I’m a Mormon Easy Chair and I believe that women

March 21, 2013 | 134 comments
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… should not get ordained to the priesthood. I know that reasonable chairs can disagree, but as Frank’s easy chair, I know what to expect once women are ordained. Frank is going to spend a lot more time sitting on me. Probably asleep. Sure, it will start with a little story time to the kids, but the end is both obvious and predictable. Naptime.

Not an easy job.

Help!

Admittedly, I have a steel reinforced frame and ample cushioning, but Frank is not a light guy. Nor, to put it frankly, is he getting any lighter as the years pass. So if you care about more than just people and consider all the world’s marvels, please don’t forget us — the oppressed easy chairs of the world. The downtrodden. Keep Frank off of me. And that will be a fantastic step forward for the community, and a cause to rejoice.

Hi, I’m Frank’s easy chair and I have no idea what the Church should do about priesthood ordination, but I’m pretty sure that ordaining women is going to make my life worse.

134 Responses to I’m a Mormon Easy Chair and I believe that women

  1. Julie M. Smith on March 21, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    I suspect you’ll get a lot of flack for being flippant about a topic that is very painful to a lot of people, but hiding in this post is a decent point: it is hard enough under the status quo to get men to participate (see: home teaching statistics) and if men weren’t the only game in town, it would probably take about 10 minutes for all of the work in the ward to be done by women. Those of us who would welcome a change to the status quo need to think long and hard about how we’re going to keep men in the pews when they aren’t regularly hearing about how important their duty is as priesthood holders.

  2. Orwell on March 21, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    […] it is hard enough under the status quo to get men to participate (see: home teaching statistics) and if men weren’t the only game in town, it would probably take about 10 minutes for all of the work in the ward to be done by women. Those of us who would welcome a change to the status quo need to think long and hard about how we’re going to keep men in the pews when they aren’t regularly hearing about how important their duty is as priesthood holders.

    There is likely much truth to this and it deserves some thought. However, what bothers me the most about this supposed obstacle to women’s ordination (and I’m totally not accusing you of this, Julie, I’m just speaking in general terms) is that it feels just like conceptualizing modesty in terms of how it affects men and their thoughts — e.g. women’s ordination isn’t a women’s issue, it’s all about whether or not it will be good for the men.

  3. Tim J on March 21, 2013 at 2:40 pm

    This was by far the weakest answer in the website’s FAQ:

    Q: Don’t men need an exclusive all-male priesthood as an incentive to serve and actively participate in the Church?

    A: Like our sisters at All Are Alike unto God, we have more faith in men—and Mormonism—than that.

    Well, okay then.

  4. Julie M. Smith on March 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm

    Orwell, I think if the position is “the status quo shouldn’t change because it will mess things up for men,” that’s a problem. I think if the position is, “if we change the status quo, we need a plan for being sure that men’s needs are met,” we’re good.

    I suspect that the rising generation of LDS males–who will have basically the same YM and YW lessons, who will live in a world where similar numbers of men and women serve missions, etc.–would have a much smaller problem on this front.

  5. Kaimi Wenger on March 21, 2013 at 3:01 pm

    Given the choice between making life better for women, versus making life better for pieces of furniture, I’ll choose to help the women. Ten times out of ten.

    However I’m glad you’ve raised this point, Frank, and I think it’s absolutely correct: People who value their furniture more than the women in the LDS community should definitely make sure _not_ to support women’s ordination.

  6. MC on March 21, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    A list of growing churches without prescribed gender roles in their priesthood:

  7. MDearest on March 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    This attitude is quite common, I’ve even been known to promote it at times. (Look at my blog comments c. 2007) I think it reflects how much or how little one sees women as part of Us or as being the Others. It’s really interesting that women themselves are affected by this, meaning that we too can see *our* gender as the Other gender, and the male gender as the norm. It’s really easy, since the overwhelming majority of what we know about deity is all male. Female deity is never represented in scriptures or revelation, beyond the single fact of her existence. I wonder what is, in truth, the reality for female deity, or even for female mortals not subject to a fallen world such as ours, which is steeped in male supremacy since ancient times, and which remains invisible to most as the norm.

    For this reason I don’t see women’s ordination as a way to mitigate the problems of male privilege, rather I think that we must first do the very hard work of addressing those problems enough to see some movement away from having only the male as normative, before ordaining women has a prayer of working.

  8. Orwell on March 21, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    I agree on all counts, Julie.

  9. Orwell on March 21, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    MC, so what?

  10. John Mansfield on March 21, 2013 at 3:16 pm

    MC, increasing gender interchangeability and weakening a religion at the same time would likely be considered killing two birds with one stone by some.

  11. MC on March 21, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    “MC, so what?”

    You’re absolutely right, Orwell. It’s a matter of no importance that every Christian denomination that got rid of a patriarchal priesthood has dwindled in unbelief. Totally irrelevant. Not even sure why I brought it up.

  12. Hannah Wheelwright on March 21, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    By all means, let’s hear what the inanimate objects of the world have to say. I have a pillow that thinks patriarchy is bunk. My footstool thinks that men who voice their opposition to female ordination using such ridiculous (non-)logic are airheads (and my alarm clock agrees with her!). My car is somewhat divided on the subject- she is all for asking questions, but she isn’t sure that the Ordain Women campaign should be so demanding. But my laptop is firmly of the opinion that it’s time.

    This is fun, maybe we should always imagine and consider the thoughts and feelings of objects instead of women. Oh wait.

  13. Orwell on March 21, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    Right, Mansfield, because everyone that wants women ordained is totally secretly hoping to bring about the destruction of Mormonism.

    MC, growth simply isn’t the ultimate measure of the success of a religion or necessarily the determining factor in whether a decision is right or wrong.

  14. Adam G. on March 21, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    What exactly makes you a Mormon easy chair, hmm? Just because you never show up on time to anything (or at all) doesn’t make you a Mormon. Orthopraxis is not enough.

    On a less serious note, I think there’s a body of evidence that women want to marry men who have status of some kind. The decline in marriage and the rise of single mothers having children out of wedlock is partly attributable to men’s income and prospects declining relative to women’s which seems to correlate with men being less ‘marriageable.’ Marriages where the women earn more than the men seem to be pretty unstable and report less satisfaction. Here’s a recent article that touches on some of these themes:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/21/business/economy/as-men-lose-economic-ground-clues-in-the-family.html?src=twr&_r=1&

    From an engineering perspective, the priesthood can be seen as a clever device for sidestepping all this mess by giving almost all husbands a desirable status, one that the wife isn’t going to end up trumping and that doesn’t require her to limit herself to avoid trumping. It’s also a status that doesn’t reflect badly on the wife–if your husband earns more than you or has a better career (or if you have no career at all) that could mean that you have no ambition or less talent or were afraid or are worth less than him. But if you don’t have the priesthood as a woman, that doesn’t reflect on you personally.

    Less clinically, there is something great and eternal and fundamental in the union of the sexes that is inherently tied up with their complementariness. Essential complementariness requires that something valuable be uniquely male. Feminism is unintentionally death to the basic meaning of romance and courtship and ultimately eternal marriage because it can’t tolerate that anything valuable be uniquely male. This is a self-defeating error. We are bound together. Every attempt to erode male distinctiveness must take its toll in female fulfillment, and vice versa.

    What liberal feminist Mormons see as problems look like solutions to me.

  15. MC on March 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    “MC, growth simply isn’t the ultimate measure of the success of a religion or necessarily the determining factor in whether a decision is right or wrong.”

    So now we’ve gone from “so what?” to “isn’t necessarily the determining factor”. That’s progress, of a sort.

    Just one question: Does a good missionary say “so what?” when contemplating whether a decision he makes will tend to increase or decrease the number of people who accept the fulness of the gospel?

  16. MC on March 21, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    Adam makes a point that I find to be entirely true, but far too politically incorrect for any Church leader to make in an official capacity (or perhaps even to think about). So it’s good that people can read it here.

  17. Ziff on March 21, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Does a good missionary say “that’s okay, we’ll just ban them” when a potential investigator says she won’t join a church that allows black people?

    Growth (or at least not decline) matters; treating people as humans matters too.

