 at 7:15 pm

    For a while I thought the one-name monicer would be sufficient. You know Bono, Prince, Madonna. But then I sadly realized that without the last name people really wouldn’t know who I was and sadly even with the last name only five poeple would know who I am. Oh the sorrow of a large and anonymous society. Oh and don’t forget Sting!

  8. Kaimi on February 14, 2005 at 7:22 pm

    Both Adam and John seem to be assuming that the piece is setting out normative conclusions. I don’t think that any normative conclusions are laid out in it. It is intended to be descriptive. The author’s stated intent is “I wrote this some time ago, to give LDS men a chance to try to understand the world that many LDS inhabit.”

    The author hasn’t (at least so far) advocated for any changes. She seems to be simply trying to point out that LDS men may be glossing over aspects of the gender roles in the church that LDS women find relevant.

  9. Greg on February 14, 2005 at 7:24 pm

    Ryan or HL,

    Could you elaborate a bit on why you think it is trash? It is probably intemperate in spots, and does make an uncomfortable implication or two about the current arrangement, but I think the general point is worth thinking about: How would your relationship with the Church change, if at all, assuming you were a woman rather than a man? Put another way, assuming that we had a premortal choice of gender, would knowing what the earthly institution of the Church would look like affect your choosing? I would guess that you have a well-thought out answer to this, but I don’t find it an altogether repulsive question.

  10. A. Greenwood on February 14, 2005 at 7:26 pm

    Kaimi,
    you don’t frame things that way, if you’re just asking questions.

  11. john fowles on February 14, 2005 at 7:37 pm

    Kaimi, even if the piece has its intended effect–to make men realize how hard it is for women in the Church–what is the result? Is the goal merely heightened empathy or something grander, say, a movement for women to hold the priesthood based on men’s newfound insight into “aspects of the gender roles in the church that LDS women find relevant”?

  12. Kaimi on February 14, 2005 at 7:41 pm

    John,

    I couldn’t tell you what the intended goal is, you’ll have to ask the author. To my perception, it’s a piece which could be used for either of the goals you mention — heightened empathy within the existing system, or advocacy for change — and it could probably be used to support other normative suggestions as well.

  13. john fowles on February 14, 2005 at 7:43 pm

    Kaimi, and what is your view of the reverence or irreverence of the piece?

  14. john fowles on February 14, 2005 at 7:43 pm

    or does that matter?

  15. Jonathan Max Wilson on February 14, 2005 at 7:48 pm

    Kaimi,

    I don’t see how putting revealed in quotations (‘ It’s “revealed” to the Prophetess of the Church that it’s just not “an important part of the program” right now. ‘) can be merely descriptive. The implied meaning is obvious.

    When is any member of the church, male or female, “discouraged from using the Gifts of the Spirit”?

    And the part about the veil is blasphemous beyond belief, matched only by the mockery of the holy name of the Savoir, Creator and Judge of us all.

    I think that an exercise in role reversal can be done in an edifying and zion centered way. It can be done with the support of the Spirit and it can help us understand the point of view of teh other. This is far from anthing of that kind.

  16. Steve Evans on February 14, 2005 at 7:49 pm

    I have a couple of thoughts:

    1. The post was an interesting experiment, albeit extreme; and
    2. In all fairness, this discussion should be held at Feminist Mormon Housewives.

  17. Larry on February 14, 2005 at 7:49 pm

    The article referred to is as described.
    Our Father in Heaven does not create second class members, and I think better efforts could be spent by these intelligent women in studying and evaluating the equality of the roles rather than whining about the differences.
    With equality described clearly in the eternities, it behooves us to understand the equality here in mortality.

  18. David Rodger on February 14, 2005 at 7:50 pm

    Having held a number of “powerful” positions in the business world and in the Church I believe that power is greatly overrated, particularly by those who do not have it. Most people in “powerful” positions, are far less powerful than we think, and are limited in what they can do by the ethos of the organization. As a counselor in several bishoprics I was always impressed by the fact that we had a framework within which we had to act, and to go outside that framework was simply not possible, given what we believed.

    Unfortunately, too many of us seem to be constantly at war with whoever has the “power”. And that constant state of war leads to frustration, anger, disappointment, and eventually, unhappiness. To be constantly seeting about who has the power does not seem to me a recipe for happiness.

    I remember very clearly coming home to my family and telling my children of big promotion I had received…and the stunning, almost epiphanic, realization that it was meaningless to them. They only cared whether I was a good husband or father.

    So much unhappiness is caused by overarching ambition, lust for power, envy and covetousness. Oh, yes we can covet things other than things. When reading the article all I could think is how much frustration and angst is experienced in seeking after something which is of this world; not of the world in which we hope to be.

  19. David Rodger on February 14, 2005 at 7:53 pm

    I meant “seething”, not seeting.

  20. Steve Evans on February 14, 2005 at 7:55 pm

    I’d also point out that, as always, it’s the men that express their outrage at such feminism.

  21. Clark on February 14, 2005 at 7:56 pm

    Personally were the roles reverse I honestly don’t think it’d make that big a difference in my life. Really. All the arguing over this is typically (IMO) over status. And the only way status matters is if you are a status seeker. If you’re more concerned about living a happy life and having a close relationship with God then worrying about status is going to screw you up regardless of who has what role.

    All these sorts of questions do (ignoring how it makes people view the status at hand) is illustrate who has a hang up about power. Men who get upset at the thought clearly are more worried about status than they ought. Women who are upset enough to bring these sorts of things up are the same.

    Personally I’m of the opinion that anyone who seeks after power deserves it. Me, I’d just as soon never have a leadership calling and enjoy spending my evenings with my family.

    The whole quest (or worry) about power for some reason reminds me of high school and the quest for self-worth through how others viewed you. Thus the desire to date the Football jock or whatever. It’s rather sad when that high school mentality is applied to the gospel. Of course many do. I still remember laughing at the recently returned missionaries and what we called their GA aspirations in Sunday School to attract women. High School all over again.

    At some time we have to grow up though.

  22. HL Rogers on February 14, 2005 at 8:05 pm

    I think the in your face attitude of the role-reversal post has prompted some responses that are reactionary. This of course is one of the problems I find with the original post. That being said, I think it is overly simplistic to imply that the only women who have a problem with not having the priesthood are those who are seeking status. There is a lot more involved in the cultural aspects of the priesthood than mere status. I think this is a very complex issue that requires thoughful responses from all involved. The original post does nothing to further the dialogue becuase the reactionary nature precludes many from engaging meaningfully in the topic.

  23. Jack on February 14, 2005 at 8:29 pm

    You can have it! I don’t want the burden of leadership inherent in the priesthood.

    She really needs to complete the role reversal in order for her argument to be addressing anything slightly more sentient than a straw[wo]man. There really needs to be a complete reversal of spiritual/emotional/psychological/physical characteristics for men and women alike to be able to comprehend their differences. But such a reversal makes argument quite moot doesn’t it?

  24. Ivan Wolfe on February 14, 2005 at 8:36 pm

    I guess it depends on what argument it is. I’m having a hard time pinning down the genre. As a reductio ad absurdum (did I get that Latin right?) argument it isn’t that interesting. As a bitter diatribe or caustic jeremiad, it works okay, but the tone is slightly off. It works best as a rough, in-your-face satire, but even there it needs some stylistic revision.

    I’m more with Clark – I want to avoid status at all costs. The “highest” calling I’ve ever had is Gospel Doctrine teacher (team taught with my wife) and I want it to stay that way. My father-in-law was always in some higher leadership calling (bishopric or stake level) and complained he never got to see his family on weekends. I’d rather be home with my family than hashing out the fine print in church beauracracy.

  25. danithew on February 14, 2005 at 8:53 pm

    I was immediately reminded of Elouise Bell’s essay “The Meeting” which if I recall correctly was a satirical look at what a LDS church meeting would be like if gender-roles were completely reversed.

  26. Heather on February 14, 2005 at 9:00 pm

    danithew, you beat me to the punch! Here is a link to the essay.

  27. danithew on February 14, 2005 at 9:01 pm

    Thank goodness Heather that you knew a link. I couldn’t find one, despite my google-adeptness.

  28. XON on February 14, 2005 at 9:03 pm

    First observation: I’m almost completely taken aback by the naked vitriol inherent in the ‘primary’ responders. My experience leads me to be very wary of such display, and, unfortunately, those who indulge in it.

    Second observation: I think its brilliance is proportional to the unease it inspires. The actual content of the vignettes is near completely unimportant. The piece is a . . . well, . .. near-brilliant means of exposing the unrighteous dominion with which sisters have had to cope since the Restoration, at least. I have, over the course of my life, heard each of those ‘principles’, and most were presented in precisely the way she describes.

    The challenge that several seem unwilling to take up is: Can we men confront the elements of unrighteousness illuminated by her approach without railing at the unconventional device used to do so? (Put in a more sophomoric way, can we, as men, accept being caught behaving badly by, for instance, our 6-year-old sister without almost immediately beginning to scream at her that we told her to never, NEVER, NEVER come into our room!?)

  29. Julie in Austin on February 14, 2005 at 9:09 pm

    Steve–

    I was a little conflicted about opening discussion here, because I didn’t want to take anything away from FMH, but I did it only because I knew we would have readers and commenters here who never would go to/comment on FMH, and those were precisely the people who have commented above, and that’s what I wanted.

  30. Steve Evans on February 14, 2005 at 9:12 pm

    Julie,

    That’s what I figured. That’s unfortunate, and speaks ill of us as bloggernacle citizens IMHO. To those that would comment on this thread, I’d say that if they really had any guts they’d go and say these things to Gaia at FMH, not kick ideas around in some other corner of the bloggernacle.

  31. danithew on February 14, 2005 at 9:13 pm

    I don’t think “unrighteous dominion” is the hugest problem in the Church. From my experience most men love their wives and the leadership wants to do what is right. But perhaps in the Church we are too comfortable and assuming in the patriarchal order that is set up. That is what Gaia’s post and essays like “The Meeting” point out so effectively. I don’t think we need to be offended by these things. There are a lot of valid points being made.

  32. danithew on February 14, 2005 at 9:16 pm

    Let me add that the assumptions that are made in the patriarchal order of things could be quite grating to many women in the Church (when it is encountered week after week, month after month in Church meetings and activities). So its not merely a matter of not being offended, but being more sensitive and sensible to what is going on and making the adjustments that should be made.

  33. Bryce I on February 14, 2005 at 9:19 pm

    I agree with Steve in #16 re: the proper location of this discussion. T&S has a habit of occasionally poaching comments from interesting posts at other blogs (although this effect is overwhelmed by the good work that it does in driving traffic to other blogs overall).

  34. Bryce I on February 14, 2005 at 9:24 pm

    Oops, a little late with my comment. Can I take a moment to plead with the rest of the bloggernacle bloggers to make use of trackbacks and pingbacks? There’s nothing wrong with responding to a post at another blog at your own — perhaps you have an extended point to make, or perhaps your comment isn’t directly related to the topic at hand, or perhaps you don’t want to confront the topic directly at the other blog. Whatever the reason, conversation between blogs is facilitated greatly through the use of trackbacks and pingbacks.

    Note that readers of FMH have no means of finding this discussion.

  35. Jack on February 14, 2005 at 9:38 pm

    I’m talking to XON–is that OK?

    XON, there’s a difference between brazenness and brilliance.

  36. Larry on February 14, 2005 at 9:39 pm

    The silliness of the article is almost beyond measure. Men feel smug berating other men (typical priesthood behaviour) and women feel hard done by.
    Get over it.
    This is mortality. There is more equality in the Church, even if it is in the way that those not in authority feel, than there is inequality.
    A far better discussion would be on the positive nature that membership provides for men and women. There is equality but if you never stop to think about it, you will never appreciate it. How much further along we would be going positive than in seeing who can come up with the best derisive comment about men and then retiring to the smugness of their own conceit.

  37. wendy on February 14, 2005 at 9:51 pm

    Gaia’s post is good. I used to wonder the same thing — “would the men I go to church with now join this church as converts if the gender roles were reversed? Would my Dad?” Another related but yet totally different question I’ve thought about — “Would my Mom, or the other Mormon women I know, join a totally matriarchal church?” It has been interesting to see people on the Internet asking the same questions.

    A list similar to Gaia’s, on an ex-mormon site, includes two of my favorites, which weren’t on Gaia’s list:

    “What if…at age 12 the girls got the priesthood with subsequent advancement during the teen years, but the boys got nothing but a ‘Manhood Medallion’ ?”

    “What if…the Book of Mormon had only four pathetic references to men but the whole rest of the book was about women?”

  38. XON on February 14, 2005 at 9:53 pm

    Jack,

    That was my point.

  39. Mark B. on February 14, 2005 at 9:54 pm

    I was surprised to see the reactions to this piece. I usually find myself over on the mindless conservative end of the Church (and no, I’m not suggesting that all conservatives in such matters are mindless), but I don’t see any need to get up in arms about this piece–or to call it trash–or to suspect the author is just a power hungry wannabe stake president. (Believe me, it ain’t that great, sister!)

    Imagine if all the great role models in the scriptures were of the opposite sex. Yeah, you can pull out Ruth and Esther and Jael, or Sariah (what for? crabbing about her boys not returning from Jerusalem?), or those nameless mothers of the sons of Helaman–but the fact is, you have to search for them. There must have been countless righteous women, whose examples and love for the Lord made all the difference, but they did it silently, without recognition (not that they would have sought it–but for women today, perhaps it would be nice to have those examples held up clearly and praised, and attached to real women, complete with names).

    Or, imagine if the Deity himself (herself?) were the opposite sex–a Mother in Heaven, rather than a Father. Would that change the way that we men look at the whole scheme of things?

    We ought to be more careful in the way we speak. We should be more careful to be inclusive. We ought to be humble about the keys and the rights of the priesthood, remembering that they are inseparably connected with the power of heaven, and cannot be controlled, nor handled, only upon the principles of righteousness. We should remember that if Paul, who heard the voice of Christ on the road to Damascus, still could describe his seeing as through a glass darkly, then how much darker the glass for us? And we should remember that, despite our protestations to testimony, our actions show that we should, with the pleading father in Mark, pray God to “help … our unbelief.”

  40. Heather on February 14, 2005 at 9:56 pm

    Bryce, great idea about trackbacking (tracking back? – whatever the proper form is there – I suppose I could just write “using trackbacks”) but unfortunately Blog*Spot (where FMH is hosted) does not support trackbacks.

  41. mardell on February 14, 2005 at 10:05 pm

    This is shameful, don’t you have a big enough blog as it is? You need to stop stealing from other blogs. You should move the discussion over to wherever it belongs. Which is not here. Stop poaching!

    FMH wrote a page and a half, Julie wrote two sentences, and who’s getting the discussion?

  42. danithew on February 14, 2005 at 10:28 pm

    Poaching is an old, old story in the ‘Nacle. T&S gets a lot more traffic and its natural that anything discussed here (even two lines) will be discussed more.

    I have a confession to make. Even though I had a blog, messed around with coding, etc., I still had trouble figuring out how to get trackbacks to work. Pingbacks just naturally happen if the blogs are set up with the right coding, but trackbacks take a little bit of doing. Perhaps a short simple tutorial on how it works could be given. I’m sure its very easy but more than once I tried to do it and it didn’t work out.

  43. Jack on February 14, 2005 at 10:35 pm

    Mardell,

    It would seem that the intent of the original post is about discouraging any kind of self-seeking whatsoever. So, who cares who’s getting the discussion as long as the discussion is getting got?

  44. Kevin Barney on February 14, 2005 at 10:48 pm

    I think these sorts of things can be useful thought experiments. They also work for imagining that same sex relationships were the norm, and hetero desire the variant.

  45. Nate Oman on February 14, 2005 at 10:54 pm

    1. I wrote a long comment at FMHW (it probably isn’t worth reading, but I wrote it).

    2. I am responding XON.

    XON: The post is clever but brilliant? The ability to get folks stirred up has very little to do with the brilliance of the blog post, as you have no doubt noticed from some of the more popular posts on this site….

  46. Julie in Austin on February 14, 2005 at 10:57 pm

    Mardell–

    I’m not getting paid by the comment, and neither if FMH. I wish the discussion were there, but do you really think that the majority of people commenting on this thread read anything at FMH? I wanted them to read the original post (which was, in my opinion, way over the top, but still had a grain or two of truth that needs considering).

  47. Heather Oman on February 14, 2005 at 11:04 pm

    I tried to post over at FMH, but it didn’t work. Try again later?