  18. Chris Z on March 21, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    You’re absolutely right, Orwell. It’s a matter of no importance that every Christian denomination that got rid of a patriarchal priesthood has dwindled in unbelief. Totally irrelevant. Not even sure why I brought it up.

    The UU is not dwindling in unbelief. It’s growing–especially in the south, traditionally a stronghold of patriarchal religion.

    If you’ve heard that liberal congregations are losing members, you’ve probably also heard that one of the fastest growing groups is the “nones”–people with no religious affiliation whatsoever. And a study of them indicates that it might still be conservatism, misogyny, homophobia etc that is responsible for the decline of religion overall. The patriarchal nature of religion seems to be hurting all religion. Demographic trends show quite definitely that people–especially young people–expect to see women and LGBT people treated equally, and as conservative churches fail to do this, they’ll lose members too.

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/atheologies/6933/are_conservative_churches_really_winning_by_being_more_orthodox

  19. MC on March 21, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Does a good missionary say “that’s okay, we’ll just ban them”

    Ah, but I didn’t say “we’ll just ban them” now, did I? Whereas Orwell did, in fact, say “so what?” to the fact that no church that embraced full gender equality has avoided the death spiral.

    “Growth (or at least not decline) matters;”

    Sort of contradicts the “so what?” doesn’t it?

  20. Dave K on March 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Julie (#1) I gave myself 30 minutes to calm down before hitting the “post” button. But I still feel the same way, so here it goes. How dare you belittle the priesthood leaders in your life by claiming “it would probably take about 10 minutes for all of the work in the ward to be done by women”? That statement would never be acceptable if said about women. Please realize that nothing does more damage to men’s testimonies than baseless assertions that women are more spiritual, more caring, better servants, etc. etc. and so therefore do not “need the priesthood”. We men can take flak from antis on our missions. We can take long days away from our families and suffer it. But we cannot take crap statements like this from women who otherwise claim to be our sustaining support.

    10 minutes. Really? 10 minutes is about the amount of time I get to see my kids each day if I’m lucky that work doesn’t go long and I don’t have church meetings that night (maybe 2 nights a week). 10 minutes is the amount time I get to focus on my own welfare each Sunday (thank God for the sacrament); the remaining time – from before sunrise to after dusk – is taken up with welfare meetings, bishop youth discussions, requests for blessings, missionary guidance, facilities issues and literally hundreds of other issues. 10 minutes? Be my guest.

    Do too many men sit idly by? Absolutely. But so do too many women. Give me 10 minutes and I’ll show you dozens of women in my area who don’t have children at home, don’t have a job, but refuse to take on any significant calling. In their minds, it’s much better for a sole-provider father to serve as bishop, and in the process miss out on his children’s lives, than that they take on the burdens of the priesthood. Why? Well, the answer is obvious – these women are already perfect.

    Back in the real world, the church has been stagnating for years now. Baptisms clip along, but unit numbers are flat. Yes, one of the major culprits is that many men are not fulfilling their responsibilities. But is the solution to place their unmet duty solely on the men who do remain? That makes as much sense as holding the two active YSAs responsible for the 85 others who are not. We need all members to pick up the slack, women as much as the men. And that means women taking on priesthood responsibilities too.

    Women will get the priesthood someday. But as your attitude makes clear, it will probably happen in the same mold as the ends to polygamy and the racial priesthood ban – we will back into it out of necessity in order for the church to survive. Would that it were otherwise. Would that you would trust us more than you do. I only hope that by the point most sisters realize “this must be” that I and the other men will still be around to serve with you.

  21. Chris Z on March 21, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    @14 & @16: In other words, the church really does rely for stability on the social inferiority and economic subjugation of women. Since most people are revolted by such an ugly sentiment, MC and Adam G are proud and pleased to express it here, where they can congratulate each other on how unenlightened they are. Nice.

  22. ARC on March 21, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    I’m confused by this. For one, chairs can’t type. So how did this get written and posted? It’s troubling to me. It’s also troubling to me because if suddenly chairs can type, then that means that the theory of intelligences is true doctrine. And if the chairs intelligences have been given enough agency and autonomy to speak for themselves, then that means the undoing of our human endeavor to be as gods. I mean, the theology is not, “As chairs are, God once was”. Is it?! I am very troubled. Will I become a chair in the next life? Will I ordain my chair when it reaches 12 years of age? How will it manifest its consent or dissent? Will the footstool portion pop out to sustain? Same sign to manifest? What sorts of spiritual matter went into the creation of this sentient chair? What does this say about those spirits in the pre-existence? Were they fence-sitters?

    As awestruck as I am by this development, I am a little worried as well. You should give your chair some remedial education because it doesn’t know how to spell “steel”. I’m worried that you aren’t raising your chair correctly.

  23. Adam Greenwood on March 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Yeah, that 10 minutes thing was pretty insulting. But never fear, chauvinism is only a male trait.

    —-

    The main cause in the growth of the nones is the decline in marriage and childbearing, a problem that rooting out the last vestiges of formal sex roles in our lives will do nothing to solve and much to promote.

  24. Orwell on March 21, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    Does a good missionary say “so what?” when contemplating whether a decision he makes will tend to increase or decrease the number of people who accept the fulness of the gospel?

    I would hope the missionary would do what’s right, regardless of how it would affect the growth of the church. If it does so negatively, then so be it. It’s when people privilege the perceived good of the institutional church above what is right that we end up with things like child abuse scandals (which isn’t to say that what is right doesn’t often dovetail with the needs of the institutional church).

    So, if ordaining women is right (which you’re free to disagree on), how it affects the church’s growth is not relavant to making the decision. This doesn’t mean you can’t see what has happened in other churches and try to plan accordingly, but that’s not really the same thing.

  25. Brian on March 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    #20 – Thank you, Dave. I was also disappointed with Julie’s flippant remark, but am not eloquent to have stated it as well as you.

  26. Adam Greenwood on March 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    ARC,
    What I wanna know is, what do you call a chair when it heads a committee? “Chairperson” seems offensive somehow.

  27. Frank McIntyre on March 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    ARC, I was a little put out my chair stole my login, but I will go ahead and correct his poor spelling. Stupid chair.

  28. Ziff on March 21, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    MC, you appear to be arguing that growth is *all* that matters. If a policy might reduce growth, you can’t get behind it. Orwell and I are arguing that growth can’t be the be-all end-all criterion, or we would do all kinds of other things that would increase growth (reduce tithing, loosen up on the WoW, etc.)

    You didn’t say “we’ll just ban them”? You’re fine with just banning women from the priesthood to keep men happy and engaged. Whether you said those precise words or not, you’re clearly arguing for banning women from being ordained.

  29. Orwell on March 21, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    *relevant

  30. Chris Z on March 21, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    @23:

    The main cause in the growth of the nones is the decline in marriage and childbearing,

    Nope. That’s not what the data indicate–it’s about being grossed out by the conservative politics of most churches.

    If you have any at all data that suggest otherwise, please produce them.

    There are plenty of married nones out there with kids. Really. Atheists get married and reproduce too, you know.

  31. Adam Greenwood on March 21, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    A number of commenters here sound like they will be shocked, shocked to discover that the purity of doctrine was not the main concern in the move to ending polygamy in the Church.

    Gnostics may seek some pure gospel untainted by the world, but the gospel that had Jesus Christ born in the flesh can’t. (OK, that was an overly dramatic way of making the point. Sue me.)

    B. Young may have been wrong about some things but he was sure right about the Church needing to make sense as an actual, real-world institution.

  32. Orwell on March 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    To those offended at Julie’s comment, I get what you’re saying, but I see her hyperbole as riffing on the original post. I could see your indignation just as easily directed there.

  33. MC on March 21, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    Chris Z,

    I would TOTALLY believe the UU are growing, if it weren’t for what the Unitarians had to say about it: (http://www.uuworld.org/news/articles/183612.shtml). And get real. Two years of our births of record alone are more than the entire Unitarian Universalist population. Given that tiny base, they may even grow for a while as a way station for Christians who don’t believe in Christianity to rest on their slow walk to atheism. Plus, they’re older than the average American, way older than the average Mormon, and getting older (and therefore less fecund) every day: (http://www.uua.org/documents/congservices/2012_uudemo_survey.pdf). If you want a tiny, irrelevant church, they’re a great example.