    What I wanted to say is, how many women does this piece speak for? I don’t say that in an attitude of “this is just a piece of feminist trash!”, rather I say it in a sincere request for information. Is this how the majority of woman feel as they go through the motions of being a Mormon? I have to say, although I appreciate the points the post is trying to make, I’m not sure it really resonates with me. I am not the kind of woman who says, “I don’t want that kind of responsibility!” Really, what a stupid reason not to have the priesthood. Nor am I the type of woman who feels righteous by saying, “I support my husband’s priesthood!” Just ask him how I reacted to his new calling as ward clerk (yet another reason for him not to spend time with his wife and son). But for whatever reason, I can get worked up over other things in the church besides priesthood equality. Am I in the minority?

  48. Steve Evans on February 14, 2005 at 11:09 pm

    Julie: “do you really think that the majority of people commenting on this thread read anything at FMH?”

    Of course they don’t, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t. The majority of T&S’ readers don’t visit lots of places in the Bloggernacle, I’d wager, but that’s not to their credit. There is a wonderful world out there to discover, and good bloggernacle citizens should encourage that discovery. To a certain extent, you’ve done that by linking to the FMH post, but ultimately I’d argue that the exercise fails if people don’t take the discussion back to its source. It’s not about fame or money, Julie, as you indicate; but there is someting to addressing the post in its contextual site and addressing the author directly. So, linked discussions like this are a mixed blessing.

  49. Sheri Lynn on February 14, 2005 at 11:11 pm

    I hope nobody in authority over me ever advises me not to pray with or for anybody.

    I’ve been hushed up for saying that it’s obvious to me that men have a probationary state in mortality–they are burdened with extra conditions and duties that must be fulfilled before they may be exulted. The way in which they may exercise their authority is so constrained that they have much less freedom than women have. Is being on probation something to envy? Is having a straiter gate, a narrower way, something to covet? I don’t think so. We’re not some kind of pseudo-Muslims waiting for God to hand our husbands seventy virgin houris as his reward for keeping us and his children in line during mortality. The idea that we’re supernumeraries is offensive, and “makes reason stare.”

    Besides. If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t NOBODY happy…or, very likely, square with the Lord.

  50. john fowles on February 15, 2005 at 12:06 am

    Julie and Steve, I have commented numerous times at FMH. But I can’t go there at work because of how the site looks. . . .

  51. Steve L on February 15, 2005 at 12:12 am

    Gaia-
    Dearest earth goddess, hear my misguided thoughts and lead me in paths of truth.
    As a mere maverick of 23 years, I think I was raised in quite a different church than you may have been. Quite often I hear from priesthood leaders than men are incompetent carnal buffoons who couldn’t tie their own shoes without the benevolent help of their emotionally, spiritually and intellectually superior wives. I went to an institute class two weeks ago about “Women in the Bible.” Of course the standard trash, imposing of post-feminist values onto the Old Testament. Wow, all those wonderful women were “partners” and equals. This is not to suggest that I am uncomfortable in a patriarchal world or world-view, because I am. Women are surely not to be dominated, talked down to or mistreated; but it seems we’re in a church now that pays lip service to women and an equal standing between women and men that doesn’t really exist. Where is our happy medium between stupidity and extremism? Anyway, let me know what you think Julie.

  52. john fowles on February 15, 2005 at 12:13 am

    I should clarify: I feel nervous about a fellow associate walking in (or a partner, for that matter) and seeing the hot pink and knowing what they are wondering. . . .

  53. Alexa Wolfe on February 15, 2005 at 12:17 am

    My husband Ivan likes to follow and comment on the discussions around here, and he asked me to take a look at this one, because he was curious if this is how I, as a Mormon woman, really feel. Personally, I can’t relate to most of what this lady was trying to say and alot of her comments frankly made no sense to me whatsoever. She also seems to be taking a very low view of men in general. I am one of those women who really am not interested in holding the priesthood. As far as I’m concerned the men can have that added responsibility and good riddance. I’m busy enough as is. If this makes me somehow oppressed or less intelligent/less enlightened as a women then so be it since I certainly don’t see myself that way. Yes I’m a Mormon housewife, stay at home Mom, etc. but I don’t find this a demeaning position to be in. And has this lady ever actually read the Priesthood session of conference as published in the Ensign? It seems to me that the men generally get chewed out about not living up to their obligations to treat their wives as equals or about how they should be doing better in their various priesthood duties rather then just getting together and being patted on the back in some big exclusive mens club. The one thing I might be inclined to agree with is the comment about how women who giggle and say that “they are holding the priesthood whenever they hug their husbands” are being silly and a bit annoying, but other then that I really can’t relate to what this lady is apparently saying most Mormon women feel.

  54. Gaia on February 15, 2005 at 12:52 am

    Well Hi there everybody —

    I’m delighted to see so much discussion over my humble effort….*g*

    Just by way of clarification and answers to specific questions throughout this “thread” –

    (I’m brand new at Blogging so i don’t know the lingo or the rules yet; please forgive any blunders) –

    1. John Fowles:
    What does Gaia think: that after reading it all LDS men (particularly those with stewardships at a level that could actually make a difference in policy . . . if the Church really were simply led by men and not by God) are going to throw up their hands and say, “you’re right, this whole thing is wrong–here, have the priesthood.”

    GAIA:
    Not at all, because (as i plan to discuss in my next message) women already *have* Priesthood.

    What i hope is that those who read it will:

    a. be encouraged to look at things in a different perspective, which will be enlightening to them.

    b. ask LDS women to honestly share how they *really* feel, or what their experiences have been,

    c. give some ongoing prayerful consideration to their relationship with priesthood, power, authority, and others.

    * * *

    2. Johnathan Max Wilson:
    When is any member of the church, male or female, “discouraged from using the Gifts of the Spirit”?

    GAIA:
    First, 1 Corinthians 12:9 establishes healing as a Gift of the Spirit.

    Second, i think it worthwhile to note that Joseph Smith actively *encouraged* women to exercise this Gift:

    WOMEN GIVING BLESSINGS: JS 28 April 1842 (Thursday Afternoon). Upper Room, Red Brick Store. 1Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes

    “President Smith arose and said that the purport of his being present on the occasion was, to make observations respecting the priesthood, and give instructions for the benefit of the Society…
    …He said the reason of these remarks being made was, that some little things was circulating in the Society, that some persons were not going right in laying hands on the sick,…
    Said if he had common sympathies, would rejoice that the sick could be heal’d….
    … Prest. Smith continued the subject by adverting to the commission given to the ancient apostles “Go ye into all the world” &C.
    ‘ No matter who believeth; these signs such as healing the sick, casting out devils &C. should follow all that believe whether male or female. …
    ….And if the sisters should have faith to heal the sick, let all hold their tongues, and let every thing roll on.”

    And everything did “roll on” for awhile….but after the death of Joseph Smith, gradually women’s relationship to and position in the church began to change, until –

    In 1946, then-Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith wrote a letter to the Relief Society Presidency, which said that the sisters should “send for the elders of the church to come and administer to the sick and afflicted.”
    (Joseph Fielding Smith Letter to Belle Spafford, Marriane C Sharpe and Gertrude R Garff, 29 July 1946, in Clark, _Messages of the First Prsidency_ 4:314; also Derr, Cannon, Beecher, _Women of Covenant_ 220-221.)

    Thus officially ended the era during which women freely exercisd the Gifts of the Spriit, including Healing — to which they’d always had access and which Joseph Smith approved.

    * * *

    3. And the part about the veil is blasphemous beyond belief,

    GAIA:

    A “sign” designates something which stands for something else; however a *symbol* is a sign which has further layers of meaning. In other words, a symbol means more than it literally says. (Signs are literal; symbols are not).

    Notice that a symbol can have more than one layer of further meaning. The more profound the symbol, the greater the complexity of the layers of meaning (although the symbol itself may be quite simple)…. the most significant symbols do convey an indefinite range of meanings.

    From Answers.com: Symbol:
    Something that represents something else by association, resemblance, or convention, especially a material object used to represent something invisible.

    Symbols are “supposed to point beyond themselves to encourage you to participate with them in the Dynamic Ground – like invitations to explore further” –

    Given these definitions and comments on the nature of symbols, Could you please explain what (and why) you find “blasphemous” about this interpretation of the symbol of the Veil?

    * * *

    4. how many women does this piece speak for?

    GAIA:
    That’s a very good question — perhaps you could perform an informal experiment / survey in your area, and see for yourself?? Do be aware, however, of what statisticians acknoweldge as error — the tendency for people to avoid answering truthfully, for any number of reasons…

    5. LARRY:
    The silliness of the article is almost beyond measure. Men feel smug berating other men (typical priesthood behaviour) and women feel hard done by.
    Get over it.
    This is mortality.

    GAIA:
    So “suck it up” and get used to it?

    What do you know of Joseph Smith’s revelations on God’s intentions to establish The Kingdom of God, and a “Zion Society;” or the Gospel as a plan to justify, sanctify, glorify and exalt human beings?

    Do any of those sound like plans to help us learn how to “suck it up” and “get used to” mortality and its fallen, corrupt conditions?

    Is *that* what Priesthood is about — learning to get comfortable with corruption?

    Thanks everyone, for your comments –

    I hope they keep coming!

    Blessings –
    ~Gaia

  55. Godot on February 15, 2005 at 12:52 am

    LOL john fowles #50, that’s what I was thinking, that’s a lot of pink.

    What amuses me about the post is the assumption that men would be upset by the concept itself. It’s titled “Men’s Nightmare”. Would it necessarily be men’s nightmare if all roles were reversed? I don’t think so. I would have no problem with it, and I suspect that most good men wouldn’t either.

    The post assumes that all men are male chauvinistic and that we revel in our malsculinity while looking condescendingly on women. It suggests that our male leaders are giving empty praise to women when, in all reality, they actually think less of them. That is simply not the case.

    As long as men didn’t have to wear pink, I wouldn’t have a problem with role reversal at all.

  56. Clark on February 15, 2005 at 1:26 am

    Hopefully the comments of “vitriol” weren’t aimed at me. As I said I don’t think I reacted strongly. Nor do I see this as a man’s nightmare. As I said I don’t think such things really impact me one way or the other. Nor do I necessarily see such roll reversal arguments as bad. Just that if people react to the reversal negatively the assumption that it illustrates a problem in the system is likely (IMO) misplaced. I’ll stick to my comment that we worry about status far too much.

    If we were to care less about how we are noticed in our service, where we are placed in doing our service, and instead just focus on helping others then I think we wouldn’t particularly care if rolls were reversed.

  57. Sarah on February 15, 2005 at 3:09 am

    I said it over there, and I’ll say it here, too: this article was written from a viewpoint I don’t share. I don’t feel marginalized in the church — and I don’t even have kids or a husband to make up for my lack of the priesthood. ^_^ I feel sad for those that do, and I’m not certain that it’s the church itself that needs to change for them to be happy.

  58. Anon on February 15, 2005 at 5:32 am

    Gaia,

    I agree with Ebeneezer Orthodoxy that women are not denied access to gifts of the spirit. You have described no more than one spiritual gift that it seems women are no longer encouraged to explore, and we do not know the reason.

    I think that we must keep in mind that the church was young and the members were few at the time that Joseph Smith encouraged the women to continue healing. I think that it is an eternal gift for women, but perhaps the reasons that it has been a changing issue are social or “for the good of the church.” Shall we look at a little bit more of history?

    Soon after the first twelve were ordained, there was a little upheaval with one of them claiming to be receiving revelations for the church through a stone. Joseph Smith determined that he was receiving false revelations and was upbraided by the rest of the twelve, because they had all been called as prophets, seers and revelators. Joseph Smith then received a revelation that said that while all of the twelve were also prophets, seers and revelators, only the president of the church, the prophet, could receive revelations for the whole church.

    The reason I told this story is that it shows that these men are indeed ordained as prophets, but are restricted from revealing prophecies to the whole church. Why? Probably to avoid confusion, though they are ordained and have the right to receive revelation. Perhaps this was also the case with women and the Priesthood/healing?

    It may also be quite likely that as the church grew, and female converts saw the faith and power of other women, that they also desired this power and tried to use it, or perhaps claimed that they were using it, and created some upheaval. This is just a postulation, but if you have a bunch of unofficially ordained women claiming to be giving true blessings, etc, then how can you control it, except to either give them all the priesthood “officially,” which has not been commanded by God, or to have them stop it altogether? Would it be worse (i.e. create more contention) to give it to only a few women than to all? Probably.

    Also, as God is the one who bestows his priesthood upon us (or not), then he must have a reason. Perhaps he knew what the world of today would be like, and that if our women were exercising, or had been exercising this gift, then this church would have been considered pagan, non-christian, etc (Labels that it has already has had to struggle with!).

    The situation could be likened to the lack of instant approval for black men being allowed to hold the priesthood. Would it have helped or harmed the growth of the church if God had been granting his approval for all men before all men were truly considered equal in our society?

    For instance, if we are going to look at Church history, we must look at all of Church history. Since we accept the Bible to be true as far as it is translated correctly, then we see that the Priesthood has always been given to those whom God chose at the time. It has not always been given to all men. There was a time when only the sons of Levi were the holders of the Priesthood, and now God has ordained that all worthy men are allowed to have it. That’s a big difference, since there were 12 tribes, and only one tribe had the priesthood.

    The question is, is God more worried about the righteous in his church who cannot act upon all of the spiritual blessings because of current cultural barricades, or does he care more about finding as many more righteous members as he can, who might otherwise be scared away when the hear about the “weird” (to conservative eyes) goings-on in the LDS Church? I think that the Lord has patience, and knows when the time has arrived to allow or restore each ordinance. After all, he can see the past, present and future all at once, and make his decisions thereby. Those who have faith and a knowledge of the truthfulness of the gospel, by receiving a testimony for themselves, will not fall away because of the “wait” for something better. Does God want the faithless or the faithful?

  59. Stephen M (ethesis) on February 15, 2005 at 8:32 am

    Having held a number of “powerful” positions in the business world and in the Church I believe that power is greatly overrated, particularly by those who do not have it.

    That is only half of the story, though.

    In our ward they do fund raising for the boy scouts from the pulpit. In all the meetings. Repeatedly. The Young Women’s program gets a good deal less support, much of it “fluff headed” which is, I think, the real issue.

    I need to blog on this point myself. In general, leadership in the Church is like being called to be a janitor. Look at the pay scale. But, that is only half of the story, and many times people don’t get to the second half (or to the post script which involves the fact that the Church is not the whole world — a place where prophets such as Brigham Young pointed out that women made as good or better politicians, doctors, lawyers, accountants and such as men).

    We need a complete story, and a willingness to see it, but I think that illustrating parts of it is a good start in helping each of us to see it all.

    As for places to post, I actually found this post from FMH — I’d skipped over the post when I saw it here, and only clicked to it when I saw it mentioned there.

  60. XON on February 15, 2005 at 8:36 am

    Nate/Jack — sorry, had to go to bed early.

    The only real thrust of my comment was an observation that I think that the piece has some real utility to (in this particular case) men. It is a good mirror. If we don’t like what we see in the mirror, our choice of responses spans the moral spectrum, but attacking the mirror for being scandalous just strikes me as silly. The first thought that jumped to mind when I saw the responses was to wonder if you might also be the kind of people who said, “Did you SEE what that neer-do-well Martin Luther did to the cathedral door?!”

  61. David King Landrith on February 15, 2005 at 8:54 am

    It’s interesting to me that mostly guys are responding here. But I really don’t see the point in discussing the FHM post or arguing about it, unless you intend to gratify the author by confirming her prejudice and convincing her that she’s hit a soft spot.

    If I posted a story about what the church would be like if it were run by cartoons, it may well be funny, it would likely be in poor taste (one of my flippant comments in this very thread has apparently been axed), but it wouldn’t spark any kind of controversy.

    There’s splinter groups for almost every conceivable reason: polygamy, blacks getting the priesthood, objections to succession. There’s probably a splinter group for people who like the old meeting schedule (The Church of Jesus Christ of All-day Saints?). Why don’t all the chicks that want the priesthood create their own splinter group to give Heavenly Mother the attention they think she rightly deserves and to give themselves the priesthood?

  62. lyle on February 15, 2005 at 9:41 am

    I don’t get it. What is the controversy? If the supposed ‘nightmare’ was reality, so what? If you have a testimony, you accept divine revelation & follow the plan rather than taking offense because it doesn’t square with all of your mortal assumptions. Right? Or should that be Left?

  63. David King Landrith on February 15, 2005 at 10:07 am

    Well said, lyle.