    “Demographic trends show quite definitely that people–especially young people–expect to see women and LGBT people treated equally, and as conservative churches fail to do this, they’ll lose members too.”

    What you failed to point out was any evidence that a church becoming more liberal on gender issues has resulted in stemming the tide. The relevant examples of churches that are still growing (Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentecostals) and the ones that are not (every church that abandoned patriarchal priesthood) are not congenial to your point.

  34. JT on March 21, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    For me, whether or not women hold the priesthood is not a question I spend too much time thinking about. Theories about men needing more responsibility to keep them engaged ring somewhat hollow to me (these theories would not have made much sense, for instance, in most of the cultures that have had the priesthood throughout history).

    Personally, I believe that this is a matter between the First Presidency, the Twelve, and the Lord. Kaimi wrote on his post about “agitation” being necessary before the First Presidency and the Twelve will ask. I don’t think that that is what President Hinckley meant (or even a side-truth from what he didn’t mean). Asking whether the subject has been considered (or suggesting that it be condererd) by the First Presidency is one thing; lobbying to get it changed to match our current societal norms, or to placate those who take offense to the current practice, is another. That said, if the Lord wants women to hold the priesthood and makes that will known to the First Presidency and the Twelve, I would be the first person to raise my hand to sustain it.

    The bigger question for me is how to answer those who ask about why women cannot hold the priesthood. My answer: I don’t know. It’s not a satisfying answer for most, but anything more or less than that would be speculation on my part.

  35. MC on March 21, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    “I would hope the missionary would do what’s right, regardless of how it would affect the growth of the church.”

    Does whether something affects the growth of the Church have no impact on whether it’s right?

  36. MC on March 21, 2013 at 4:09 pm

    “MC, you appear to be arguing that growth is *all* that matters.”

    Find me someplace where I argued that, and I’ll address the rest of your comment, which I have not read because it’s based on this false premise.

  37. MC on March 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    “MC and Adam G are proud and pleased to express it here, where they can congratulate each other on how unenlightened they are.”

    LOL. We only congratulate each other because not everyone is as masterful in the art of self-congratulation as you are.

  38. Orwell on March 21, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    Does whether something affects the growth of the Church have no impact on whether it’s right?

    Sometimes. Not all the time. What kind of answer are you expecting? It’s pretty easy to come up with examples on both sides of that.

  39. Dave K on March 21, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    Orwell (#32) That’s fair. Both the OP and comment #1 erroneously assume that male-exclusivity is one of the reasons, if not the primary reason, for why LDS men give so much of their lives to priesthood service. I just can’t understand such thinking. Not once have I ever been inclined to accept priesthood responsibility because women are excluded. It makes no sense to me.

    If men walk away from the priesthood it is because they find no value in it (or that the burdens outweigh the benefits). Men will not walk away simply because it has lost its exclusivity. Do men still vote, drive cars, attend college, or do many other actions previously denied to women? Of course, because they still find value in the actions. The same process will happen when women get the priesthood.

  40. Chris Z on March 21, 2013 at 4:20 pm

    @33: Oh! So what really matters in determining a church’s membership is who actually shows up and pays for the upkeep of a congregation, not just who can claim to have been baptized or fellowshipped into a church.

    Well, that’s going to make things difficult for Mormons. That’s at least two-thirds of its membership gone, right like that.

    What you failed to point out was any evidence that a church becoming more liberal on gender issues has resulted in stemming the tide

    Did you read the piece I linked to? Did you? Here’s a relevant point:

    All of which tends to indicate that Hout and Fischer were right when they said that disaffiliation is driven by a rejection of the religious right. It seems perverse to say that members of liberal denominations show their displeasure with religious conservatism by walking away from their own churches, but that seems to be exactly what’s happening.

    back to MC:

    The relevant examples of churches that are still growing (Mormons, Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Pentecostals) and the ones that are not (every church that abandoned patriarchal priesthood) are not congenial to your point.

    Except that Mormons aren’t growing, at least not in the US. Even with all that aggressive missionary work and that high birth rate, they’re barely holding steady–if that. Didn’t you hear Marlin Jensen on this?

    So y’all are clearly doing something wrong–something really, really, wrong. You could actually ask the people who have walked in the past ten to twenty years or so. As one of them, and as someone who knows a bunch more, I can tell you that it wasn’t cuz y’all ain’t patriarchal enough.

  41. Kristine on March 21, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Let us not forget the doormats in our concern for the chairs. As Rodney Turner once said:

    Women are doormats and have been
    The years those mats applaud—
    They keep their men from going in
    With muddy feet to God.

  42. Chris Z on March 21, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    @37

    LOL. We only congratulate each other because not everyone is as masterful in the art of self-congratulation as you are.

    I’m sure there are many areas where you’re used to encountering people more masterful than you. But I suppose it’s good that the two of you are able to make each other feel better about expressing views most people would be ashamed of.

  43. Rachel Whipple on March 21, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Dave 20-

    “Women will get the priesthood someday. But as your attitude makes clear, it will probably happen in the same mold as the ends to polygamy and the racial priesthood ban – we will back into it out of necessity in order for the church to survive. Would that it were otherwise. Would that you would trust us more than you do. I only hope that by the point most sisters realize “this must be” that I and the other men will still be around to serve with you.”

    So the way we got to the end of the racial priesthood ban was bad? And it would be bad if women’s ordination happened the same way? Sounds like it should have been taken care of a couple of generations ago, so it wouldn’t look like bowing to social pressure. But better late than never, right?

    I also find it very interesting that you want the sisters to exhibit more trust in men. Is the argument that women want the priesthood because they don’t trust the men currently entrusted with the priesthood? Because it seems to me that the women are the class of people not trusted here.

  44. Kaimi Wenger on March 21, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    As a male priesthood holder, I’m slightly annoyed at the implication that I would just sit around and play Skyrim all day if women bishops existed. Also, I don’t know if it’s accurate. In my experience with empowered women, they’re often quite capable of motivating people to participate. Even though Skyrim is pretty awesome.

    But yes, I agree that people are naturally lazy. One might even say that the natural man is designed to sulk and pout and go-on-strike if not given exclusive leadership roles.

    However, I’m not sure that church doctrine should be set up to cater to the natural man. In fact, I could have sworn there was some scriptural injunction about the natural man. I’d look it up for you, but I’m too lazy.

  45. MC on March 21, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Orwell,

    Let’s review:

    You: “I would hope the missionary would do what’s right, regardless of how it would affect the growth of the church.”

    Note the “regardless,” as in “whether it would affect the growth of the Church does not matter, so long as what I’m doing is right.” But that assumes that whether the growth of the Church is affected has no bearing on the question of whether it is “right.” If the growth of the church does bear upon whether it’s “right”, then your original statement makes no sense.

    Me: “Does whether something affects the growth of the Church have no impact on whether it’s right?”

    You answered that growth “sometimes” matters in evaluating what’s right. Which means “sometimes” your original statement makes no sense. Is this one of those times? Why or why not?

  46. MC on March 21, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    “In fact, I could have sworn there was some scriptural injunction about the natural man.”

    And sometimes commandments are “adapted to the weakest of the Saints.”

  47. ARC on March 21, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Frank, I have a better suggestion. When you go back in to correct the spelling, please just go ahead and delete everything your chair wrote and replace it with some respectful, thoughtful content. I know it’ll feel like censoring your chair but, in the end, your chair is just alienating other people and furniture.

  48. MC on March 21, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    “But I suppose it’s good that the two of you are able to make each other feel better about expressing views most people would be ashamed of.”

    Let it never be said that “shaming” is a practice only of old fusty Christians like me. Progressives are picking up the habit quite nicely.

  49. Chris Z on March 21, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    And sometimes commandments are “adapted to the weakest of the Saints.”

    Thanks! That explains why Mormons have to wait for their isolated, cloistered and protected gerontocracy to get with the program and catch up with the rest of the world.

  50. Chris Z on March 21, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Let it never be said that “shaming” is a practice only of old fusty Christians like me. Progressives are picking up the habit quite nicely.

    Indeed! You guys are SUPER GOOD teachers. You quite effectively show people how to do back to you what you do to everyone else. It’s what you want, isn’t it? You do unto others as you would have them do unto you, right?