  64. Matt Evans on February 15, 2005 at 10:14 am

    Heather (Comment 47),

    No, I don’t think you’re in the minority. I believe few women in the church get worked up about the priesthood. When I skimmed Gaia’s post, the proposed thought-experiment of role-reversal was very easy to imagine. Were the genders reversed, I would be like my wife or my sisters, who don’t get worked up about the priesthood, and they would be like my brothers and me, who don’t get worked up about the priesthood. The experiment doesn’t accomplish much.

  65. Ben S. on February 15, 2005 at 10:39 am

    Darn commented disappeared…

    I believe the post loses nearly all of its potential effect by nature of its exaggeration. Instead of simply mirroring or switching roles, it goes far beyond. For example, where today is the male-centric phallic equivalent that should exist in light of her comment on the veil of the temple? [/rhetorical question]

    From my own experiences, I don’t think most women feel the way she does.

    In that respect, this link is an interesting exchange on LDS feminism.
    http://www.aliveonline.com/ldspapers/Feminism.htm

  66. Uranus on February 15, 2005 at 10:39 am

    Gaia, stop making mischief and make me my dinner!

  67. Adam Greenwood on February 15, 2005 at 10:40 am

    Amen, Matt Evans.

    “It is a good mirror.”

    Nope.

  68. Jim Richins on February 15, 2005 at 10:40 am

    Coming late to this thread – but actually, it appears to only be about 12 hours old. What an amazing reaction to a single piece!

    Which is one good reason for Julie to have “poached” it here – it’s an excellent way for Gaia’s ideas to be considered by a wider audience. Nevertheless, as Steve as said, it is also appropriate for comments to be posted at FHM, and when I’m done here, I will head over there for further comments (although I will take extra time to consider what I say… I may end up not having anything to contribute at all…).

    ** I realized as I typed that last paragraph how ironic the acronym is. I will have to be sure that I use the link provided so I actually end up at Feminist Mormon Housewives, and not the website for a mens magazine.

    I appreciate also that Gaia posted here. She seems like a person I would like to get to know.

    Although that does not imply that I agree with her position (or at least, as far as I understand it) (a little shameless self-promotion – if you want a better idea of what I think, I posted about a similar theme over at Millenialstar.org). I think a little role reversal is a good thing, but I think that her original piece suffers from a rhetorical standpoint – I don’t think it’s nearly as effective as it could have been. It seems to be designed more for inflammatory effect than actually expressing a the point of view of a minority of women in the Church. Perhaps she inadvertently compromised accuracy for the sake of sensationalism?

    One clear example of sacrificing accuracy is the doctrinal mistake Gaia makes about the Gifts of the Spirit. She seems to continue to make the mistake in her post here. The gift of healing, being a Gift of the Spirit, is not at all to be confused with the operation of the Priesthood to bless and heal individuals. Any person can receive a Gift of the Spirit, including women and including the gift of healing. Melchizedek Priesthood holders additionally have the authority to anoint and bless individuals to be healed, by virtue of the Priesthood power – not because of a spiritual gift.

    Her attempt at role reversal may still be valid, but it rhetorically loses efficacy because of the doctrinal mistake.

    I am not suggesting that her analogy is false because of hair-splitting quibbles like these. However, true to my word, I will take up the more fundamental issues over at FHM.

    (and, I will avert my eyes at the bikini-clad models…. oh wait… wrong URL).

  69. Ben S. on February 15, 2005 at 10:57 am

    BTW, when I woke up with sharp pains and breathing problems once last year, I had just been reading TPJS, and I had no problem waking up my wife and having her lay her hands on my head. I went to the emergency room, but it cleared up shortly after we got there.

    “Respecting females administering for the healing of the sick he further remarked, there could be no evil in it, if God gave His sanction by healing; that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on and praying for the sick, than in wetting the face with water; it is no sin for anybody to administer that has faith, or if the sick have faith to be healed by their administration.” TPJS, 224.

  70. HL Rogers on February 15, 2005 at 11:04 am

    Alas Ben S. we also believe strongly in contining revelation–probably a lynchpin I would think. Women adminstering to the sick ended in 1916, along with other penecostal-type Mormon practices taught and practiced by Joseph and others, with a letter from the 1st Presidency. I find the history of the Church very interesting and insightful but it is little more once newer revelation has directly rescinded certain doctrines, beliefs, practices.

  71. Larry on February 15, 2005 at 11:09 am

    GAIA:

    “So “suck it up” and get used to it?

    “What do you know of Joseph Smith’s revelations on God’s intentions to establish The Kingdom of God, and a “Zion Society;” or the Gospel as a plan to justify, sanctify, glorify and exalt human beings?

    Do any of those sound like plans to help us learn how to “suck it up” and “get used to” mortality and its fallen, corrupt conditions?

    Is *that* what Priesthood is about – learning to get comfortable with corruption?””

    My point was to get over it.
    D&C 10:69 says “…whosoever is of my Church, and endureth to the end…”. I think that the Lord is letting us know that each of us will have things we have to endure in the Church. I never said “suck it up”.
    If you believe that your article advances the cause of “Zion”, or any of the other references that you imply I know nothing of, then I can assure you that I know a great deal more than you.
    Creating “contention” has never been a useful tool in advancing Gospel principles.
    I believe Jack said it best when he pointed out that if women were given the Priesthood and men were not, then men would have to become women and women men and the issue would still not be resolved.
    It is curious to me, that rather than expound, and seek after, what makes women unique, that bright women like you feel the need to attack. There is history that exists, and there is a future where much more will be revealed relative to women and their role that, IMHO, is worthy of celebration.
    If eternity holds that together men and women will be Priests and Priestesses, Gods and Godesses, and without each other neither will exist in those callings, don’t you think that there is much that has not been explored relative to your role and power?

  72. Ben S. on February 15, 2005 at 11:09 am

    I draw a distinction between anointing with oil and simply laying on of hands…

    Or are you suggesting that we stifle gifts of the spirit?

  73. Ben S. on February 15, 2005 at 11:11 am

    Or rather, administering with oil and the simple laying on of hands…

  74. HL Rogers on February 15, 2005 at 11:19 am

    Ben S.: I am not advocating the stifling of anything, rather the concept that Mormonism stands more upon the belief in continuing revelation than upon the canonical or non-canonical teachings of past prophets. Obviously there is much to be discussed there. However, if this first proposition is asserted than distinction or no, laying on of hands by women fully ended as a Mormon doctrine, belief, practice when the 1st Presidency ended it in 1916 (of course, by stopped as a practice, belief, doctrine, etc I mean that in the same sense that polygamy ended in 1890).

    Also, what do you mean by “draw distinction btwn annointing and laying on of hands”. Is it that annointing involves preisthood and laying on of hands does not so that one practice is within the orthodoxy of mormonism where as the other would not be. I am very intrigued by your distinction. First, b/c I think it is one that was made during the Nauvoo period and second b/c I would like a fuller explanation of what exactly you mean.

  75. Charlene on February 15, 2005 at 11:32 am

    Wow–looks like I missed a lot of fun. I think Danithew makes an excellent point (#31) and it has been studiously ignored:
    *** But perhaps in the Church we are too comfortable and assuming in the patriarchal order that is set up.***

    There is the key–what is meant by “The Patriarchal Order”? Is that what’s got Gaia ruffled? Why would The Patriarchal Order lead to this kind of resentment and misunderstanding? What does it mean being “too comfortable and assuming”?

    (And I agree–too much pink over there. Hurts the eyes.)

  76. Ben S. on February 15, 2005 at 11:42 am

    Though it’s been a while, I’m familiar with the works on this topic HL.

    My understanding is that the administrations specifically referred to were those done with oil and anointing, and were considered as priesthood ordinances (setting aside how that was seen at the time.)

    That represents a different thing entirely than laying on of hands and healing by faith without anointing, and so I do not take the directive to cease those anointings to supersede what Joseph Smith said about laying on of hands and healing by faith.

  77. danithew on February 15, 2005 at 11:43 am

    Charlene, I can’t really be specific. My feeling is that for some women who are especially sensitive to the gender distinctions and assumptions that are always occurring in the Church, there will be a thousand little irritating slings and arrows. Heather provided a link to Eloise Bell’s essay “the Meeting” earlier and I think that essay points towards these little irritances:

    http://www.signaturebooks.com/excerpts/only.htm#meeting

    Often times (as this essay seems to point out) these sort of things might manifest themselves even in seemingly mundane announcements about activities or the types of charm or humor that come from the pulpit. As a boy I probably was thrilled to hear announcements about camping activites but my sister might have felt sad she didn’t have something similar to go to. That is only one example I can think of.

  78. Julie Kelley on February 15, 2005 at 12:01 pm

    comment #62
    ‘I don’t get it. What is the controversy? If the supposed ‘nightmare’ was reality, so what? If you have a testimony, you accept divine revelation & follow the plan rather than taking offense because it doesn’t square with all of your mortal assumptions…”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself!
    Definitely count me in with those that don’t get worked up over men/women ‘inequality’ in the church.

  79. Gaia on February 15, 2005 at 12:13 pm

    ANON:

    This is just a postulation, but if you have a bunch of unofficially ordained women claiming to be giving true blessings, etc, then how can you control it, except to either give them all the priesthood “officially,” which has not been commanded by God, or to have them stop it altogether?

    GAIA:
    Do you think if a few — or even very many — *men* were misusing the Priesthood, that the proper (and most likely) response to the problem would be yanking it from ALL men?

    ANON:
    Also, as God is the one who bestows his priesthood upon us (or not), then he must have a reason. Perhaps he knew what the world of today would be like, and that if our women were exercising, or had been exercising this gift, then this church would have been considered pagan, non-christian, etc (Labels that it has already has had to struggle with!).

    GAIA:

    I’m sorry, but i don’t understand that one either –

    1. If any mainstream Christians were going to complain about women getting and using Priesthood, surely it would have been earlier, when the culture was less ‘enlightened” and there were fewer, not *more* women being ordained to (other) Priesthoods.

    2. Women in (nearly) *all* religions today are being ordained to Priesthood or Clergy. The resistence to LDS women exercising Priesthood is more likely (and in fact has) brought *negative* press to the LDS church — not positive.

    3. But most importantly:
    Again, several folks seem to be making assumptions about where this resistence to women’s exercising PH is coming from –

    When you have the time and inclination, Please read my article on Women’s Priestesshood (uploaded last night) which gives the doctrinal and historical basis for women’s Priest(ess)hood in the Church and Kingdom; –
    and then return to this discussion.

    There has been NO revelation presented to the Church, stating that God has withdrawn or changed his promise to give women Priest(ess)hood; no such revelation altering any of the doctrine(s) of the Temple, the Fulness of Priesthood, or of D&C 132; and in fact women are *functioning* even now as Priestesses in the Temple.

    WHAT then is the basis for the belief that God is *against* the idea?

    ANON:
    Those who have faith and a knowledge of the truthfulness of the gospel, by receiving a testimony for themselves, will not fall away because of the “wait” for something better. Does God want the faithless or the faithful?

    GAIA:
    Once more, if the situation were reversed, i think you would see the limitations of that argument.

    1. You approach the entire idea as if women’s Priestesshood were some sort of “luxury” which might be nice to have, but isn’t really all that important, let alone esential to anybody’s salvation or exaltation.

    Would you feel the same way if we were talking about men’s Priesthood?
    Why is women’s Priesthood considered so less central to the Gospel, to the benefit of God’s children, than men’s?

    2. If (for whatever sci-fi reason) men’s Priesthood suddenly disappeared today, and — say, one in ten LDS men sounded a warning over its loss —
    would they be labelled “faithless” or “impatient”?
    Or would they likely be hailed as defenders of Truth, Righteousness, and God’s “program”?

    ~Gaia

  80. john fowles on February 15, 2005 at 12:25 pm

    HL, I think that Ben S. is right on with his view of this distinction. And I agree with Jon Wilson that the Church has not been in the practice of suppressing women’s access to “gifts of the Spirit,” as Gaia inaccurately takes for granted.

  81. Gaia on February 15, 2005 at 12:28 pm

    SARAH:
    If we were to care less about how we are noticed in our service, where we are placed in doing our service, and instead just focus on helping others then I think we wouldn’t particularly care if rolls were reversed.

    GAIA:
    Hi there, Sarah –

    Ysee, the problem is that it’s not just a matter of “roles” or getting attention –

    If we really beleive that the Priesthood involves POWERS and AUTHORITY, than someone who is being DENIED that Priesthood is being denied more than a bit of attention —

    They are being denied powers and authority by which they could bless the lives of people and effect real changes in the world.

    Comment by Clark — 2/15/2005 : 1:26 am

    I said it over there, and I’ll say it here, too: this article was written from a viewpoint I don’t share. I don’t feel marginalized in the church – and I don’t even have kids or a husband to make up for my lack of the priesthood. ^_^ I feel sad for those that do, and I’m not certain that it’s the church itself that needs to change for them to be happy.

    GAIA:
    Hello Clark –

    If you don’t feel marginalized or limited by this policy, then great.

    However, your statement seems to be suggesting that those who *do* feel so marginalized — and who admit to it — are themselves to blame. Have you ever heard of “blam(ing) the Victim”?

    It is not a matter of being “happy” — it is a matter of claiming what responsibilities, opportunities, and blessings God has *promised*, and that are for the “perfecting of the Saints”.

    If you don’t care about those blessings / responsibilities/ opportunities, that’s certainly your right; but please don’t suggest that there is something wrong with those who *do* care.

    Blessings –
    ~Gaia

  82. john fowles on February 15, 2005 at 12:40 pm

    Gaia, I’m confused by your attribution of Sarah’s comment to Clark. Just a little confusing how you presented your comment 81. Care to clarify?

  83. Gaia on February 15, 2005 at 12:41 pm

    DAVID:

    Why don’t all the chicks that want the priesthood create their own splinter group to give Heavenly Mother the attention they think she rightly deserves and to give themselves the priesthood?

    GAIA:
    Hi There, David.

    In fact, there *are* such “splinter” groups by and for women…and they prolly have T-Shirts printed up *g*.

    However, many feel they do not *want* to leave the church — it is their (much beloved) home, for which they have sacrificed and to which they have given much.

    They feel they are justified by the scriptures and doctrine of the Church, the Lord’s promises; that they are in the right and have no need to skulk away as if *they’ve* done something wrong — they haven’t.

    ~Gaia

    that is exactly the wrong tactic. Byu

  84. john fowles on February 15, 2005 at 1:05 pm

    BYU?

    I’ve having trouble understanding some of your slang.

  85. john fowles on February 15, 2005 at 1:08 pm

    Oops, that’s “I’ve been having. . . .”

    Is that “Byu” supposed to be boo-yah? I admit I’m probably (“prolly”) just totally out of it by now (I haven’t been to high school in over a decade) and likely everyone else is getting these asides.

  86. Kaimi on February 15, 2005 at 1:11 pm

    The server hiccuped right around the time of Gaia’s post — my guess is that the server hiccup might have truncated it. I’m not sure.

  87. HL Rogers on February 15, 2005 at 1:15 pm

    John Fowles 82: “I think that Ben S. is right on with his view of this distinction.”

    I agree that a distinction exists. It was a distinction made by Joseph Smith and Eliza R. Snow among others. However, I don’t think the distinction is now between what is proper use of laying on of hands and what is not. The distinction is merely a layout of the historical placement of certain practices. Any laying on of hands by women whether with annointing or not has been discouraged for a long time, running at least back to the beginning of the 20th century. While I think the distinction is a very interesting historical insight and discussion piece, I don’t think it is a valid rationale for the practice today. I think this issue is a rather simple one in the context of current approved practice. This comment is not intended to be normative in any way (I think that is a whole other issue and then I would really be thread jacking) but it is rather, descriptive. Whatever distinctions we want to make and however we choose to interpret Nauvoo/early Utah era doctrines and practices, laying on of hands by women is not an orthodox practice in today’s Mormon church (meaning one sanctioned by the church leadership).

  88. john fowles on February 15, 2005 at 1:18 pm

    What of the idea expressed by Ben S. that the official change in policy only went to annointing with oil and left simple laying on of hands through faith untouched?

  89. DavidH on February 15, 2005 at 1:19 pm

    HL Rogers,

    You refer to a 1916 letter discouraging blessings by sisters. I am not familiar with the letter. Do you have a link? Can you quote the pertinent part?

    Thanks

  90. HL Rogers on February 15, 2005 at 2:06 pm

    I don’t know if the letter is on the web. However, it is referenced in Mormonism in Transition by Thomas Alexander. It is also discussed in some BYU Studies and Dialogue articles but I would have to be home with my books to find the exact references.

    John Fowles: I have not seen such a fine line distinction as you suggest. It has been some time since I have looked back at the 1st Presidency pronouncmeents on this issue but I believe they use the more encompassing term of “blessings”. Perhaps this is vague intentionally though I think it rather clearly refers to any form of blessing by laying on of hands. Additionally I don’t think there would be some backdoor in for women giving blessings. I think if this were a sanctioned activitiy you would hear about it in the open and not in Terry Tempest Williams books and small living room fireside chats only.

  91. Brett McKay on February 15, 2005 at 2:09 pm

    I thought the original post was interesting and brought up some good points, though it was a bit blasphemous in some parts, (ie. refering to the veil as the hymen of Heavenly Mother and using the sacred title of our Savior to make a satirical point), but now I’m trying to figure out where this discussion is going. What’s the purpose of this? Are you all trying push for some sort of reform in the Church in treatment of women or is it just the petty scholarly arguing that seems to saturate the “blogernacle”? Unforutunately, it seems like the later.

  92. HL Rogers on February 15, 2005 at 2:19 pm

    You say that like it’s a bad thing.

  93. Clark Goble on February 15, 2005 at 3:15 pm

    “However, your statement seems to be suggesting that those who *do* feel so marginalized – and who admit to it – are themselves to blame. Have you ever heard of “blam(ing) the Victim”?”

    I don’t think that follows. For instance to pick an extreme example of the phenomena I’m talking about consider a racist. Now their racism might well be the result of the views within the community they grew up in as well as other environmental factors. Are they to blame for their racist views?

    Clearly that’s an extreme case. But I think the principle is the same. Most of us seek for status. We do so both because of instinct arising out of our heredity as well as the fact we are taught to be status conscious most of our life. Heavens, I’ll not pretend to have no status worries myself. I could list dozens of examples where it affects me. Perhaps gender isn’t a place where it does, but it isn’t as if I’m somehow immune.

    But yes, those places where I still have problems I do consider them a problem in me and not what I judge in terms of that status-consciousness.

    So I think we have to distinguish between the problem being an undue focus on status and the problem of “blame.” I don’t think I said much about blame. I do think, however, that the ability to change is within us and that we all ought grow up. (Myself included)

  94. Clark Goble on February 15, 2005 at 3:17 pm

    Regarding blessings, they actually continued on up through the 1940s – mainly in conjunction with annointings of women during child birth. I have some of the references at home. I’ll have to find them. One can quickly see, however, that having ones home teachers come over and annoint a mother’s vaginal area might be a tad inappropriate. We have to remember that often annointings were done to the area afflicted and not just on the head as now.

  95. danithew on February 15, 2005 at 3:22 pm

    Brett McKay,

    I am absolutely using the comments at T&S to push for Church reform. I’ve always known that what I write here will directly influence the Church’s future. :)

  96. The Only True and Living Nathan on February 15, 2005 at 3:51 pm

    In case you’re all wondering, Gaia has long been a poster on the Mormon boards at Beliefnet (which is where I saw this essay before — she seems to post it every so often). Gaia has described herself as a former Mormon who now mixes LDS doctrines with many branches of Paganism to compensate for the gender inequities in the LDS Church. She had to be shooed from the “Learn About Mormonism” boards several times for answering questions with her own ideas as if they were normative LDS thought.

    Women and the Priesthood is a big deal for her. A very big deal. A very VERY big deal.

  97. john fowles on February 15, 2005 at 3:55 pm

    TOTLN: your comment will be instantly decried as ad hominem (this is how Black’s Law Dictionary gives it, Wilfried), but I do think it is a relevant point. Are you sure, however, that it is the same Gaia?

  98. danithew on February 15, 2005 at 4:28 pm

    TOTLN, does your blog have a RSS feed? Because I can’t seem to find it. I’d like to add it to my list of links.

  99. Bryce I on February 15, 2005 at 4:39 pm

    John Fowles–

    A Google search reveals that TOTAL Nathan is right:

    Link to FMH essay posted at Beliefnet

    You can click on her user name there to see her profile, which partially corroborates TOTAL Nathan’s description (no link — it’s javascript).

  100. Bryce I on February 15, 2005 at 4:40 pm

    Dan –

    We’ve all been trying to get TOTAL Nathan to crawl out of the cave and bang the rocks together, but he remains feedless.

    His blog is still worth a daily read, even so.

  101. Gaia on February 15, 2005 at 5:03 pm

    1. Comment by john fowles — 2/15/2005 : 12:40 pm

    Gaia, I’m confused by your attribution of Sarah’s comment to Clark. Just a little confusing how you presented your comment 81. Care to clarify?

    GAIA:
    Sorry, just an editing mistake — I’m still trying to get accustomed to this system —

    Comment by Brett McKay — 2/15/2005 : 2:09 pm

    I thought the original post was interesting and brought up some good points, though it was a bit blasphemous in some parts, (ie. refering to the veil as the hymen of Heavenly Mother and using the sacred title of our Savior to make a satirical point),

    GAIA:
    A note on that:
    “Y’Shua” is the more accurate pronunciation of the (proper) name of the Messiah — “Jesus” was merely a westernized, anglicized adaptation,

    BRETT:
    but now I’m trying to figure out where this discussion is going. What’s the purpose of this? Are you all trying push for some sort of reform in the Church in treatment of women or is it just the petty scholarly arguing that seems to saturate the “blogernacle”? Unforutunately, it seems like the later.

    GAIA:
    Gee, would *either* of those (or any other) be acceptable? It almost sound like *none* would..?

    NATHAN:
    In case you’re all wondering, Gaia has long been a poster on the Mormon boards at Beliefnet (which is where I saw this essay before – she seems to post it every so often).

    GAIA:
    I’ve edited it and added some new material —

    I do post it whenever there are questions regarding women and Priesthood, and sometimes (depending upon whether it seems applicable and appropriate to the discussion — when there are questions on women and the church.

    BTW — you might want to check it out again, Nathan — to avoid missing something important — *g*

    Blessings to All –
    ~Gaia

  102. The Only True and Living Nathan on February 15, 2005 at 5:14 pm

    Re RSS feeds:

    Bah. You newfangled kid with all your high-falutin’n technology and “protocols” and whatnot.

    (I started my blog and picked Greymatter as my software about fifteen minutes before RSS feeds became this year’s black. Adding an RSS feed to Greymatter is a pain in the patoot, and switching to b2evolution or WordPress means getting the formatting all right again… ugh.)

  103. Gaia on February 15, 2005 at 5:25 pm

    NATHAN:

    Gaia has described herself as a former Mormon who now mixes LDS doctrines with many branches of Paganism

    GAIA:
    Not quite.

    Several years ago i described myself as a “former LDS with a great love and appreciation for the Church and the Gospel…”.

    I NOW describe myself as “a Seeker who finds truth and wisdom in many different spiritual / metaphysical systems, including Kabbalah (the Jewish mystical system), Gnosticism, LDS, mystical Christianity, Transpersonal and Depth Psychology, and many others.

    If you find it necessary in the future to educate people as to my religious/ spiritual affiliation (or lack thereof) please at least allow ME to speak for myself. Thank you.

    NATHAN:
    She had to be shooed from the “Learn About Mormonism” boards several times for answering questions with her own ideas as if they were normative LDS thought.

    GAIA:
    Please go back and review the facts.
    I was NEVER ‘shooed” from the LA board “for answering” as you say.

    The FACTS were that I (along with several other posters were asked to leave because we did not define ourselves as “currently believing and practicing Mormons,” and the policy decision was made to exclude anyone who could not so identify themselves. (Anyone wanting to verify that is welcome to contact Moksha, Moderator of that board.)

    However, since you raise the question of the accuracy, validity and especially truthfulness of my posts there, i offer the following for anyone interested in the TRUTH:

    HERE, following, are some (unsolicited) statements by both currently faithful, practicing LDS, as well as NON-LDS, regarding my participation on B’Net. Once more, anyone who wishes to verify this information is welcome to contact Moksha.

    29 out of 31
    Hello Gaia:
    Reading your posts over the last year has ‘taught’ me a lot about Mormonism, more importantly than that your posts have shown me how to ‘look’ at things in a new way. I first came across Beliefnet while doing ‘internet research’ on the Adam/God ‘theory,’ and needless to say your posts were very, very good.

    * * * *

    BTW, I wouldn’t be surprised if, given just enough time, Gaia whipped out with something else to shatter your theories with; given time she seems to be able to find stuff on just about everything.

    * * * *
    Gaia -
    Even though you are not an active member, you do a great service to the LDS church. I think it helps to realize that I don’t always have the full understanding of something and could be wrong in my approach so I like to at least keep myself open to that posibility.

    I know some mormons (such as X) have written me off as a lost cause … You have not done so and I have a lot of respect for you because of that. I know you and I don’t agree on many things, but you are well learned and articulate well.

    * * * * *

    MOKSHA – Monitor of LDS Discussions:
    “Gaia should be considered a treasure on these forums for her knowledge of the LDS Church. She is very right in pointing out the numerous times that she has defended the Church on the debate forum and we do owe her our gratitude on that.”

    * * * * *

    DORJEM:
    “The truth is not popular. Never has been and never will be. Christ was kicked out of his own church for speaking the truth. You are so busy looking for what you don’t agree with in Gaia that you can’t even see the value and contribution she makes to this site.
    The one thing I know about her is that she has integrity. It’s something you could polish up on! ”

    * * * * *

    FleurdeLys
    11/29/04 9:15 AM 26 out of 27

    “Although I have not posted very much on this board lately, I have been a regular poster/observer for a few years. In my experience, we are fortunate to have such a knowledgeable and even-handed person as Gaia for a resource. If a doctrine of the LDS church needs to be defended, she will honestly do so. On the other hand, if a stance has been taken either officially or not by the LDS church, Gaia will also truthfully present the facts. Above all, she presents her facts and/or opinions with a commendable integrity.”

    * * * * *

    unworthyone
    12/31/04 1:53 PM 38 out of 39

    Gaia,
    Excellent posts regarding issues that cause people to doubt or reject the LDS Church.

    Once again, you have raised the level of dialog here.

    * * * * *

    axolotl68123
    1/20/05 2:06 PM 27 out of 29

    “Thanks, Gaia, for your interesting and thought-provoking posts. Keep up the good work!”

    * * * * *

    Tendril14
    1/20/05 2:43 PM 29 out of 29

    “It is true that Gaia, for reasons of her own, no longer closely associates with the Church, but at the same time, she remains a member and the Church has not chosen to dissociate itself from her; I think that it is important to observe that distinction.

    “I perceive Gaia’s historical assertations (which, by the way, I have not yet found any to be factually false) to be useful reminders that our testimonies of the restored gospel and of our divinely led leaders need to be fully informed. …
    For this reason, I think that Gaia’s message, though sometimes uncomfortable (and admittedly, somewhat agendized), is valuable, and would not want her voice banished from this discussion board. At the same time, I think it is important that people enter into discourse with civility, respect, and perhaps a modicum of curiousity, willing to seek “Why do you think that way?” rather than “eek! You’re wrong and going to hell for it.”

    * * * * *

    HonorEntheos
    1/20/05 12:49 PM 59 out of 63

    Gaia,
    “I have a lot of respect for your beliefs and comments here on BNet. You seem very open to looking at hard issues with “new” eyes.”

    * * * * *

    cubsfan1977
    1/19/05 4:17 PM 7 out of 17

    Gaia,
    “Great research. Your posts are always to the point and insightful, be they for or against the church…”

    * * * * *

    God_is_my_refuge
    1/20/05 4:09 PM 2 out of 5

    “FYI, Gaia has on MORE THAN ONE OCCASION (and honestly, more than ten or twenty) defended this church against those who would LIE to bring it down.
    You gonna hammer her for telling the truth?
    Talk about a shaky testimony… ”

    * * * * *

    moksha8088
    1/20/05 2:14 AM 11 out of 16

    “I read three participants here today that could not post here if a too literal interpretation of the above description was instituted. One of them, was an ever loyal critic from the Debate forum and I removed his post. Another, SonOFLDS, is considering renewing ties to the faith of his Father, wrote a supportive post and it was very well received. The third [ie Gaia] was our own defacto Historian, whose quest to honor the true makes her much more of our ally than foe.”

    * * * * *

    grannygail
    1/19/05 9:57 PM 4 out of 4

    Gaia: thanks for a very informative explanation.

    * * * * *

    DORJEM: 2-1-05, 30 out of 39

    “I am a seeker of truth, I can’t possibly see how any one could find fault with GAIA’s research and responses if they were a lover of truth. She is probably the most objective person who post here. It doesn’t matter whether she agree’s with it or not. She has an amazing gift.”

    * * * * *

    GAIA’s NOTE:
    I hope that clears up any questions regarding my integrity, honesty and fairness; on whether i mistakenly present my thoughts as Church doctrine; and on whether i am able to view or portray the LDS church with a fair and even approach.

    ~Gaia

  104. john fowles on February 15, 2005 at 5:28 pm

    If TOTLN is correct that Gaia describes herself as a “former Mormon” who “mixes” pagan and Mormon teachings to reach her conclusions, then this can hardly be overlooked. In the very least, it provides a resounding answer to the women who have responded on this thread asking whether they are in the minority because they don’t have a problem with the roles that the Church has connected to eternal natures in the Proclamation. Essentially, Gaia does not speak for Latter-day Saint women if she is a “former Mormon.” That is why I want to know whether TOTLN has got this right.

  105. john fowles on February 15, 2005 at 5:31 pm

    Okay, Gaia posted that resume while I was writing my comment # 104. I see from her comment # 103 that she did indeed describe herself as former LDS, and now describes herself as a Seeker. Thus, my point remains: she can hardly speak for Latter-day Saint women with this as her self-identification. I say that in response to the LDS women on this thread who have asked if she speaks for LDS women with her hypotheticals and if the LDS women without priesthood ambition are somehow in the minority.

  106. Jonathan Max Wilson on February 15, 2005 at 5:34 pm

    I posted over on FMH earlier, but since Gaia posted in response to my first post here as well as there, I will post a modified version of my comments here as well and then I will move on to better things.

    [On the FMH Gaia compared her point to the Civil Rights movement]
    Gaia, there are significant differences between the civil, secular government and the church. The fact that you think that the church can and ought to be changed through protest and pressure from the membership after the manner of the civil rights movement, might indicate that you do not believe that the church is guided to any significant extent by revelation, or that the organization thereof comes is either designed by or condoned by God.

    It is exceedingly myopic to look at the laying on of hands and anointing to heal the sick, and then claim that women are discouraged from using the gifts of the spirit in general. Just because they do not use the laying on of hands, does not mean that the gift is not manifest. Many women have and use the gift of healing, through which they know what to do to help their family members recover from illness. And their faithful prayers on behalf of the sick work miracles. They do not anoint or pronounce the blessing, but they do exercise the gift, nevertheless.

    As for veil symbolism: You cannot produce a piece of satire and within it expound seriously upon a holy symbol. Because of the context, no one can be expected to think that the symbolism you propose is meant as anything but a satirical mockery of real symbolic explanation. If you meant it seriously then you should not have couched it in this irreverent context. The fact that you would put something so sacred in this context, even if meant seriously, might indicate a lack of respect for the sacred. I do not believe that any significant discussion of veil symbolism would be appropriate on a blog, anyway. So whether you personally take seriously this symbolism, your presentation of it was undeniably blasphemous.

    I agree with the benefit of role reversal thought experiments, but I do not believe in trifling with sacred things nor in associating with the spirit of blasphemy. Good day.

  107. Gaia on February 15, 2005 at 5:37 pm

    Women and the Priesthood is a big deal for her. A very big deal. A very VERY big deal.

    GAIA:
    If you saw and heard some of your brothers suffering over what they and you perceived as a gross injustice, and you felt you were in a position to do a small something that *might* possibly in some small way help, would you not at least feel responsible to try?

    Personally, I would rather try and be mistaken, than ignore it and later, in the Eternities, discover that i had shirked a responsibility, and failed to fulfil a duty –

    ~Gaia

  108. john fowles on February 15, 2005 at 5:45 pm

    Personally, I would rather try and be mistaken, than ignore it and later, in the Eternities, discover that i had shirked a responsibility, and failed to fulfil a duty –

    This is a reason to challenge established doctrine in the Church and to lobby the Brethren, who many Latter-day Saints believe are implementing divine directives in their “policymaking,” to change something based on current social trends relating to gender roles?

  109. William Morris on February 15, 2005 at 6:10 pm

    TOTALN:

    Ah, I thought this all sounded vaguely familiar.

  110. Jack on February 15, 2005 at 6:21 pm

    “I thought this all sounded vaguely familiar”

    Yep. We’ve heard it all a 1000 times. But what’s so funny is that every time these old worn out arguments are levelled at us thick headed back woods superstitious morons by the new upstart self-appointed high priest[ess]s, they swoon with mortification at our utter lack of ability to descern the truth.