  51. hkobeal on March 21, 2013 at 4:40 pm

    I don’t know how to quote someone, so forgive my clunky response to Kristine #41:

    Kristine on March 21, 2013 at 4:22 pm

    Let us not forget the doormats in our concern for the chairs. As Rodney Turner once said:

    Women are doormats and have been
    The years those mats applaud—
    They keep their men from going in
    With muddy feet to God.

    And yes, my 12 year old daughter was given a cute little take-home doormat with this poem written on it by one of her YW leaders. Yep. In probably 2011 or 2012.

    But yeah, inequality and sexism are not issues in the Mormon church (insert massive scoffing eye roll).

  52. MC on March 21, 2013 at 4:41 pm

    Chris Z.,

    Take a deep breath. Then go to ldschurchgrowth.blogspot.com or cumorah.com. There you will find incisive analysis on the growth and inactivity challenges of the Church. Then you will have real data to talk about rather than misremembered snipets of private conversation from members of the Seventy.

    And who is y’all?

  53. Orwell on March 21, 2013 at 4:42 pm

    You answered that growth “sometimes” matters in evaluating what’s right. Which means “sometimes” your original statement makes no sense. Is this one of those times? Why or why not?

    How am I supposed to know? You never told me what the missionary’s problem is.

    You seem awfully bent on trying to prove that I’m advocating an absolutist position that I’m not. I’ve already said that what’s right is more important than considerations of growth, but that in now way precludes considerations of growth from being a factor in determining what is right in some situations.

  54. Adam Greenwood on March 21, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    I want to say something angry and pissant, but by this point in the thread that genre’s already tapped out.

    So instead I’ll congratulate MC on expressing views that most people (that cloistered white, secular liberal Americans know) are ashamed of.

  55. Julie M. Smith on March 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    OK, yes, I am guilty as charged for implying that men are lazy. Orwell was right that I was running with the flippant tone of the post and wasn’t being as careful as I should have been about such a sensitive topic. I’m sorry for derailing the discussion. I should have linked to this:

    http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/2012/09/gender-and-priesthood/

    . . . where Nate explains very carefully how male identity in the church is based in a male-only priesthood. If we were to take that away, it would create a lacuna that I think could easily lead to men disengaging from the church. Not because they are inherently or disproportionately lazy, but because if you were raised on “as priesthood holders, you have a special duty and a sacred trust to . . .” rhetoric and you look around one day and realize that everyone you see could fulfill that duty or trust now, you might wonder why you need to be there.

  56. MC on March 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    “That explains why Mormons have to wait for their isolated, cloistered and protected gerontocracy to get with the program”

    I guess “gerontocracy” is the modern equivalent of yelling, “Go up, thou bald head.”

    Sorry, Chris Z., I don’t argue with people who actively despise the Church. If I’d known this before I wouldn’t have wasted your time.

  57. Dave K on March 21, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    Rachel (#43) I believe the 1978 revelation was from God, but it came in man’s time when the church (and especially church leadership) was ready. I don’t believe that outside secular pressure played much of a role (if anything it was a negative role). Rather, the pressure came from within church leadership as we saw growth opportunities slip away in Africa, and especially as we struggled to manage the church in Brazil. Attempts to distinguish between who was black and who wasn’t proved to be unworkable. That is the pressure that led church leadership to question the underlying policy. I don’t mean to suggest there were not leaders who wanted the change because they thought the ban wrong (eg, Hugh B. Brown; David O’McKay), but there were enough leaders who would only change under institutional pressure, and because uniformity of mind was needed that pressure is what eventually pushed the change through.

    I see the same thing happening with the gender ban. For many reasons (with varying degrees of logic) most men and women do not currently want to end the ban. I don’t have a hope for real movement on the issue until, as a people, we get fed up with the status quo. I’d like to be wrong.

    As to trust, I think all members need to trust both men and women more. I’ve already discussed women’s trust of men. But I also see many who doubt women on this issue. There is genuine self-doubt amongst women that they would be inferior mothers if they also took on priesthood burdens. We need more hope and faith that, just as priesthood strengthens fatherhood, it will also strengthen motherhood.

  58. Chris Z on March 21, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    MC: I actually manage to breathe quite well all the time, thank you. Perhaps you are the one who needs to take a deep breath? Several, maybe? You do seem to be a bit winded.

    and then explain what you’re getting at. I should trust some blogspot blog more than documented statements by general authorities?

    Huh. Glad to know that’s how it works.

    “y’all” by the way, is a colloquialism that is short for “you all,” a form of the second-person plural. I’m surprised you have never learned this. It’s very common!

  59. Adam Greenwood on March 21, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    Julie S.,
    I think its something more fundamental than that. One of Mormonism’s relative successes is keeping men engaged in greater percentages then most denominations do. There’s a reason for it. Getting from where we are to where you want to be isn’t just a transition problem.

  60. Dave K on March 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Julie (#55) If my wife, mother, sisters, and daughters were given the priesthood it would not lessen my “special duty and sacred trust” in any degree. To the contrary, the specialness would be enhanced. Does anyone here really feel differently? If that’s the case, I’m sorry. I really can’t identify.

    This is what I feel: The priesthood blessings I give my children are inferior to what they could be if my wife were included. The sacrament service my sons participate in involves less of Christ’s spirit than will exist when their sisters serve with them. The font at our temple will be a more hold place when mothers can baptize their children rather than simply hold a towel.

  61. Chris Z on March 21, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Sorry, Chris Z., I don’t argue with people who actively despise the Church.

    Who says I despise “the church”? I just think its leaders don’t lead, that they’re an impediment to edification and growth, not an aid to it. I think it’s sad that members have to lead from behind. But I’m glad people are willing to do it.

  62. Adam Greenwood on March 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    I doubt very much that the Church or the membership is gradually moving in the direction of a unisex priesthood. There are a number of doctrinal, sociological, and historical objections to it. But a female-specific priesthood is possible. That may comfort Frank M.’s easy chair, since there will still be a number of things, including likely presiding, that men will need to do. It won’t comfort others who are motivated by an abstract notion of equality.

  63. Dave K on March 21, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Last comment for now: The Priesthood is not a fixed pie.

  64. MC on March 21, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Must I completely abandon the idea that there is something intrinsic to men that makes them better leaders for the Church? Like willingness to buck societal shaming in favor of standing steadfast in defense of the faith? Or should I yield to further shaming for raising that idea as well?

  65. Rachel Whipple on March 21, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    Dave-57. Lovely response, thanks. I agree with everything you wrote there.

  66. Adam Greenwood on March 21, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    The fonts of the temple would be less holy if the children didn’t need to be baptized, the priesthood blessings would be much inferior if the children could do them on their own, and the sacrament altogether less of the Spirit of Christ if everyone blessed their own. Your own comment recognizes that you need to be needed, since you see the value in these ordinances where children need their elders and ward members need others to perform ordinances for them. Why then shouldn’t men need to be needed as men and as fathers? That’s the crux of the matter, which your rhetoric leaves unaddressed.

  67. Ziff on March 21, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    MC, isn’t that the wrong line of rhetoric? You’re supposed to argue that women are *more* spiritual, so they don’t *need* to lead. Or am I mixing up my chicken patriarchy and my old-fashioned patriarchy?

  68. Dave K on March 21, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Adam, Fine, I lied. Not the last comment today.

    First, obviously I’m not talking about young children receiving the priesthood. There is a degree of maturity needed. I doubt you’re suggesting this, but to be clear, women are not young children.

    Second, when women started voting men did not stop. There was simply more voting – a good thing. When women went to college men did not stop. There was simply more education – a good thing. Likewise, the priesthood is not a fixed pie. If mothers baptize their teenage children by proxy in the temple, fathers will still do the same. I’m not worried about running out of temple space or names of deceased.

    Last, “why shouldn’t men need to be needed as men and fathers?” Obviously that’s a strawman. Men will still be men and fathers in every way if women are allowed the priesthood. When my wife blesses our children, I will be there too. When my daughters bless the sacrament, they will do so with their brother sitting next to them.

    Sometimes more really is more.