  111. Laura on February 15, 2005 at 6:27 pm

    John Fowles –

    What did it take to get the Brethren to spend hours on their knees in the upper rooms of the temple pouring out their hearts and souls on behalf of the worthy black men who couldn’t hold the priesthood or attend the temple? Was the topic of those prayers simply a result of President Kimball waking up one morning and trying to figure out what to put on the agenda for the weekly meeting that day, or did current events and real-life experiences of Pres. Kimball in Brazil make him aware that there was a question that needed an answer? Did President Kimball feel a responsibility for his black brothers?

  112. Jack on February 15, 2005 at 6:29 pm

    Yes, and Pres. Kimball was prepared to receive “no” as the answer.

  113. john fowles on February 15, 2005 at 6:33 pm

    Good questions, Laura, and it is only natural to appeal to the experience of blacks and the priesthood in this discussion. One reason I find it inapposite is because black men were still men. The Proclamation, even though I sense it is greatly disliked among some LDS feminists, seems fairly clear about the eternal nature of gender and gender roles.

    It might be true that there are some cultural restrictions on women that are indeed unjust and not required in the Gospel. But an appeal or ambition for women to hold the priesthood seems like something directed more at these definitions of gender roles. In some things, we just have to accept that we don’t know why things are the way they are but that God has a reason and that it is okay. LDS men should accord LDS women the greatest respect (and vice versa), but how does that imply that LDS women should have the priesthood? That seems like a non sequitur and, furthermore, proceeds from possibly unsound foundational premises, for example, that equality demands that both men and women hold the priesthood. I’m not sure why this should be the case.

  114. A. Greenwood on February 15, 2005 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks, FMH, for foisting another Ed Enochs on us, complete with the long list of supporting emails trotted out to prove something or other, what, I don’t know.

  115. Gaia on February 15, 2005 at 7:02 pm

    JOHN FOWLER:
    The fact that you think that the church can and ought to be changed through protest and pressure from the membership after the manner of the civil rights movement,

    GAIA:
    Uh, please, where did *I* say that? — Not where did you ASSUME that’s what i meant, but where did i actually say that?

    If i did not say it, i assure you that i did not mean it.

    Please pay careful attention to what i actually say, not what YOU *think* i mean.

    JOHN:
    might indicate that you do not believe that the church is guided to any significant extent by revelation, or that the organization thereof comes is either designed by or condoned by God.

    GAIA:
    Please do not make assumptions regarding whatever *you* might think i think of revelation — ancient or modern, John.
    You haven’t been very successful yet at understanding my “beliefs” — let alone reading my mind.

    JOHN:

    It is exceedingly myopic to look at the laying on of hands and anointing to heal the sick, and then claim that women are discouraged from using the gifts of the spirit in general.

    GAIA:
    Two easy, pretty clear questions:

    1. Is healing by laying on hands a Gift of the Spirit?

    2. Are women discouraged from laying on hands to heal?

    But ok, let’s talk about some of the other Gifts –
    Is there a single woman in today’s LDS church referred to as a “Prophetess” (as there was in both Joseph’s and Brigham’s day).

    Does anyone here here wonder what might happen if a woman stood up in either General Conference or a Ward, and (quietly, respectfully, rationally and reasonably) claimed to have a Revelation –
    not “inspiration” — which of course is less threatening and more “acceptable” —
    but REVELATION –
    for, say, her calling in Relief Society —

    Would she be hastily ushered away from the podium?

    JOHN:

    Just because they do not use the laying on of hands, does not mean that the gift is not manifest.

    GAIA:
    Oh, beleive me, that *definitely* does not mean the Gift doesn’t manifest. Women are notorious for finding ways of applying and manifesting their innate spiritual power and wisdom.

    What i said is that it is not officially *approved* — and this can take a heavy toll, in many ways.

    Furthermore, i used that as an example of how women’s sphere in the church has been limited in many ways.

    Now, again, not all women feel this way — but many do, and those that do are *suffering* because of it.

    JOHN:
    As for veil symbolism: You cannot produce a piece of satire and within it expound seriously upon a holy symbol. … If you meant it seriously then you should not have couched it in this irreverent context.

    GAIA:
    I am truly sorry if anyone misunderstood my intention, and if i offended anyone’s sensibilities regarding the Temple’s sacredness.

    I consider the Temple and all of its symbols profoundly sacred and meaningful

    I encourage anyone who questions that to check out the following thread, where i spent considerable time and effort defending the Temple symbols to those who really *were* denigrating and insulting them:

    http://www.beliefnet.com/boards/message_list.asp?boardID=5605&discussionID=367382

    JOHN:
    I agree with the benefit of role reversal thought experiments, but I do not believe in trifling with sacred things nor in associating with the spirit of blasphemy. Good day.

    GAIA:
    I’m sorry John, but your “moral superiority” thing might be a bit more convincing if you :

    a) had not deliberately misrepresented my spirituality in order to deflect attention from the issues of the thread;

    b) if you had *asked* about my current spiritual beliefs rather than make (self-serving) assumptions regarding them;

    c) had demonstrated the *least* concern about and interest in learning what might be done to HELP those sisters who are experiencing pain in their relationship with the church and the men in it.

    JOHN:
    Essentially, Gaia does not speak for Latter-day Saint women if she is a “former Mormon.” That is why I want to know whether TOTLN has got this right.

    GAIA:
    I have never *claimed* to be any sort of official spokesperson for the LDS church.

    I have however a considerable background in the LDS church — including having been a writer for LDS publications, an organizer and speaker for both BYU Women’s Conference and BYU Education Weeks; and i have taught varous workshops, seminars and such over a period of several decades.
    All of that give me exactly NO authority whatsoever — what it gives me is some experience listening to (many) LDS women and their concerns.

    My files are full of letters that tell of women’s feelings of marginalization, alienation, grief, disillusionment and betrayal by a church which they love and to which they have given their lives.

    I find it fascinating that in all the replies to my two posts, responders have managed to question my integrity, my standing in the church, my history, my motives and — who knows, maybe even my parentage and whether i have halitosis —

    Frankly, all this “concern” about me personally
    strikes me as a rather desperate effort to try to find *some* way — QUICK! — to discount, triviallize, or defuse my statements and their influence —

    “OMYGOSH, she’s PAGAN, doncha know — *gasp* —
    See, everybody — she can’t possibly say anything worth listening to —
    QUICK go wash out your ears!” LOL….

    Frankly, my relationship with the church is *my* business and that of the Lord and my Bishop.

    What i find fascinating is your emphasis on me, and utter LACK of it on the women who, i have repeatedly stated — are suffering in their relationship with the Church they love.

    THESE THY SISTERS are in pain.

    Those of you who quibbled over how the message was delivered and whether you happen to like/ agree with tjhe messenger philosophically, religiously, doctrinally, or any other way –

    hardly even considered the message itself, or what you might do about it.

    To those who resist participating in or being influenced by ad hominems –

    I thank you sincerely, and ask only this:

    Prayerfully consider what i have said — on its own merits and the promptings of the Holy Spirit to your own soul;

    Ask (among other things) whether there be *anything* the Lord would have you learn, understand from it — and then ask the Spirit to enlighten, sensitize, educate you, such that you may begin to understand, and minister to those in need.

    Thank you — Blessings –

    ~Gaia

  116. Larry on February 15, 2005 at 7:05 pm

    It’s time to call a spade a spade. She was introduced as a convert at BYU. It was never disclosed that she had left the Church. Having read what she had to say, knowing now where she goes for her enlightenment, I am embarassed that I bothered to respond in any way to her rantings.
    She has done nothing to improve the dialogue, but she comes among us as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. She has an objective in mind and it is not furthering Zion. Nephi called it “priestcraft”, but in this case we will give her “priestesscraft”.
    ( You can delete this comment if you like but I find it highly offensive to disguise her article as a legitimate concern when it is clearly blasphemous and the views of one who has left the faith but pretends to speak for members).

  117. A. Greenwood on February 15, 2005 at 7:09 pm

    No fear, Mr. Larry. We have all been deceived.

  118. Julie Kelley on February 15, 2005 at 7:13 pm

    Now Really!
    These predictable ‘exercises in futility’ seem to be popping up with regularity here at T&S. *sigh*

    This blog is *much, much, much* more interesting when topics are discussed with probing analysis and thoughtful scrutiny rather than emotional reactions and repeated trips around the mulberry bush.
    C’mon guys! Will yet another discussion on this subject truly make a difference to anyone?
    I think not.

  119. danithew on February 15, 2005 at 7:16 pm

    This just shows that we need to be at least slightly wary in the ‘Nacle — especially if newcomers show up with a sharp axe to grind. This is the second occasion I can think of where a person showed up and misrepresented himself/herself in order to push a particular perspective. Its getting old.

  120. MDS on February 15, 2005 at 7:27 pm

    How can FMH be accused of foisting when Julie linked to them?

  121. Kaimi on February 15, 2005 at 7:30 pm

    Larry, Gaia, etc.,

    1. To the extent that a speaker is advocating change from within an organization (such as the church), it undercuts her credibility if she is no longer an active member of the church. That’s due to a number of factors, among them:

    -A perception that an organization’s members have a stronger vested interest than an outsider in discussing policies;
    -A perception that policy disagreements were evidently sufficiently strong to drive this speaker from the organization, and the implication that suggested policy changes might be more than mainline members are willing to accept;
    -The perception that outsiders are critics of the organization.

    Thus, it is a very different thing if an active ACLU member calls for the ACLU to be more active in defending the Second Amendment versus if an NRA member calls for the ACLU to be more active in defending the Second Amendment; it is a very different thing if a Republican says “the Republican Party needs to be more open to gays” versus if a Democrat says “the Republican Party needs to be more open to gays”; and so forth.

    Thus, Gaia’s background is relevant and undercuts her argument. Because of her background, many members will likely find her assertions to be those of an outsider rather than an insider, and less deserving of scrutiny.

    2. That said, Gaia is correct that it would be wrong to simply dismiss her out of hand because she is not an active member. That is, we should not say “no one who is not an active Mormon has anything valuable to say on this issue, period.” We can learn lessons from members of all faiths who want to engage in dialogue with us.

    That said, her statements will necessarily be held to a higher standard, if they are perceived (as most members will likely perceive them) as the statements of an outsider or former Mormon. We may learn from what _some_ Catholics or Baptists or atheists say, but we can’t give them any kind of presumed correctness, simply because they often don’t share our theological bases or have our best spiritual interests (as we see these) in mind. So any outsider’s view, Gaia’s included, will be received with more skepticism.

    As difficult as this may be for former members who wish to discuss the issues, I don’t see a way around it myself. We’ve had some good discussions on this blog with both former- and non-members (Susan and Damon) but the discussion was always constrained by the prior points I’ve noted.

    3. Many members of this board may feel particularly upset at a perception of “false pretenses.” None of us were made aware that Gaia was a former member until late in the discussion, through Total Nathan’s sleuthing.

    There is a certain amount of trust that is accorded online, but everyone knows the proverb that online, no one knows if you’re a dog. One way to prevent abuse is community outrage at any discovered deceptions. It is a natural reaction online to view posters who manipulate the anonymity of the internet as having destroyed their credibility.

    I’m not certain that Gaia has violated any implied norms of openness. There are a lot of us who don’t give much information. And the information which she did give is probably correct, albeit incomplete.

    However, Gaia’s partial disclosure might be viewed by some readers as improper manipulation of internet anonymity, and if they perceive it that way, they are likely to view her as having lost much of her credibility. In particular, they may view this as a deliberate attempt to hide a fact which Gaia knew would discredit her, given the dynamics of point 1.

  122. kris on February 15, 2005 at 7:35 pm

    Thank you MDS.

    Adam Greenwood re: post #114 — How is this comment helpful at all in this situation? Please review this thread from the beginning — I don’t think foisted is the right word at all.

  123. Katie on February 15, 2005 at 9:01 pm

    I have been quite shocked and dismayed at the reactions given to Gaia piece. The majority of posts have been from men who have spewed such venom that one would think Gaia had written that men should ritually slaughtered. And the majority of the women have not had anything thought provoking to say accept to triumphantly pronounce their apathy to responsibility. I do not completely condemn such a view, as I, as a woman myself also have no beef with the patriarchal nature of the church. But this does not keep me from thinking outside the box and at least attempting to expand my mind by considering alternative viewpoints.

    The men have roundly lambasted the ideas Gaia presented. Of course this blindness and insensitivity to women is the point of the essay, and they have proudly stepped forward to support its claim. The essay need not change our minds about the proper order of things, but instead it could simply allow the reader a greater understating of a female viewpoint. Several men have voiced the opinions that were the roles reversed, they would have no problem sustaining an all female priesthood. Yet I suspect that men would drop like flies from the membership roles if such a switch were to occur.

    The essay is valuable in getting minds to imagine what it is like to be female in the church. Most of the time it gives me no pause. And yet there are times when I take a step back and think wow, it is men who help forgive me of my sins, a man who determines my worthiness, a man who gives me blessings and who I look to in all matters of authority. Always a man in all my important spiritual matters. The issue is not whether this a bad thing (because it is not, it can be a beautiful one), but rather the need to be cognizant of what a situation such as this does to the female psyche. The woman should ask, “Do I subconsciously devalue myself as a woman because everyone in authority is male?” And males should think, “Do I subconsciously pander to women because I have authority?” The answers should of course be no; but how can we clear our souls of such negative tendencies if we do not check ourselves for their presence? We must be at least cognizant that such thoughts may find rest in our hearts; no matter how deeply we bury them.

    I do not think the topic is limited to the men/women question. There is one African-American member in my ward. One. And I often think to myself, what would it be like if I were sitting in a congregation where every single person but me was black? My bishop, my teachers, my friends- all black. What would that be feel like? I also think about such things when watching General Conference. I wonder what it would feel like to be Japanese; watching these white men give me counsel in a strange language, while a booming white choir sings, and the camera pans to the almost all white audience.

    I think to myself how does the rather homogenous church population influence my perceptions of race? I know that even in the most minuscule way, my complete lack of interaction with any church authorities of a minority status contributes to racism in me. I’ve never had a minority teacher, home teacher, visiting teacher, bishop, or even minority member friends. How can we not ask how this colors our view? It is therefore important that I search my soul and develop empathy for the few minority members I run into. I must be able to imagine myself in their situation in order to treat them with the level of respect they deserve. Would it have been blasphemous previous to the 1978 revelation to imagine what a church with all black leadership would be like? Would we immediately voice our disgust at such a vision? (I acknowledge that this is a race issue and not sex, the latter having more eternal implications. But BY and others stated that blacks would NEVER EVER receive the priesthood. So at the time it was just as “eternal” an hindrance).

    The male posters have given the overall impression that feminist complaints are overestimated and simply not a problem. They keep on humming “all is well, all is well.” And yes, 90% of the time the church functions wonderfully and can actually do more to bring equality to the sexes than any secular institution. But there is still a percentage of the time when women feel demeaned and undervalued. There are times when a dead silent room watching the Brethren speak at General Conference, quickly turns to loud chatting and laughing when a woman takes her turn to speak. There are times when a women is belittled for pursing an advanced degree because “what is she going to use it for anyway?” The fact of the matter is we’re not perfect, and until the church is an 100% egalitarian institution we should at least consider what others-pagan, LDS, it mattereth not-have to say.

  124. Lisa on February 15, 2005 at 9:16 pm

    I’m sick today, and didn’t even realize this was exploding. I haven’t read all the comments, but I did get far enough to be able to say that I don’t mind that Julie posted this here, or that much the discussion is taking place here. It’s all good.

  125. Julie in Austin on February 15, 2005 at 9:27 pm

    Thank you, Katie.

  126. Julie in Austin on February 15, 2005 at 9:47 pm

    I should probably let this thread die, but . . .

    Y’all know from my previous posts that I do NOT have a problem with the current state of affairs regarding the priesthood. But let me share with you a quote from the Gospel Doctrine manual; in brackets, I have put how a young woman might respond to it. It is Elder Talmage’s reflections on being a deacon:

    “As soon as I had been ordained, a feeling came to me such as I have never been able to fully describe. It seemed scarcely possible, that I, a little boy, could be so honored by God as to be called to the priesthood [hm, I guess I am not honored by God] . . . . I felt strong in the thought that I belonged to the Lord [do I belong to the Lord?], and that he would assist me in whatever was required of me [wait a minute, does that mean he won't assist me?]. The effect of my ordination . . . entered into all the affairs of my boyish life. . . . When at play on the school grounds, and perhaps tempted to take unfair advantage in the game, when in the midst of a dispute with a playmate, I would remember, and the thought would be as effective as though spoken aloud-’I am a deacon; and it is not right that a deacon should act in this way.’ [oh. good thing I don't have to live up with that and can get away with mischeif].”