  69. Kimberly on March 21, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    You can thank your penis for the fact that women being systematically shut out of the corridors of power since the beginning of time elicits a belly laugh from you rather than a wave of nausea. Because if you had a vagina and had managed to escape the trap of internalized misogyny, you wouldn’t enjoy the privilege of a hearty chuckle over an guy’s easy chair breaking it to you that your opportunities in life are circumscribed by the relative laziness of men.

  70. MC on March 21, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    “David O’McKay”

    LOL, I guess Dave is still in the St. Patrick’s Day mode, converting Scots to Irishmen.

  71. Kaimi Wenger on March 21, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    On the historical side, I refer you to OD-2.

    It was widely believed by church leaders that at no time in history, ever, had the “seed of Cain” been granted the Priesthood. (There are a number of problems with that view, but it was certainly the prevailing historical understanding among church leaders in 1978.)

    This tells us what kind of predictive value historical priesthood exclusion should offer. At no point in human history was a certain group Priesthood eligible — until they were. The switch flipped in 1978, and a history of exclusion meant nothing going forward.

  72. MC on March 21, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    “You’re supposed to argue that women are *more* spiritual, so they don’t *need* to lead. Or am I mixing up my chicken patriarchy and my old-fashioned patriarchy?”

    You’re onto something, although the dichotomy is more like “Palatable Patriarchy” that works for most, v. the “Patriarchy rationale that dare not speak its name.”

  73. Howard on March 21, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    LOL Great post Frank!

  74. Dave K on March 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    What, you’ve never heard of O’McKay? He’s reason everyone in Utah still says: “Whate’er Thou Are Art, Top O’ The Mornin’ To Ya”

  75. Kaimi Wenger on March 21, 2013 at 6:15 pm

    David O’McKay is most famous for inventing green jell-o.

  76. MC on March 21, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    “David O’McKay is most famous for inventing green jell-o.”

    I guess that makes the orange carrot shreds a show of unity.

  77. Howard on March 21, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Kimberly #69
    FTW

  78. Cameron N on March 21, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    If people pursue this for the right reasons, I support whatever comes of it. If they pursue it because they don’t want to be mocked and scorned, then I have less support. And since it is very difficult to discern intentions, that is why so many abstain from such discussions (and probably why they take a long time to bear fruit, pending divine approval).

    Although I am quite annoyed at the made-up excuses people give when asked about this. Perhaps more so than the uninformed non-members asking about it…

  79. Cameron N on March 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm

    @Kim 69, Luckily, the only difference between men and women these days is their genitalia. They used to have more unique things to contribute, but those have been gradually phased out. And if the Lord let the church be temporarily ‘wrong’ about blacks (as with Gentiles) for so long, if only to be merciful to the well-intentioned yet misguided until they die off, why would he not do the same with regards to this issue? Who knows, as Elder Holland said in the last press conference, ‘one miracle at a time.’

  80. John Mansfield on March 21, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    “Second, when women started voting men did not stop. There was simply more voting – a good thing. When women went to college men did not stop. There was simply more education – a good thing.”—Dave K.(#68)

    Not quite.

    “Many generations of Americans exceeded the academic attainment of their parents. That remains true, the new study finds, but only for women. As of 2008, 42 percent of women ages 25 to 34 held at least an associate’s degree, compared with 34 percent of women ages 55 to 64.

    “For men, the reverse is true. The college completion rate is 33 percent for younger men and 40 percent for older men.”—Washington Post

    As for voting it looks like 19th Century turnout of eligible voters was 70-80%, compared to below 50-60% since the 19th Amendment. Something to think about.

  81. Alison Moore Smith on March 21, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    Adam G #14:

    On a less serious note, I think there’s a body of evidence that women want to marry men who have status of some kind… the priesthood can be seen as a clever device for sidestepping all this mess by giving almost all husbands a desirable status

    You heard it here, folks. Adam G. admits that having the priesthood gives men status. (What? Not just an onerous burden and the requirement to be a bishop?)

    Apparently keeping women out is THE prime objective, because the status serves the purpose of making men far enough “above” women in the hierarchy to be desirable.

    …men’s income and prospects declining relative to women’s which seems to correlate with men being less ‘marriageable.’

    I know, right? Because rather than be at the mercy of a man for sustenance, they can actually just do it themselves! Women can work for a decent wage, buy property, and even inherit! Now that men can’t hold those things over women’s heads, what are they to do!

    But if you don’t have the priesthood as a woman, that doesn’t reflect on you personally.

    Except for that little lack of “status” thing.

  82. Sean on March 21, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    John Mansfield, #80 writes:

    “As for voting it looks like 19th Century turnout of eligible voters was 70-80%, compared to below 50-60% since the 19th Amendment. Something to think about.”

    The use of the trans-atlantic ocean liner for international travel has also has declined tremendously since the 19th Amendment, and that doughty sign of technological progress, the telegram, has completely vanished since the 19th Amendment.

    Just something to think about.

  83. Kim on March 22, 2013 at 12:55 am

    I’m with you, Tim J. The assumption that men have the priesthood because their laziness requires it is absolutely unfair, nor do i believe they would stop working if women were allowed to be their equals. Our men deserve more credit than that.

    On a semi-related topic, I always wonder what young men would do if missions were presented to them as they are to the young women–as on option, not an expectation or commandment. I suspect they would still go and would be better missionaries for it. But this is another discussion….

  84. Kaimi Wenger on March 22, 2013 at 2:17 am

    Dear easy chair, I hope you realize, I’m on your side. I only posted about women in order to spur Frank to get up off of his duff (and your steel reinforced frame) and post something to T&S. But I was shocked at how well it worked.

    Frank has been sitting on your ample cushioning, easy chair, for the past three and a half years! With nary a T&S post in sight (see http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/author/frank-mcintyre/ ). In fact, many observers feared that he was lost forever. But hallelujah, the lost blogger has returned. Truly, it’s a bloggernacle miracle.

    We can’t risk losing Frank again. Once is too often.

    I hereby commit to support Frank Reactivation through the only method proven to work — by posting more T&S discussions about women’s ordination. I hope that some of my co-bloggers will join me. We can’t risk losing Frank again, folks. If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

    Join me, brethren and sisteren.

    Write posts about women’s ordination.

    Do it for Frank.

  85. Elizabeth Mansfield on March 22, 2013 at 4:11 am

    Sean, so men are like obsolete technologies, ocean liners and telegrams, that we are very fortunate to have replaced with something better?

  86. Peter LLC on March 22, 2013 at 4:13 am

    Must I completely abandon the idea that there is something intrinsic to men that makes them better leaders for the Church? Like willingness to buck societal shaming in favor of standing steadfast in defense of the faith? Or should I yield to further shaming for raising that idea as well?

    Keep fighting the good fight, MC. It’s going to take a thin red line of ‘eroes to defend this status quo!

  87. Sean on March 22, 2013 at 9:11 am

    Elizabeth

    In answer to your question: not at all. The point of my comment is that correlation does not equal causation. John Mansfield’s comment to which I replied is an example of the “post hoc ergo propter hoc” fallacy.

  88. john roberts on March 22, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    I prefer the discussion of serious topics without the silly sarcasm and personal references. Thought I had the right blog but maybe not.

  89. Chris Z on March 22, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    MC@64:

    Must I completely abandon the idea that there is something intrinsic to men that makes them better leaders for the Church?

    Yes.

    Like willingness to buck societal shaming in favor of standing steadfast in defense of the faith?

    Guess what, MC! Women do that too, all the time. Ain’t nothing special about it when men do it, except that they start from a position of greater privilege within and greater benefit from the status quo.

    Or should I yield to further shaming for raising that idea as well?

    Yep. And you also need to work harder to have decent logic.

    Glad to help you with your questions, btw. Anything else you want to ask?

  90. Chris Z on March 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    to back up my point, MC, that there’s nothing special about “men bucking societal shaming in defense of the faith,” I’ll suggest that you check out American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us by Robert Putnam and David Campbell(2010). There’s of an extensive study the authors conducted in 2006. They that although at least 50% (at least 50%!)of all major Judeo-Christian groups in the United States–as well as 93% of both Mainline Protestants and Jews–endorse the idea of female clergy, only 30% of Mormons favor ordaining women. But guess what happens when you break that 30% by gender? It’s this: 48% of Mormon men favor giving women the priesthood, while only 10% of Mormon women want it for themselves.