    Now, I imagine some of you will quickly respond that *of course* God honors young women, *of course* they belong to him, *of course* He will assist them. But to the extent that you do that, you nullify everything Elder T. is saying.

    Again, I have NO PROBLEM with the assignment of priesthood; I occasionally have a problem with the way we talk about it, treat it, etc. To borrow from Pres. Kimball in addressing the same issue:

    “I mention all these things, my brethren, not because the doctrines or the teachings of the Church regarding women are in any doubt, but because in some situations our behavior is of doubtful quality. ”

    Gaia’s post is over the top, as I said before, but, like Katie, I’m dismayed that so few of you bothered to think about what it might be like to walk a mile in your wife’s sensible low heels.

  127. Lisa on February 15, 2005 at 9:50 pm

    Okay, I’m finally to comment 34, Bryce, how do I do a pingback or traceback or whatever . . . I would love to know.

  128. Kaimi on February 15, 2005 at 9:56 pm

    Julie writes:

    “I’m dismayed that so few of you bothered to think about what it might be like to walk a mile in your wife’s sensible low heels.”

    But Julie, I would much rather walk a mile in her 5-inch, strappy, fire-engine-red stilettoes!

    :P

  129. Julie in Austin on February 15, 2005 at 9:56 pm

    (as I continue working on my Sunday School lesson . . .)

    This, also from the manual, from Elder Holland, talking about AP holders blessing and passing the sacrament:

    “I can think of no higher compliment heaven could pay you.”

    How should a young woman read that?

  130. Julie in Austin on February 15, 2005 at 9:57 pm

    Kaimi–

    TMI.

  131. Lisa on February 15, 2005 at 9:59 pm

    John, (comment 52) I had no idea that pink was embarrassing. I wonder why . . .

  132. Sheri Lynn on February 15, 2005 at 10:18 pm

    This is very sad.

    So what if our church doesn’t ordain women to the true and only Priesthood of God?

    Not one other church can ordain a woman to that Priesthood, either.

  133. Clark on February 15, 2005 at 10:22 pm

    Julie, why do you think we aren’t considering it. It seems like many here have considered it and simply don’t react the way some expect us to. The mere fact we aren’t as bothered as some are makes them somehow doubt that we have considered it, I suspect.

    Now I actually do have a problem with the way some talk or view the priesthood. I tried to make clear that my comment about status applies equally to men and women. I think both fall into that problem of viewing priesthood from a worldly point of view. However by the same measure I have a problem with the way some talk about the atonement and forgiveness. I have a problem with how many talk about science and history. But, outside of discussing it occasionally on blogs, I really don’t care that much. I may try to teach people to be better when I’m a teacher. But ultimately their salvation and growth is up to them. I’m far too aware of my own failings to start focusing in on others too much. I might speak of failings in the abstract. Heavens, we may actually agree a lot on gender issues.

  134. Julie in Austin on February 15, 2005 at 10:28 pm

    Clark–

    I don’t think it was thoughtfully considered because I didn’t see evidence of that in the posts. I saw lots and lots of negative adjectives and complete rejection, and precious little evidence of thoughtfulness.

    I didn’t expect Adam G. to howl that he had been wrong, wrong, WRONG and can the ladies please form a line so he can ordain them. . .

    But I did think, perhaps, that someone might say, ‘Gee, it never occurred to me that the entire gospel program would feel differently if all of the key players were not my gender. It would make me think about my gender in different ways.’

    Again, I’m not someone looking to change doctrine or practice. I would just like a little awareness that things look really, really different through women’s eyes. Not bad, just different.

  135. Sheri Lynn on February 15, 2005 at 10:33 pm

    What percentage of the baptized males are active versus what percentage of females?

    If women are more active in the Church, as I believe to be the case, commit fewer serious sins per person as I also believe to be the case, and are believed to eventually outnumber males in the Celestial Kingdom by a huge margin, what have we been denied that we need?

    There are some faithful men with inactive or less active wives but the opposite is more often true, in my experience.

  136. Alexa Wolfe on February 15, 2005 at 11:35 pm

    It’s interesting how there are some arguments that any attempt to refute them winds up making the person attempting refutation look bad.

    It’s like a conspiracy theory. Conspiracy theories have two features: they are fungible and irrefuteable. Fungible because the people involved are more or less interchangeable and more or less equal to each other (for example, if you claims “the Jews” are behind some terrible plot, the conspiracy theory makes no real distinction between any individual Jews).

    They are also irrefuteable because all arguments against the theory wind up becoming arguments FOR the theory. (“That’s just what they want you to think!”)

    Gaia’s argument is like a conspiracy theory. Any attempt to refute it just proves the point, and all the men involved become fungible.

    Let’s give it up guys. There’s no way to look good in this debate. You can’t win under these types of conditions.

    As I said – interesting.

    (As for walking a mile in my wife’s shoes – see her post above).

    [Cross commented at FMH, so as to avoid seeming exclusionary].

  137. Ivan Wolfe on February 15, 2005 at 11:37 pm

    Uh – that last post was me. Apparently I forgot my wife posted last and I didn’t change the name! [Perhaps an ADMIN can make the change?]

  138. DavidH on February 15, 2005 at 11:38 pm

    Julie and Katie,

    I agree with you. I think the way we talk about gender differences and sometimes the way we treat one another leaves much to be desired. As I posted in more detail at FMH, I think GAIA’s post raises valid concerns–at least to this male.

    John Fowles,

    Your mention of the Proclamation of the Family and its mention of eternal gender differences caused me to wonder if there is any signficance that the Proclamation is silent about whether priesthood is to be restricted to males. Do you suppose that means (emphasizing the inspired nature of the proclamation) the God is hinting that he might extend formal priesthood in this life or the hereafter? Or (taking a more humanistic view) that the Brethren were not in agreement whether the limitation of priesthood to males was an eternal principle that would not change in mortality?

  139. Adam Greenwood on February 15, 2005 at 11:41 pm

    ” It seemed scarcely possible, that I, a little boy, could be so honored by God as to be called to the priesthood”

    “I can think of no higher compliment heaven could pay you.”

    I have no problem whatsoever with these statements. If they weren’t made about receiving the priesthood, the very stones would cry out.

    I do have a problem with thinking that an honor given to one is necessarily a black mark against those who don’t get it. My wife bears children. It is the highest honor that heaven can pay her; it is a very high honor indeed. Perhaps you will reject this statement, because it doesn’t fit with your project, but I don’t care. I was there when our daughters born. I know. My wife knows. God knows that we know. God had given her great honor and me by association.

    The priesthood is indeed the highest honor that men can recieve, and so what?

  140. Jack on February 15, 2005 at 11:43 pm

    Great comment Ivan.

  141. DavidH on February 15, 2005 at 11:45 pm

    Is the priesthood a higher honor than fatherhood? Or husbandhood?

  142. Adam Greenwood on February 15, 2005 at 11:47 pm

    Clark’s #133 is accurate with respect to me.

    Julie,
    Is there any reason in particular that I should have given a thoughtful response to this stuff? It was clear a paragraph or two into it that it was a pretty distorted rant. I don’t see that I have to spell out why walking a mile in the shoes of someone with a massive and bitter chip on their shoulder and a pretty distorted view of the way things are wouldn’t change my worldview much. It should be obvious.

    Walking a mile in my wife’s shoes would be nothing like what Gaia describes. My wife doesn’t think like that. I’m a little surprised you’d think she does.

  143. Jonathan Max Wilson on February 15, 2005 at 11:50 pm

    I’m dismayed that so few of you bothered to think about what it might be like to walk a mile in your wife’s sensible low heels.

    But I did think, perhaps, that someone might say, ‘Gee, it never occurred to me that the entire gospel program would feel differently if all of the key players were not my gender. It would make me think about my gender in different ways.’

    Julie,

    I think that you are overrating the novelty of the “if roles were switched” exercise. Adam, Ryan, and John have all experienced an education in Law, and I know that John, like myself, has formal education in literature. Do you really think that, given those backgrounds, we have never considered a scenario like this one?

    Furthermore, we are married to intelligent, strong women who talk with us, teach us, preach to us, and help us to consider their point of view. My wife and I have discussed this post and others at length, and I suspect that these other brethren discuss these things with their wives as well.

    The reason why you didn’t get a “Gee it never occurred to me…” response is that it has occurred to us.

    Several of us who have objected to this particular post have simultaneously recognized the value of this kind of thought experiment. I hardly think that represents “complete rejection.”

    It is more important to testify that the apostate spirit that accompanies her post is not of God than it is to try to negotiate with it as we try to extract whatever truths have been mixed with the lies to make them more palatable. Those same truths are available elsewhere in pure, unadulterated form.

  144. Julie in Austin on February 15, 2005 at 11:50 pm

    “I do have a problem with thinking that an honor given to one is necessarily a black mark against those who don’t get it.”

    This statement is so nonsensical I can’t get my mind around it. So all of the movies that don’t win Oscars are in no sense lessened? Or books that don’t win Pulitzers?

    If, on the other hand, you mean to suggest that we should charitably interpret Elder T. and H’s statements to mean ‘no higher honor _for males_’, well, that seems reasonable. Of course, that isn’t what they said. (Then again, they _were_ speaking in contexts to only holders of the priesthood, so that may be reasonable. Perhaps my gripe is just the placement in the Gospel Doctrine book, for consumption, without modification, by girls and women.)

  145. Julie in Austin on February 15, 2005 at 11:54 pm

    Jonathan Max Wilson–

    Do you honestly expect me to believe that before this the majority of male posters had given thought to how their religion and perceptions of self would differ if the Savior were not of the same gender? I find that hard to believe.

    “Several of us who have objected to this particular post have simultaneously recognized the value of this kind of thought experiment.”

    Please show me the plethora of comments above that indicate this to be the case.

  146. DavidH on February 16, 2005 at 12:01 am

    One of the struggles I have with the comments that priesthood is the highest honor a man (or anyone?) can have is that, as I hinted in response to Adam’s post, I think it diminishes the significance and role of men as fathers and husbands. I have appreciated the teachings of Presidents McKay, Lee and others that our roles in the family as men and women are more important than anything else we do, including, as I understand it, Church work.

    I don’t think priesthood is the male version of motherhood; I fatherhood is.

  147. Adam Greenwood on February 16, 2005 at 12:02 am

    In context, that is what they said. Also, you just don’t recognize that there are honors many. Giving a congressional medal of honor to a soldier in no way impugns the heroism of civilians. They’re not soldiers. The question is not even on the board.

    Also, with reference to Jonathan Max Wilson, what kind of responses did you expect to get from a junk post like this? I think I explained in #142, as did J. M. Wilson in #143, why thoughtful consideration is not the sort of thing that this kind of rant should be expected to evoke.

  148. Adam Greenwood on February 16, 2005 at 12:04 am

    In the end, I don’t think there’s fatherhood without priesthood, and perhaps vice versa. Especially for those who are in the church, I don’t see how you can separate them.

  149. Julie in Austin on February 16, 2005 at 12:05 am

    Uh, Adam, JMW seems to suggest that this post did in fact lead to thoughtful consideration with his wife.

    Where would the Bloggernacle be if rants couldn’t lead to thoughtful consideration ;) ?

  150. Adam Greenwood on February 16, 2005 at 12:09 am

    I meant in the comments, Julie. Wasn’t that what you were demanding from him?

  151. Adam Greenwood on February 16, 2005 at 12:13 am

    I’m not sure I or anyone else has said much of worth in this thread, so rather than keep the conflict alive I think I’ll let Julie have the last word.

    For those who are a little offput by the contention here, please check out the Love Requited thread. Some things have been said about marriage and its purposes that made ‘my heart burn within me.’

  152. Julie in Austin on February 16, 2005 at 12:14 am

    I wasn’t demanding anything from anyone in particular but expressing surprise in general.

    That said, does it seem logical to you that a thoughtful discussion at home would lead to a ranty condemnation online? What were the fruits of that discussion?

  153. Julie in Austin on February 16, 2005 at 12:15 am

    grrr. I posted before I saw #151. Now it appears that I played into Adam’s little scheme to allow the little lady to cap off the mess.

  154. john fowles on February 16, 2005 at 12:23 am

    Gaia, I think in your # 115 you are confusing Jon Wilson with me (John Fowles). You have attributed his post sentence by sentence to me and then responded. I guess that is not such a problem, however, since I agree part and parcel with what Jon Wilson said.

  155. john fowles on February 16, 2005 at 12:31 am

    Katie # 123, what do you say to my # 113?

  156. john fowles on February 16, 2005 at 12:37 am

    Lisa # 131: on pink, see Kaimi’s follow-up post here if you want to know the answer.

  157. Katie on February 16, 2005 at 12:48 am

    Jonathan Max Wilson:

    It is more important to testify that the apostate spirit that accompanies her post is not of God than it is to try to negotiate with it as we try to extract whatever truths have been mixed with the lies to make them more palatable. Those same truths are available elsewhere in pure, unadulterated form.

    Must all our truth come in a pure unadulterated form? Isn’t there much to recommend the truth the comes from other religions, art, music, novels, and so on? Joseph Smith said: “One of the grand fundamental principles of ‘Mormonism is to receive truth, let it come from whence it may.” Should we not try to extract truths from the Q’uran because some of its truths have been mixed with apostate teachings? Can we not be illuminated by something like the “Magic Flute” because its truth is not pure and unadulterated? Oh I guess it is only okay to extract truths mixed with apostasy when they do not hit so close to home that leaving one’s comfort zone becomes necessary.

  158. Katie on February 16, 2005 at 1:03 am

    John-
    I was not implying in my post that the situation with blacks and the priesthood was similar to that of women in that women might hope that a revelation would someday open the priesthood to them. I do not think it will happen and do not wish it would. I agree with you that we can just admit that some things are the way they are, and we don’t know, or have to know why. I merely drew the parallel to say that back then white members would have been well served to imagine for themselves what the church would be like functioning with an all black priesthood. How would that white male feel? I do not think it would have been so vile to consider such a notion, for it would have been an exercise in expanding the mind, building empathy, and correcting little prejudiced behavior problems.

    Like Julie, my beef with the nature of the posts here is that men have not seemed eager to imagine walking a mile in a female Mormon’s shoes. Yes, they may have considered it before. But they may have previously considered lots of the things we blog about at T&S. Yet that has never stopped them from posting those “old” thoughts for others to read. I do not as Adam argues believe that imagining the situation Gaia’s has conceptualized is a worthless exercise. Taking time to imagine what another experiences is a virtue of human empathy and love.

  159. Jack on February 16, 2005 at 1:51 am

    “Do you honestly expect me to believe that before this the majority of male posters had given thought to how their religion and perceptions of self would differ if the Savior were not of the same gender?”

    I suppose I would have gone a little easier on this thread if I had but known what a horror it must be for some women to acknowledge that the Savior is a man.

  160. Jack on February 16, 2005 at 2:27 am

    Sorry for the harshness, Julie.

    Perhaps you can clarify the above quote. It seems to suggest favoritism on the part of God.

  161. Lisa on February 16, 2005 at 3:21 am

    x-posted with FMH

    I’m not really sorry that I wasn’t much a part of this discussion, maybe being sick was a blessing in disguise. I think reading through all the comments all at once last night was a much better experience, the immediacy removed, a chance to ponder and pray.

    (It’s 1AM, I’m sick, my kids are vomitoriums, and I’m blogging. Can you say CRAZY!)

    As I read through the comments I saw themes arising and instead of commenting to specifics I think I will comment to the themes.

    *The first theme I’d like to address (because it involves my responsibility in this whole thing) is Gaia and her beliefs/relevance/heresy/misrepresentation.

    I think most of that is my fault. I misrepresented her. She sent me a very honest and open statement on her belief and I read into it that she was still a self-identified Mormon, when that was not what she said at all. So while I did not mention her “seeker” status the fault was mine for sheer thick-headedness. I do have to say that I think some of the personal attacks were mean-spirited and disappointing. I’ll agree with Kaimi’s statement (T&S 121) that this is important information to know, to put things in context, but once in context does not destroy the relevance.

    *Second theme: Dismissal.

    It’s silly. It’s the same tired old argument. It’s blasphemous. It’s futile. It’s not worth discussion.

    None of these are true for me. It’s not silly to me, not tired to me, it didn’t feel futile or blasphemous to me, it is worth discussion to me. If you don’t feel that way, then don’t discuss it. Easy problem to solve.

    *Third Theme: Relating to

    Women: I do/don’t relate to this.
    Men: My wife does/doesn’t relate to this. (very little if any *I* do/don’t relate to this)

    Personally I think this would be the most interesting discussion. Why do you or don’t you relate. What are the differences in temperament/belief/values/personalities/predilections that underlie it all. Especially on some of the specifics mentioned in Gaia’s sketch. But I think we’re well past our ability to have that discussion now.

    *Forth Theme: Women and Priesthood, explanations and/or excuses.

    Some very interesting stuff on Priesthood and Status. Well done.

    A lot of disturbing dismissals of priesthood as nothing but a burden, seeming to say—“You want it . . . take it. You’d be crazy to want this.” I think this is meant (by the men who said such things) to eschew personal ambition and/or responsibly for the inequalities. But still I find it disturbing that you would hold this gift in such poor esteem.

    More of the “men are less active, less righteous they need the Priesthood and women do not” stuff that I think more men should take offense at. I deeply believe you’re worth more than that gentlemen.

    And of course “God wants it this way, who knows why.” Which may or may not be true, but seems one of the best explanations by far.

    Fifth Theme: Hyperbolicishness

    It’s over-the-top. It’s polemic. It’s abrasive. It encourages dissention and unrest.

    I didn’t read it that way. I need to go back and channel my mother and try to see it from the point of view that started this storm.

    Also I wonder if that’s necessarily a bad thing. Isn’t there a place for ideas that can be expressed well through over-the-top polemic hyperbole? If nothing else than to show how much middle ground there really is.

  162. A Edwards on February 16, 2005 at 3:25 am

    Katie #158

    As a stay-at-home LDS dad, I do indeed think that I’ve had the chance to walk in an LDS woman’s shoes, or at least in her sneakers (which is to say, I have no idea what it would be like to not have the priesthood, but I do know what it is like to be the helpmeet to a busy earner).

    From my perspective, the priesthood within the family unit is a joint gift, insofar as it sanctions our joint decisions or gives us guidance equally. Where the priesthood is used in the governance of the affairs of the Church, I believe that the priesthood is a touchstone — something that helps the leaders of the Church recognize whether the options laid before them accord with the Lord’s plan. The priesthood also works to inspire the Church technocrats who develop and/or implement Church programs to plan their activities as the Lord may wish those activities to proceed. Whether the planning comes from a divinely inspired man or woman is moot.

    That being said, I can appreciate both Gaia and Katie’s sentiments that, for folks who don’t follow the standard plan, the organization of Church programs can seem functionally limiting. I’ve encountered this myself in both the organization of auxillaries and socially. Organizationally, I find that many of the women-only programs (for example, enrichment night homemaking topics) would be functionally helpful to me, but practically irrelevant to my wife.

    On a social level, the admittedly “priesthoodless” sisterhood is a very close, daunting group for a man. Without their spouses, men are generally not welcome in LDS women’s gatherings, formal or informal. Of course, we married folk are advised against prolonged one-on-one interaction with members of the opposite sex. Wise counsel which I follow, but it does limit playdates with the sisters of the Ward. On the few occasions that I’ve been invited to group social activites with women in the Ward, it has been akward. I don’t go anymore, even when invited. (BTW, guys, did you know that sisters among themselves talk with some frequency about sex and bikini waxes? Shocked the snot outta me!)

    My personal digressions are just to acknowledge that, yes, the Church has assigned gender roles to its members and has programmed its activities and systems to fulfill the needs of the majority of Saints who chose to follow those roles. For those of us who choose a different path, we must be willing to accept the fact that we fall outside the target audience. Are we wrong for the lives we lead? No, we simply can’t expect the level of support that our more conventional co-religionists receive.

  163. Julie Kelley on February 16, 2005 at 10:31 am

    A Edwards,
    I enjoyed reading your thoughtful post. I appreciate the opportunity to contemplate things from your unique perspective.

  164. MDS on February 16, 2005 at 12:22 pm

    O.K., now that most of us are agreed that both Gaia’s initial post and her background are at least somewhat problematic (I don’t think we’ll reach much more concensus than that), I think we can still acknowledge that the more interesting/thought-provoking tidbit she offered was some of the historical material on women and the priesthood. I think there is still room for real and fruitful discussion about what the priesthood is, and how an understanding of the history of the priesthood as it relates to gender might enhance our understanding of its proper place in teh church today.

    In this vein, Ben Spackman has an interesting article on his temple FAQs page by Carol Cornwall Madsen, a senior researcher at the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History at BYU which may be much more comfortable reading for many of us, but addresses the same historical points as Gaia made (without the polemic). http://home.uchicago.edu/~spackman/Mormon%20Women%20and%20the%20Temple.pdf

  165. Julie in Austin on February 16, 2005 at 4:57 pm

    Jack–

    Good thing you put #160 in there. It is not, of course, a horror that the Savior is male. However, gender is an important identity marker in this Church, and I don’t share that with Him. ‘I’m trying to be like Jesus’, but . . . not completely. What does this mean for women? Perhaps a stumbling block for some, and therefore worthy of discussion, even if it isn’t an issue for me.

    A Edwards–

    Please keep commenting. We need you.

  166. Mark Martin on February 16, 2005 at 5:31 pm

    While I was uncomfortable with some of the language and inclusion of sacred things in Gaia’s post, my original thought was that we can examine our actions and expressions to see whether we have been in some ways insensitive to the women around us. Also, we can consider whether we personally have developed male/female “traditions” in our families or wards/branches that are not required by the gospel. These are productive and potentially uplifting exercises. It seems to me that during the 1990s, the general Church leadership developed a heightened sensitivity to the contributions, needs and feelings of the single adults in the church. The doctrine was not wrong, but we were able to improve our interactions and communication to avoid minimizing single members. In a similar way, there is room for us to improve our consciousness of how our words and actions might be condescending toward women.

    It seems that we collectively need to improve the skills mentioned in today’s “Contention and Argument” post. I’m disappointed that there have been several less-than-respectful responses in this thread. What happened to addressing the topic rather than attacking the person? I find the “apostate” declarations inappropriate. Without knowing the person, one might more gently say “This piece sounds like it is coming from a disgruntled writer.” Or if you feel it needs to be said, qualify the “apostate” declaration as your own opinion. I hope we can do better at T&S (and I think we usually have done better).

    As for the power of women in the church, we are all covenant people independent of priesthood office. I like to think of 1 Nephi 14:14:
    “And it came to pass that I, Nephi, beheld the power of the Lamb of God, that it descended upon the saints of the church of the Lamb, and upon the covenant people of the Lord, who were scattered upon all the face of the earth; and they were armed with righteousness and with the power of God in great glory.”

    Wow, I’m glad I was too involved with other things on Valentine’s Day to see this thread when it began!

  167. Gaia on February 17, 2005 at 12:37 am

    Hello Everyone –

    First of all, I would like to extend my deepest thanks to the following people who demonstrated (what i felt was) emotionally and spiritually mature willingness to consider what i wrote and find the good in it that i intended:

    Kaimi, Greg, Steve, Xon, Danithew, Wendy, Mark B, David H, Kevin Barney, Julie in Austin, Julie (not sure whether they are the same), Lisa and Katie — thank you all! more than you know.

    Secondly, my relationship with the Church and the Gospel is the business of myself and my Bishop — and NOBODY else.

    There is not a single person here with the authority or keys to make any judgements whatsoever on my standing before God.

    I commend to us ALL the words of Jesus to a PAGAN Centurion:

    (Matthew 8:10-12.)

    “When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
    And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.
    But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”

    However, it would be INACCURATE for anyone to call me a “former” LDS, in terms of either the “letter” or the “spirit” of the phrase.

    Thirdly, regarding the “appropriateness” of the entire piece (especially the “over-the-top” parts of it):

    In retrospect, i think it was unwise to post such a controversial article, so indiscreetly worded, especially quite so early in my association with the Blog….

    HOWEVER, i am not sure that anyone realizes that not only did I *not* post it here, i was not even *consulted* about it BEING posted here.

    *I* posted it to a group entitled, “FEMINIST Mormon Housewives”
    where i thought it would likely be appropriate, understood and appreciated.

    Fourthly —
    I continue to maintain that the piece should be judeged on its own merits. If it contains truth — if any woman reads it and says of any part of it, ‘That sounds a little like something i (or one of my sisters) felt/ thought/ experienced”;

    Or if any man reads it and thinks, “That sounds like something i’ve heard from another woman…perhaps i should give it some thought….

    Or,

    “Wow, i never thought about it quite that way before…perhaps i should…”

    — Then it achieves exactly what i intended it to, and it will have been worth all the trouble.

    Finally, to those who resisted any tendency / desire to be hurtful, dismissive, or insulting –

    (Matthew 25.)

    “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” sings –

    ~Gaia

  168. Godot on February 17, 2005 at 1:28 am

    Gaia,
    has anyone posted any thoughtful criticism or rational differences of opinion in all of the above posts? Or has it all just been either “emotionally and spiritually mature” people who lend towards agreeing with you or people who “desire to be hurtful, dismissive, or insulting”?

  169. Gaia on February 17, 2005 at 2:04 am

    GODOT:

    has anyone posted any thoughtful criticism or rational differences of opinion in all of the above posts?

    GAIA:
    Absolutely — and thank you for reminding me to acknoweldge them –

    Most particularly Xon, Katie, Kaimi, Ivan Wolfe, HL Rogers, Heather, Mark B, Anon, Larry, MIDS, A Edwards, and Lisa –

    –All made what i thought were very insightful comments. Thank you all for your important insights —

    If i thought anybody really was interested, i’d be happy to discuss them….but i guess i don’t.

    Blessings –
    ~Gaia

    .

  170. Bryce I on February 17, 2005 at 7:31 am

    A Edwards said: “BTW, guys, did you know that sisters among themselves talk with some frequency about sex and bikini waxes? Shocked the snot outta me!”

    Before I was married, I had a theory that if you got a group of women together, at some point the conversation would turn to hair removal.

    I have added a corollary to say that if you get a group of mothers together, at some point the conversation will turn to breastfeeding.

    And I have noticed that my wife talks about sex much more with her friends than I do with mine.

  171. Mark Martin on February 17, 2005 at 1:12 pm

    Gaia,
    Thank you for your #167 post. I like your reference to Matthew 8, and also your retrospective acknowledgement that the tone and language of your piece could have been improved for this group speaks well of your character. I sincerely hope that we all do well in our spiritual quests, and that we (to quote Isaiah) “shall see eye to eye when the Lord shall bring again Zion.” From my reading of 3 Nephi, the “more righteous” who were spared all had need of the Savior’s healing, and after the Savior’s personal appearance to them, it was about a year or so before all were converted and baptized. With that, I see the Savior being quite inclusive regarding honest people whether they be in or out of the Church, or even mainstream or not mainstream within.

  172. Jack on February 17, 2005 at 2:27 pm

    I am really, really, REALLY uncomfortable with the idea that those who disagree with one’s views (even to the point of issuing a little venom) must be less enlightened, less well versed in the scriptures, less (dare I say) christian!

  173. Gaia on February 17, 2005 at 5:41 pm

    – Of course we can never know another person’s heart, and that is the danger of human beings making judgements on other human beings, It’s so easy to let our own weaknesses, immaturities, biases and agendas get in the way.

    The best i think we can do is try to (constantly) examine ourselves and strive to “bring forth fruit meet for repentence,” (Alma 12:15);
    And remember that –

    (Matthew 7:16-23.)

    “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”

    Blessings –
    ~Gaia

  174. Jack on February 17, 2005 at 7:16 pm

    And what is his will? Aye, there’s the rub.

  175. Larry on February 17, 2005 at 7:17 pm

    Gaia,

    One of the roles that the Priesthood has is to defend the faith. Over the top comments made to create shock value, with apparent blasphemous comments for effect, do not cause one to reflect on the validity of the concern being addressed.
    Addressing the issue straight on, but being reasonable in comment, invites discussion. However, if the only point of view that matters is the one addressed, then, what value does the article have.
    To properly identify gender difference, and uniqueness, the pros and cons of each, enables others to take the discussion seriously. To complain because one has certain rights or powers that the other does not, is to argue the impossible. What God has ordained, He has ordained, and for you or me to complain about it makes not one bit of difference.
    I would love to serve as an apostle – but guess what – it ain’t going to happen, in spite of my being male, temple worthy and the rest of it. Does that make it all unfair? Not for one moment.
    Would I garner any support by complaining about that fact – I hope not. There are some basic facts of life that are what they are.
    If the reality you address is the way some men demean women, by virtue of their being ordained to the priesthood, then you and I can travel that highway together. I am appalled by that type of behaviour and love to address it at every opportunity in HP quorum or SS etc..
    I have the same fun with supposed conservative types (I am a conservative) who believe that everyone should believe as they do. ( I suppose that is why some HP’s have furrowed brows after I teach lessons on opposition and tolerance.)
    My grandfather taught me 2 things: 1) that truth is truth no matter where you find it; and 2) I have a great treasure – my ignorance. With those he taught me to have an open mind but not so open that everything passes through and nothing sticks.
    My experience over time has taught me that most, if not all spiritual truths, that exist in todays world, can be found in the scriptures.
    Sometimes our awareness of those principles are initiated by what we study elsewhere, but they are in the scriptures. As the Prophet Joseph said (I am not quoting exactly), everything revolves around the atonement, and if it doesn’t it can’t be true (my words – not his).
    My point being- even if your comments were posted at FMH and we were made aware of them without your consent, they were still made by someone who is LDS (at least I think you claim to still be). The nature of the comments invited diametrically opposite opinions, and even vitriol, because of what they implied. At that point your status as a member becomes valid. We don’t quote apostates, or hold their views in high regard, when they attack doctrine or practices.
    How does your approach to the issue of women and the Priesthood differ qualitatively from apostate Mormon rhetoric?
    You seem to have a fair knowledge of scriptures that defend(?) you. Are you aware of scriptures that condemn your approach?
    There are in the scriptures (in my humble opinion) doctrines, not well known at present, that could be searched out, that contain answers to the questions that we all have on different issues. Would it not be more fruitful to examine the issue from that perspective, ask questions, seek ideas from others, ponder, pray, etc. to find answers.
    Let me suggest perhaps 2 scriptures that might lead one on a voyage of discovery that might unlock some doors. The 1st is D&C 50:24 (particularly the first line); and the 2nd is D&C 84:45. Take what you learn from those 2 scriptures and apply them to all other scriptures and see if something comes out the other side that is different from anything you thought before.
    Cheers.

  176. Gaia on February 18, 2005 at 12:13 am

    LARRY:
    One of the roles that the Priesthood has is to defend the faith.

    GAIA:
    Hi There, Larry.

    The Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood (D&C 121) is our primary scripture regarding Priesthood, and it emphasizes such things as:

    That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness. That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
    Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God. We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion. Hence many are called, but few are chosen. No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood, only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned; By kindness, and pure knowledge, which shall greatly enlarge the soul without hypocrisy, and without guile—”

    I think it therefore has direct bearing on many of my statements throughout this discussion.

    Have you a scripture to back up your assertion, Larry?

    LARRY:

    Over the top comments made to create shock value, with apparent blasphemous comments for effect,

    GAIA:
    Larry, whether they were blasphemous or not seems to be an issue of personal judgemnt – there were many women who read them and saw *nothing* blasphemous about them.

    An interesting question might be, “why the difference?” Why were some so grossly offended, and others not? Why did some see truth, and others see — well, something else.

    But even if you’re not particularly interested in that question — or assume you have the answer already — plese remember that there WERE other, quite different responses, than yours.

    LARRY;

    do not cause one to reflect on the validity of the concern being addressed.

    GAIA:
    Perhaps something else might have caused one to “reflect” on that validity — like the search for truth, and the effort to understand another, even very different, perspective.

    LARRY:

    . What God has ordained, He has ordained,

    GAIA:
    Larry, what makes you so sure that God “ordained” women to not have PH?

    In fact, there is much more evidence that God most certainly DID ordained women to have Priesthood:

    1. Joseph Smith’s tesimony that women were to become and function as Queens and Priestesses;
    2. The Temple ceremony in which women function as Priestesses;
    3. The Anointed Quorum/ Holy Order, where women functioned as Priestesses;
    4. Statements of Joseph Smith, Birgham Young and others that women are Priestesses
    5. Statements of other leaders that women were ordained as Priestesses.

    If you want precise quotes on any of this, please see my article on the “Feminist” Blog about “Women’s Priestesshood”.

    My point being: there is much more evidence in scripture, the writings of Prophets and the teachings of LDs leaders that God designs for women to be Queens and Priestesses, and there is ZERO evidence in scripture to the contrary.