    So it’s women, not men, who are standing in steadfast defense of the “faith” in this particular matter.

    IOW, there’s nothing intrinsic to men that makes them better leaders of or for the LDS church.

  91. DavidH on March 22, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    I am not so sure about the claim that ordaining women is connected to stagnant membership growth or a decline in some religions. Women have been eligible to be ministers and have been ordained in various branches of the Methodist faith since the late 1800s. Membership in that tradition did not begin its decline until 60 or 70 years later. Membership in the Episcopal church began to decline in the 1960s–but women did not become ordained, even in small numbers, until the mid-1970s. Assemblies of God and other Pentecostal groups are among the fastest growing groups in the U.S. and the Assemblies of God and many Pentecostal groups ordain women. Jehovah Witnesses have long treated men and women equal in treatment as ordained ministers–and the growth rate of Witnesses worldwide is robust. In some Muslim branches, women may serve as Imams for other women (there is no priesthood ordination in Islam) and in some limited situations for mixed gender groups. those religions are growing quite rapidly. In many mainline faith families–Baptism, Presbyterian, Lutheran, policies vary–some ordain and some do not. I am not aware of any statistical analysis tying female ordination practices to religious growth rates, but I am happy to become educated on the subject.

  92. DavidH on March 22, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    oops, a line got dropped. here is the complete post with the dropped language restored.

    I am not so sure about the claim that ordaining women is connected to stagnant membership growth or a decline in some religions. Women have been eligible to be ministers and have been ordained in various branches of the Methodist faith since the late 1800s. Membership in that tradition did not begin its decline until 60 or 70 years later. Membership in the Episcopal church began to decline in the 1960s–but women did not become ordained, even in small numbers, until the mid-1970s. Assemblies of God and other Pentecostal groups are among the fastest growing groups in the U.S. and the Assemblies of God and many Pentecostal groups ordain women. Jehovah Witnesses have long treated men and women equal in treatment as ordained ministers–and the growth rate of Witnesses worldwide is robust. In some Muslim branches, women may serve as Imams for other women (there is no priesthood ordination in Islam) and in some limited situations for mixed gender groups. The slow spread of the equivalent of female ordination in Islam does not seem to be slowing the growth of Islam. Hinduism and some branches of Buddhism ordain both men and women, and those religions are growing quite rapidly worldwide. In many mainline faith families–Baptism, Presbyterian, Lutheran, policies vary–some ordain and some do not. I am not aware of any statistical analysis tying female ordination practices to religious growth rates, but I am happy to become educated on the subject.

  93. Chris Z on March 22, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Thanks for @92, David H. I’m happy to become more educated on the points you raise. For instance, I had no idea that Methodists have been ordaining women since the 19th century. Anything you can direct me to so I can read more about that and the other facts you mention?

  94. Kiskilili on March 22, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Frank, is it your position then that if you were more righteous (less lazy, more committed to Christ’s work regardless of circumstance) you would advocate women’s ordination?

  95. Sharee on March 22, 2013 at 7:15 pm

    In spite of what we would like to see or not like to see, in spite of our opinion of men and women, we need to remember that this church is run by God, not man. If He wants women to be ordained to a priesthood, that will happen. If He doesn’t, it won’t, regardless of how much “agitation” there might be.

  96. nat kelly on March 22, 2013 at 7:22 pm

    I would just like to point out the irony in MC using “willingness to buck societal shaming” as a virtue that proves feminists wrong.

    Nope. Nope. No women leaders have ever gone through that, nuh-uh.

  97. Brad Kramer on March 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    MC,
    That awkward moment when you look down and realize that there is no difference whatsoever between what you’re writing and what a mormon-hating feminist trolling this thread would write to make defenders of an all-male priesthood sound like knuckle-dragging, un-selfconscious savages.

  98. nat kelly on March 22, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    I just really, really have to stand back and marvel at the argument Adam G. made in earnestness above.

    Basically, “Men need to maintain the Priesthood exclusively, because it’s the last way in which we’ve been allowed to maintain our feeling of automatic superiority, and if that is taken away from us, society will collapse.”

    Nobody claims childbirth is special because it is something only women can do, and it gives us something special to feel good about. It’s special(/horrific) because it creates a little tiny person! Does the Priesthood have so little going for it that it needs to be exclusive to be special/meaningful?

    Oh, but I get it, men are unhappy and struggling to find their way out of the malaise. And when life sucks, the only way to really find happiness is to subjugate others.

    I think Buddha and Jesus both said something like that. I’m pretty sure it’s one of the beatitudes….

  99. rah on March 22, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I am sure this has been said many times and in many ways but…

    Any man who needs exclusivity, control and status at the expense of women to be conjoled into priesthood service isn’t worthy of the sacred authority to act in God’s name, nor I would even argue to consider themselves a sincere disciple of Christ.

    Lamest excuse ever for disenfranchising over 50% of the Church’s population.

  100. nat kelly on March 22, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    rah FTW.

  101. MC on March 22, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    Brad,

    I do drag my knuckles, but only when I play crab soccer.

  102. RW on March 23, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Ah. You assume that the priesthood would be extended immediately and totally. You would be incorrect. A good friend of mine suggested some time ago that bishops and stake presidents could be a couple calling, for example, as could mission presidents, just like temple presidents.

    Women could be given adjunct priesthood responsibilities like blessing the sick as priestesses to their husbands. Relief Society and Young Women’s presidents could participate in the Priesthood executive committee meeting. They could serve with their husbands on the high council. An alternate quorum of the twelve could serve along side of the male quorum with some important duties, like overseeing the RS. They could serve on the correlation committees and help write the manuals for the RS and YM.

    I think there a many, many ways of implementing women’s priesthood that would take nothing away from the male priesthood, only add to it by significantly altering the perspective.

    Come on, guys, where is your imagination?

  103. john pamp on March 23, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Good ideas RW. I can see these assignments, In reality many of these responsibilities are already part of women’s role in the church often as an uncalled support for a priesthood holding husband. That is a problem for a number of very qualified faithful LDS women , the lack of a faithful worthy priesthood spouse. These assignments also is most cases do not require the priesthood but only active worthy membership.

  104. RW on March 23, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    John,

    It is doctrinal that women are priestesses to their husbands. This would be a first step, to let women into the leadership councils where decisions are made.

    However, this will never happen. Too many tradition-bound old men at the top. Too many gynophobes and misogynists in the mid-level management.

  105. Old Man on March 23, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    RW,

    Women are priestesses to their husbands, not the church.

    And nothing like calling the Brethren names to make your day, eh? Incidentally, I’ve met a large number of those “old men at the top.” I’ve failed to detect the tradition-bound ol’gynophobes and misogynists that you think exist. I have met many fine Christians.

  106. RW on March 23, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    Since I am at the tail end of this comment string, I can rant. MC says that only patriarchal churches are growing. First, the two largest and most patriarchal of churches are the Catholics and the Orthodox. They are not growing, but shrinking fast. If we are comparing ourselves to the JW and Adventists and Pentecostals, we are in a bad neighborhood. Anyway, it is not clear that we are, in fact, growing. If we are, it is not at our traditional rate of doubling every 15 years.

    We, however, are loosing the best and finest. If we were to really study the problem, it might be solvable without damaging the franchise. As it is we are trying to solve the problem by doubling down on the stuff that seems not to work.

    One of those issues which apparently could be contributing to the loss of the cream of the Church, our children, is women and the priesthood. I am sure that there is a solution to be found within the fundamental and historical doctrines of the Church which will not damage the basic franchise, i.e. will not drive men from the Church or make them second class citizens.

    This will require the use of continuing revelation. We know that God cannot reveal to us things for which we have no foundation. Therefore the history and psychology of the leadership of the Church makes it difficult to obtain certain necessary revelations, the key must fit the lock. As mentioned above, the Church apparently does not change unless external forces become so great that change is the only possible course of action, see the Manifesto and the priesthood and Blacks issue. It would be so refreshing that someone sitting on the chair of Joseph Smith would have the gift to presage the problems instead of following them.

  107. RW on March 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    Old Man,

    I called the old men at the top “traditionalists.” The middle management has “has too many gynophobes and misogynist.” You misread my statement.