    LARRY:
    I would love to serve as an apostle – but guess what – it ain’t going to happen, in spite of my being male, temple worthy and the rest of it. Does that make it all unfair? Not for one moment.

    GAIA:
    Of course not — because (at least as far as we know) God never promised to MAKE you an Apostle.

    Please see my article, “Women and Priest(ess)hood to see when and where (and to whom) God made promises regarding women’s Priest(ess)hood.

    LARRY:

    If the reality you address is the way some men demean women, by virtue of their being ordained to the priesthood, then you and I can travel that highway together. I am appalled by that type of behaviour and love to address it at every opportunity in HP quorum or SS etc..

    GAIA:
    I am gratified to hear that.

    May i encourage you to educate yourself regarding the promises that God has made to women, and when you have done so, to support them in that effort in whatever way you also feel comfortable and inspired doing.

    LARRY:

    At that point your status as a member becomes valid. We don’t quote apostates, or hold their views in high regard, when they attack doctrine or practices.

    GAIA:
    I deliberately provided a long list of quotes from faithful LDS who have known me several years, to help establish whether i was someone whose word meant something at least worth listening to and considering.

    Furthermore, i commend to you the following quotes for your consideration:

    Joseph Smith said that “by proving contraries, truth is made manifest”
    ( History of the Church 6:428).

    From the LDS “Contributor”:
    “a truth is a truth, though spoken or written by a person who may previously have been known to have stooped to twist, garble or falsify other matters. Coming from such a source, however, it would be likely to carry less conviction than when uttered or written by one whose integrity had never been impeached, and whose honor was above reproach.”

    (Contributor, vol. 3 (October 1881-September 1882), Vol. Iii. January, 1882. No. 4. 100.)

    “But we also acknowledge our obligation to accept truth from whatever source it comes. All the sacred writings will some day be gathered together. (v. 13)

    (George Reynolds and Janne M. Sjodahl, Commentary on the Book of Mormon, edited and arranged by Philip C. Reynolds, 7 vols. [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1955-1961], 1: 412 – 413.)

    President Joseph F. Smith:
    “We are willing to receive all truth, from whatever source it may come ; for truth will stand, truth will endure. ”

    (President Joseph F. Smith., Conference Report, April 1909, 6 – 7.)

    .
    Conference Report: Elder Richard R. Lyman:

    “We believe in accepting truth, from whatever source it comes. If there is anything virtuous, honest, upright, holy, good, and true, we, in accordance with the fundamental principles of the gospel, seek after these things.”

    ( Elder Richard R. Lyman, Conference Report, October 1919, Afternoon Session 108.)

    LARRY:
    Would it not be more fruitful to examine the issue from that perspective, ask questions, seek ideas from others, ponder, pray, etc. to find answers.

    GAIA:
    Are you assuming that i have NOT done that — and if so, why?

    AGain, i respectfully ask you to please go back and review the quotes from those faithful, devout LDS who have known me for some time and testify to my character and knowledge of LDS doctrine and history.

    Blessings –
    ~Gaia

  177. Gaia on February 18, 2005 at 12:24 am

    MIDS –

    Carol Cornwall Madsen, a senior researcher at the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute for Latter-day Saint History at BYU which may be much more comfortable reading for many of us, but addresses the same historical points as Gaia made (without the polemic). http://home.uchicago.edu/~spackman/Mormon%20Women%20and%20the%20Temple.pdf

    GAIA:
    Hello MIDS –
    Thanks SO much for posting this!

  178. Jack on February 18, 2005 at 1:15 am

    Gaia,

    I think most folks around here are of a dispostion that is open to women receiving the priesthood (and I mean in the way that the men receive it in the Church today) if the Lord were to reveal such through His appointed servants–the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve. I also think that most folks around here agree (generally) that women receive certain priviledges pertaining to the priesthood by virtue of Temple ordinances.

    However, assuming that one believes that the priesthood being extended women in the Church will only come as a directive from the highest councils–as revealed by the Lord, presupposes a belief that the highest councils are inspired–at least in a general sense. (no pun intended) Therefore one must be willing to lay to rest the argument as to whether or not the brethren lead the Church by revelation/inspiration. If one does not agree with the brethren on the issue of women and the priesthood and therefore pressumes a lack of revelation, then how can one be assured that, in the event of such a change as women receiving the priesthood, that such will come by virtue of revelation and not just the whim of fifteen old men?

    In otherwords, If this is the Lord’s Church then we need to get behind it. If it’s not, then who cares whether or not one receives the priesthood?

  179. Jack on February 18, 2005 at 1:17 am

    …awaitng comparisons with the priesthood being made available to all worthy males…

  180. Stephen M (ethesis) on February 18, 2005 at 7:57 am

    What I find interesting is that when we discuss problems with socializing young men and male activity levels in general, the only rejoinder is “you guys are worth more than that” and no discussion about the real and significant problems faced by all denominations.

    Glad to get a list of Gaia’s influences. When I read the pagan, having studied way too many groups, the ritual slaughter (well, castration and human sacrifice) of males did come to mind, while her influences don’t seem to include those groups (neopagans, on the other hand, seem to go back thirty or forty years and completely avoid their roots, which is fine by me. I much prefer the Walt Disney version of many of the traditions. Though I winced when I read a prayer for peace that invoked the Morrigan.).

    Two completely different threads go on with men and the priesthood. The first is the traditional role that goes back to historical roots (and yes, I’m aware of female deacons, etc. that tangent the histories, and Huldah, Miriam and others). The second is the modern experience, relatively long standing, of the difficulty socializing and keeping men in religious settings.

    Practical issues include the number of times people get into real, serious, emotional and sexual problems when you mix men and women in Church callings. Or why your wife or husband isn’t out home teaching with someone of the opposit sex on a regular basis. That is a constant problem or issue that comes up every time it is tried.

    So you have two historical trends (with counterexamples) and a real social-sexual issue that repeats itself over and over again. It is why men can teach in primary, but not preside there.

    What remains is what you call the womens’ organization and authority structure in the Church and how you label participation in it.

    A significant issue, mind you, but one that lends itself to a certain circumscription.

    Maybe someone can find Marcella and get her to post. We can go over some more topics if she shows up.

  181. Gaia on February 18, 2005 at 1:22 pm

    JACK:

    I also think that most folks around here agree (generally) that women receive certain priviledges pertaining to the priesthood by virtue of Temple ordinances.

    However, assuming that one believes that the priesthood being extended women in the Church will only come as a directive from the highest councils–as revealed by the Lord,

    GAIA:
    Well, in at least one particular sense – -tht of the Patriarchal Order – it already HAS come, and has never been rescinded, taken away or limited by God, in any revelation.

    Obviously women have some sort of PH, else they could not funtion as Priestesses in the Temple an dcould not wear the Robes of the Holy PH — i think
    it would be nice if LDS would consider the implications of all that.

  182. Katherine on February 18, 2005 at 3:32 pm

    The subjects of women and the Priesthood and women and the church are ones I honestly struggle with. My questions are does God love women less than men, does he esteem us less, and are we worth less in the eternities? While my heart says that couldn’t be, I have every earthly and heavenly evidence to the contrary. I beg for your collective wisdom–how can I know that his female children have the same value to him as his male children?

  183. Jack on February 18, 2005 at 3:37 pm

    Gaia,

    I think many members DO consider those implications. However, re. the Patriarchal Order; I don’t think anyone really knows a whole lot about it, or if they do they keep quiet about it. We can conjecture until dooms day as to what the “fullness” of the Priesthood is. But until such things are openly manifest through the proper channels they are to be kept within the bossom of the saints. For now it is enough for the faithful to know that that which is openly manifest in terms of the priesthood is that which has been meeted out according to the particular circumstances of the Kingdom at present.

  184. Gaia on February 18, 2005 at 4:47 pm

    Jack –

    I commend to you the following statements from various Prophets (who restored and taught on the Fulness of Priesthood) —
    Encouraging all to read, study, research and learn —

    Apostle Charles W. Penrose, who would later serve as counselor to President Smith, declared: “President Wilford Woodruff is a man of wisdom and experience, and we respect him, but we do not believe his personal views or utterances are revelations from God; and when ‘Thus saith the Lord’, comes from him, the saints investigate it: they do not shut their eyes and take it down like a pill.”
    (Millennial Star 54:191)

    “And none are required to tamely and blindly submit to a man because he has a portion of the priesthood.
    We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark, that they would do anything they were told to do by those who presided over them, if they knew it was wrong; but such obedience as this is worse than folly to us; it is slavery in the extreme; and the man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings, until he turns from his folly.
    A man of God… would despise the idea.

    Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the saints were
    told to do by their presidents, they should do it without asking any questions. When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their minds to do wrong themselves.”
    (Millennial Star, vol.14 #38, pp. 593-95)

    Brigham Young said:
    “What a pity it would be, if we were led by one man to utter destruction! Are you afraid of this? I am more afraid that this people have so much confidence in their leaders that they will not inquire for themselves of God whether they are led by him. I am fearful they settle down in a state of blind self-security,trusting their eternal destiny in the hands of their leaders with a reckless confidence that in itself would thwart the purposes of God in their salvation, and weaken the influence they could give
    to their leaders, did they know for themselves, by the revelations of Jesus, that they are led in the right way.

    Let every man and woman know, themselves, whether their leaders are walking in the path the Lord dictates, or not. This has been my exhortation continually.”
    (JD 9:150)

    “How easy it would be for your leaders to lead you to destruction, unless you actually know the mind and will of the spirit yourselves.”
    (JD 4:368)

    “I do not wish any Latter-day Saint in this world, nor in heaven, to be satisfied with anything I do, unless the Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ, the spirit of revelation, makes them satisfied…Suppose that the people were heedless, that they manifested no concern with regard to the things of the kingdom of God, but threw the whole burden upon the leaders of the people, saying, ‘If the brethren who take charge of matters are satisfied, we are,’ this is not pleasing in the sight of the Lord.” (JD 3:45)

    “…Now those men, or those women, who know no more about the power of God, and the nfluences of the Holy Spirit, than to be led entirely by another person, suspending their own understanding, and pinning their faith upon another’s sleeve, will NEVER be capable of entering into the celestial glory, to be
    crowned as they anticipate; they will never be capable of becoming Gods. They cannot rule themselves, to say nothing of ruling others, but they must be dictated to in every trifle, like a child. They cannot control themselves in the least, but James,Peter, [Gordon] or somebody else must control them. They never can become Gods, nor be crowned as rulers with glory,immortality, and eternal lives; never can hold scepters of glory, majesty, and power in the celestial kingdom.

    Who will? Those who are valiant and inspired with the true independence of heaven, who will go forth boldly in the service of their God, leaving others to do as they please, determined to do right, though all mankind besides should take the opposite course. Will this apply to any of you? Your own hearts can answer.” (JD 1:312)

    “President Joseph Smith read the 14th chapter of Ezekiel [see, for example, verses 9-10: 'If the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing ...the punishment of the prophet shall be even as the punishment of him that seeketh unto him.']…said the Lord had declared by the Prophet [Ezekiel], that the people should each one stand for himself, and depend on no man or men in that state of corruption of the Jewish church — that righteous persons could only deliver their own souls — applied it to the present state [1842] of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints –

    – Said if the people departed from the Lord, they must fall — that they were depending on the Prophet, hence were darkened in their minds, in consequence of neglecting the duties devolving upon themselves…” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith pp. 237-38)

    George Q. Cannon, Counselor to three Church Presidents, expressed it thus: “Do not, brethren, put your trust in man though he be a bishop, an apostle, or a president. If you do, they will fail you at some time or place; they will do wrong or seem to, and your support be gone;”
    (Millennial Star 53:658-59, quoted in GospelTruth, 1:319)

    I hear them telling LDS to search out and study those things for themselves, and not wait to be told. It is a “slothful” servant who waits to be taught ….

  185. Jack on February 18, 2005 at 5:16 pm

    Gaia,

    I can see that this is going to be merely another turn on the merry-go-round, but here goes…

    First, you don’t know what a rogue I am, how inclined I am to thumb my nose at the masses and head for greener pastures of my own making.

    Second, I don’t think there is a regular commenter on this site who isn’t familiar with any of those quotes. What? Do you think that folks like me choose to stay within in the mainstream of the church merely because you think we haven’t drunk from the dregs of church history?

  186. Gaia on February 18, 2005 at 8:27 pm

    Jack -
    I would not presume to suggest what dregs you have or have not drunk….

    I only suggested to you some references which i thought were relevant to the discussion.

    Blessings –
    ~Gaia

  187. Stephen M (ethesis) on February 19, 2005 at 11:37 pm

    ick, drinking dregs is pretty foul …

    ;)

    Interesting in that most of you seem to blog from work, I only blog when I’m not at work.

    Post 184 above reminds me of one of the very first devotionals I attended at BYU as a 17 year-old freshman.

    Seems like some things never change.

  188. Jack on February 20, 2005 at 12:51 am

    Uh, Stephen,

    That last comment is a double edge sword. Which way did you mean to cut?

  189. Stephen M (ethesis) on February 20, 2005 at 12:57 pm

    I was hoping to cut towards humor and away from offending anyone.

    Unless you mean blogging patterns. I find I’m able to blog when it appears the activity on the bloggernacle is at the lowest, and out of the picture when things are hopping. I didn’t mean that to cut at all.

    As for the comment on Post 184, that wasn’t meant to cut at all. It is just interesting that one consistent theme in the gospel is the need to question, learn and verify for oneself.

  190. Jack on February 20, 2005 at 4:26 pm

    Stephen,

    I was just wondering about your experience at BYU. I recognize the need to be spiritually self-reliant, but I have a hard time imagining the spirit of #184 being foisted upon BYU students at their weekly devotional.

  191. Stephen M (ethesis) on February 20, 2005 at 4:48 pm

    Jack,

    It was about the first time I ever heard a general authority speak at BYU, if I recall it correctly. It made a very deep impression on me and is one of the few talks I can remember (ok, I also remember Dallin Oaks warning about being careful about tubing down the Provo river/stream, but not too much else from 1973).

    I was struck by his quoting Brigham Young on the topic and it really made an impression on me.

    As did Joseph Smith’s defense of Elias Higbee before the High Counsel when they attempted to excommunicate Brother Higbee.

  192. Hellmut Lotz on February 20, 2005 at 7:15 pm

    Good for you if you would not mind living with an exclusively female priesthood. However, it may be more interesting to consider why other people do mind that they cannot enjoy the privileges of priesthood.

  193. Susan on April 5, 2006 at 2:07 pm

    Katherine – #182 – are you there? Still checking that someone may have responded? I just found this all and read it today and was totally dismayed to get to the end and see that your comment received no response. Please answer if you see this, I will check again, Susan

  194. Speed on April 5, 2006 at 3:05 pm

    #182 — Your comments leave me wondering…What exactly do you think the priesthood is, that it somehow makes men better than women. How often I’ve thought to myself, “oh that I was a woman and didn’t have to carry this burden”. It’s not like the force in Star Wars that you can use to your advantage, it’s more like being the only one able to drive a car and getting calls at all hours of the night because someone needs a ride somewhere. Yes, you’ll probably feel good after having helped someone, but you’d really rather stay in bed.

  195. Susan on April 5, 2006 at 4:19 pm

    Or like being the only one with the breast milk and getting calls at all hours of the night because the baby needs to be fed? come on – we all have our burdens (and blessings). My point for Katherine is that I know – I feel – where she is coming from and know how it feels to get no responses – mostly because those are sentiments that can be expressed to almost no one but God himself, and when they are expressed, there either is no answer forthcoming, or if there is it can be condescending and patronizing (as shown in #194, not by God). And Katherine doesn’t necessarily have an issue with the Priesthood specifically – but from reading her comment – It is safe for me to say that I could have an empathetic conversation with her. I hope to be able to make email contact somehow – Can anyone tell me how I might get her address. I know that mine was required to comment, though it is not shown. Thanks

  196. mullingandmusing (m&m) on April 5, 2006 at 6:02 pm

    Susan,
    Bear in mind that the original thread was from last year…. May or may not have an effect on finding the person you seek.

  197. speed on April 6, 2006 at 11:54 am

    Susan,
    I wasn’t belittling your connection with Katherine –your post simply made me aware of Katherines original post. And her post really did seem to imply she felt less loved by God because she was denied the priesthood or because she was a women. And it made me honesty wonder what a woman’s view of the priesthood is that would make someone feel that way. I wondered if it was just her or is this common to many women? I really don’t think that having the priesthood has anything to do with God’ love for me as a male. I grew up in a household with few males and many women –women who consistantly lived more righteous than I and yet didn’t serve missions, didn’t long for the priesthood and felt very much loved by God. So maybe I’ve got a skewed perspective.