  108. RW on March 23, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Anyway, gynophobes and misogynists can be good Christians, apparently. What do you call a person who will not give a woman stranded at church a ride home?

  109. RW on March 23, 2013 at 10:47 pm

    Old Man,

    Lastly I stated that women were Priestesses to their husbands and could serve in that capacity to help them in their calling.

  110. RW on March 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    Again, at the tail end of this thread. Priestesses to their husbands does not equate to slave. Some of the people here think that a woman who is a Priestess should be at home making dinner, bathing the kids, waiting for their man to sooth his fevered brow. That is a narrow view of what a Priestess is. To my mind a Priestess stands at the alter with her hands upraised in communion with God. A man and woman, Priest and Priestess, are united in a common cause, bound by love. If there is any rank among them it is by the prerogatives of love and concern.

    I realize I am talking about a Celestial relationship which may only rarely blossom on this earth. But what an example that would be if such a couple could be called to joint presidency of some part of this Church.

  111. Old Man on March 24, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Hi RW,

    It is obvious to me that you have no idea what the “old men at the top” are really like. You are attempting to steady the ark and assuming that there is no revelation sought by them on issues related to membership retention and church growth. That is pretty heavy criticism based upon no experience or evidence. You have obviously seen or had one bad experience (comment #108) with local leadership through which you are coloring the leadership of the church. Please calm down.

    This old man advises that we all stop trying to micromanage the revelatory process. Let’s allow God to speak to the leadership (male and female). Women have a different role in today’s world (thank heavens) then they did even a decade ago. Women sit on the major committees of the church, offering constructive criticisms and asking questions directly of the Q of 12 and First Presidency, and they have been doing so for over a decade. I was not surprised by the change in missionary ages. I would not be surprised to see changing opportunities in the Church for women. I love those small revelatory steps made that perfect the Saints. And I very much doubt that we will fully see the culmination of those changes in my lifetime. Let’s just enjoy the ride… and edify each other along the way.

    This isn’t a civil rights battle. I’m getting very tired of our best youg minds judging the church so harshly. Look at what we have! Look where we are going!

  112. Chris Z on March 24, 2013 at 3:26 pm

    @111;

    This isn’t a civil rights battle.

    No. It’s a battle over the way women are systemically devalued and ignored and made profoundly unhappy and asked to suffer and sacrifice in ways men are not by an institution that claims to offer them joy and salvation.

    Women are saying to themselves, “If this is what I’ve got to look forward to, not just for this life but all eternity, what the heck am I doing? Seriously? This is the best you can offer me?” And then they’re either saying, “Change things or I’m out of here” or they’re just leaving.

    I’m starting to think that the business about polygamy being required because there being a surfeit of women in the celestial kingdom is nonsense, and there will actually be a dearth of them. Women don’t want what you’re currently offering.

    I’m getting very tired of our best youg minds judging the church so harshly. Look at what we have! Look where we are going!

    Well, those best young minds are getting pretty tired of being judged so harshly by its old men.

    Think about that, old man. Think really hard.

  113. Chris Z on March 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    html fail. Should be

    I’m getting very tired of our best youg minds judging the church so harshly. Look at what we have! Look where we are going!

    Well, those best young minds are getting pretty tired of being judged so harshly by its old men.

    Think about that, old man. Think really hard.

  114. Rune on March 24, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    What the heck does it actually mean to be a Priestess to one’s husband, mortal or exalted?

    Seriously, that doesn’t even make sense unless one is positioning the husband to the wife as God is to the husband.

    How does one “Priestess” to a mortal or a peer?

  115. RW on March 25, 2013 at 2:24 am

    Old Man:

    I, too am an older man who could, conceivable, be a great grandfather soon. I have had plenty of experience in my life, mostly good. My father-in-law was a regional representative before they had the new quorums of 70s. My wife and I were married by Spencer Kimball, if that gives me any street cred. I am just weary of what I said above, the Church not being in front of the issues, always trailing and getting the worst of it. This could be a long debate over lots of issues.

    About some men being worried about being alone with a woman. For some people this means that women are the source of temptation leading them away from holiness. This could be interpreted as gynophobia. I think this happens a lot in the Church, and it may be getting more pronounced with the passage of time.

    Rune:

    My wife says it “sucks” to be a priestess to anyone, particularly if it means me being God to her. I think I agree with her, knowing me. I am no replacement for God.

    So, for lack of general guidance on the subject I have to interpolate just what it means. Jesus is my Priest who wants me to be good, gives me opportunities and loves me. He does not want me to be his slave, rather, I think, he wants me to use my good gifts to accomplish good in the world. He does not force me to be anything. He is patient. He has not raised his voice to me. With me he is a little ironic and has, on occasion, made me laugh at myself. If I am to be her Priest then that is my model.

    If I am to be priest to her priestess, then it seems that she can, in like and identical manner be priestess to my priest. I think that the relationship can and should be symmetrical, particularly if Jesus is her model for being a priestess.

    When my poor wife says she promises to obey me as I obey God, I think about symmetry, particularly when God talks to her for me. Then I need to listen to her and obey.

    I am old enough to know what one heart and one mind sort of feel like. I have had, successively, two very accomplished women as spouses, whom I have loved and love, even yet. My wife and I are at the point where we know what the other is thinking. “If ye are not one, ye are not mine.” This applies particularly to spouses.

    I feel deeply honored that she would agree to be my Priestess but would die of embarrassment if I found her in any sense worshipful. I trust her judgement in most things more than I trust my own. I work very hard to be worthy of that honor.

    I trust Joseph’s comment about the priesthood not being used for coercion. I have found that the bonds of love are much stronger than any others. The bonds of love are symmetric.

  116. Ms. Jack on March 25, 2013 at 10:56 am

    MC’s #6 is just ignorant. There are plenty of denominations with female clergy that are growing or at least holding steady (i.e. not in decline), and plenty of denominations with all-male clergy that are shrinking. Besides, despite its much-vaunted self-reported membership growth numbers, an ambitious missionary program, and a theology that emphasizes having large families, surveys from groups like Pew and CUNY usually show that the LDS church is barely keeping up with the population growth as is. All-male clergy doesn’t seem to be helping much.

    Here are five denominations that ordain women that are growing:

    ~ Assemblies of God (this group started in 1919 with a couple hundred members, and now has 57-60 million members worldwide. Remember that next time you want to brag about having 14-15 million members when your church is 89 years older than theirs.)
    ~ Evangelical Covenant Church (my denomination)
    ~ International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (a denomination founded by a woman. How risible.)
    ~ Evangelical Presbyterian Church
    ~ Church of the Nazarene

    I’m not claiming that all of these churches are havens for female pastors and priests; some of them opened up ordination to women long ago, but still have some indirect ways of discouraging women from serving. Likewise, there are denominations that technically don’t ordain women but which accord them with very prominent leadership roles elsewhere, and not just over other women and children.

    In contrast, the Southern Baptist Convention has always been a stalwart against ordaining women, and they’re hemorrhaging members like crazy. The Jehovah’s Witnesses are growing rapidly and they’re pretty backwards on gender roles (translation: no, they don’t ordain women), but their gender ratio is absolutely terrible at 40-60 male-female.

    Sorry, but there is no hard evidence that men would abandon the LDS church or that the church would go into decline, Frank’s hilarious OP not withstanding. There is just no correlation whatsoever between ordaining women and losing men, or refusing to ordain women and keeping men. According to Pew, the U.S. LDS male-female gender ratio is already kind of sucky at 44-50 (compared to 47-53 for evangelicals and 46-54 for Catholics, Orthodox, and those contemptible mainline denominations that almost entirely ordain women, 48-52 for the entire population), so it’s unlikely that female ordination could hurt that further.

    (That’s not the participation ratio, of course, which is what matters, but I’ve never been able to find hard data on the gender participation ratio. Using the overall member ratio as an approximate is the best I’ve got.)

  117. Julie M. Smith on March 25, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Ms. Jack:

    “LDS male-female gender ratio is already kind of sucky at 44-50″

    I’m afraid to ask, but what are the other 6% of LDS?!?

  118. Justin Snyder on April 18, 2013 at 7:33 am

    Ordaining women to the Priesthood is not a decision we can make on earth. It is God and Christ’s. They have made their decision and it follows eternal principles. The real motive behind those women that want to be deacons, teachers and priests, etc. is not actually equality. It’s power. They want control. Christ was our Savior and he is a male. Women might go so far to say, why can’t it have been a female Savior? A women would want to die for the sins of the world. You see how ridiculous that argument is? Men and Women are different in many ways, but equal in that their roles are no more important than the other. Accept that fact. It’s God and Christ’s decision and they have made it. To not accept their decision (remember, the priesthood was restored by Heavenly messengers under the direction of God and Christ) is to fight against God and Christ. If women truly believe in the church and it’s revelation by God, they will accept that Priesthood offices are a man’s role. Simple as that.

  119. Justin Snyder on April 18, 2013 at 7:37 am

    Also, comparing principles within a church other than the LDS church is like comparing God with Satan. Totally opposite ends of the spectrum. What happens within a false church has no influence on what Christ does in HIS TRUE church. So it doesn’t really matter if every other church began to ordain women. They are not the true church, therefore it doesn’t matter what they do. It is the TRUTH and Christ’s TRUE church that matters.

  120. Justin Snyder on April 18, 2013 at 7:55 am

    So, once again I state that if you truly have a testimony of the church and have felt the Holy Ghost, you will know that it is lead by revelation. If you don’t accept that the priesthood is a male function, then you are going against what God has chosen. Agitation, as some have claimed, will not change anything. It is nowhere near the same thing as black receiving the priesthood. The prophet is the one who prayed to have that done (President Spencer W. Kimball) and the Lord chose to reveal what he did. Giving the priesthood to other males that the Lord sees fit in time to give it to, is not the same as wanting women to have it. It simply isn’t comparable.

    Women on this site that are lobbying to get the priesthood are defying the authority of the priesthood that the Prophet has. Defying the prophet’s formal counsel under the direction of the Holy Ghost is the same as defying God himself. When any prophet, seer or revelator speaks with the influence of the Holy Ghost, it is God’s will. To question God brings condemnation upon those who choose to question him. God loves each of us, but he knows more than each of us. He knows what the eternal principles are and he won’t violate them or he would no longer be a God. Accept God’s will and do the best you can to become like him within the organization he as determined for women. That is the Relief Society. Pushing to have that change will only bring frustration, disappointment and could lead a woman away from the true church. Satan desires to sift you and draw you away. If he can do that by getting you to be dissatisfied with your role in the Relief Society, he will. Satan will use anything he can to draw you away and cause you to fall. If you choose to let that happen, your life will become miserable. I counsel you to not let that happen. Priesthood is a man’s role and the blessings of that priesthood extend to all individuals on earth. However, it is a role that men preside in and that is how it is. Accept it and work on becoming more like the Savior.

  121. Justin Snyder on April 18, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Gordon B. Hinckley, prior President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said:

    “Women do not hold the priesthood because the Lord has put it that way. It is part of His program. Women have a very prominent place in this Church. Men hold the priesthood offices of the Church. But women have a tremendous place in this Church. They have their own organization. It was started in 1842 by the Prophet Joseph Smith, called the Relief Society, because its initial purpose was to administer help to those in need. It has grown to be, I think, the largest women’s organization in the world… They have their own offices, their own presidency, their own board. That reaches down to the smallest unit of the Church everywhere in the world…

    “The men hold the priesthood, yes. But my wife is my companion. In this Church the man neither walks ahead of his wife nor behind his wife but at her side. They are co-equals in this life in a great enterprise.”

  122. Justin Snyder on April 18, 2013 at 8:15 am

    Once again, when a prophet speaks with the influence of the Holy Ghost, it is God’s will. President Hinkley, a recent prophet, explained why women don’t have the priesthood. To defy that counsel is to defy what the Lord has chosen. Do you trust the Lord or don’t you? Remember, the Lord doesn’t make mistakes. He knows what is best. Are you going to trust him or are you going to continue to bother him about the matter? Remember when Joseph Smith didn’t like the answer given him about the 118 pages of manuscript translated from the Golden plates? Joseph continued to bother the Lord and it ended up causing trouble. However, God and Christ knew Joseph’s weakness far ahead of time and prepared a second set of plates. Please, accept God’s will regarding the priesthood. He has chosen men to hold that for the blessing of others. Accept it and embrace it. Work on your own spiritual progress and trust in the Lord. To do otherwise is to let the influence of the devil take control of your life.

  123. Mtnmarty on April 18, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    Justin,

    Do you believe Satan wants women to have the Priesthood or just that he wants women to want to have the Priesthood?

    Thanks.

  124. Justin Snyder on April 18, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Mtnmarty,

    It’s not what I believe, it’s what I know. Satan wants to make people go against the church. He will use your own desire for greed, power or other uncontrolled emotions/appetites to draw you away from the truth. If he can get you to dislike not having the priesthood as a woman and then lead you into further unforbidden paths, he will do so. Satan’s whole goal is to fight against God and destroy his children. He is angry at God for being cast out and not being chosen as the Savior. Satan isn’t really concerned with what is best for you. His whole goal is to do anything to make you fall and be miserable. I hope that satisfies you as an answer to your question.

  125. Justin Snyder on April 19, 2013 at 7:49 am

    Oh and I meant forbidden paths. Satan seeks to use disatisfaction to draw one away. To become disatisfied with your role as a woman can lead to greater sins over time. Satan will do all he can to see that happen. Are you going to let him?

  126. Justin Snyder on April 19, 2013 at 7:52 am

    I counsel all women who read this to consider whether they really have a testimony of the church. Do you believe the prophet receives revelation? Do you believe in your own ability to get confirmation from the Holy Ghost? If so, take your question about the priesthood for women to the Lord. If you are prepared, worthy and he sees fit to do so, he will answer you. That’s how you can know what is right. I counsel you to do that.

  127. Julie M. Smith on April 19, 2013 at 10:13 am

    Justin Snyder, I suspect that if you had been here a month ago, you would have been calling us followers of Satan for thinking that it would be really nice if a woman could pray in General Conference.

  128. Adam Greenwood on April 19, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    I think its about equally charming to imply that people are followers of Satan and to accuse them of denouncing whomever the prophets happened to have pray in General Conference (which is much the same thing, come to think of it).

  129. Steve Smith on April 19, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    “I counsel all women who read this to consider whether they really have a testimony of the church. Do you believe the prophet receives revelation? Do you believe in your own ability to get confirmation from the Holy Ghost? If so, take your question about the priesthood for women to the Lord. If you are prepared, worthy and he sees fit to do so, he will answer you. That’s how you can know what is right. I counsel you to do that.”

    I’m confused. Couldn’t someone have a testimony of the church, believe the prophet receives revelation, believe in their own ability to receive confirmation from the Holy Ghost, take their question before the Lord, and still believe that women should hold the priesthood? Couldn’t someone claim to have received a personal revelation that that should be? Would there be anyway to know that they were wrong?

  130. John L on April 19, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Justin, it’s pretty easy for us men to sit back and tell women to mind their place, and not be uppity. It is not unreasonable for women (and those of us who care about women) to hope that the Prophet receives revelation on this topic. The prophets only received revelation on polygamy and all races receiving the priesthood after asking.

  131. Steve Smith on April 19, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Julie wasn’t accusing Justin of denouncing the ladies called on by the brethren to pray in conference. Nice try Adam. You’re whole notion that liberal Mormons are as irrational as ultra conservative Mormons once again proves to be a false equivalence.

  132. Warorpeace on April 20, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    This is a very unedifying discussion. I think I will stop reading the bloggernacle for a while.

  133. Glenn Smith on April 20, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Those who want sisters to hold the priesthood need only supplicate one Man, and He isn’t Thomas S Monson. If and when He agrees, it will happen.

  134. Kaimi Wenger on April 20, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    As an Admin reminder, I refer to our comment policy (available at http://timesandseasons.org/index.php/comment-policies/ ), in particular the portion that reads:

    2. As a general matter, Times and Seasons is a forum for believing members or for others who are willing to respect members’ beliefs. Commenters do not need to believe in the Church, but comments that suggest that all believers are per se unintelligent or uninformed are not welcome.

    3. On the flip side, it is also unacceptable to call into question a commenter’s personal righteousness.

    Commenters on this and other threads should remember to follow the T&S comment policy. Thank you!

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