I am going to try an experiment with this post.
I am going to pretend not to be an internet street brawler. Instead, I am going to try on for size the sage old adviser mantle. This is not an accustomed role. It may take me a few sentences to get the pugilism out of my system if at all. Bear with me.
You Protest Pants people, besides the idiocy of your views on men and women, starting with mild silliness like wanting unisex clothing in church services and unisex modesty standards, then to graver mental muck-ups like the unisex priesthood all the way up to strict 50/50 gender quotas in the Quorum of the 12 with a woman President succeeding each man in the office in fixed rotation (and don’t tell me you don’t want that—if you say you don’t, I say ‘know thyself’) . . . hoo boy, that sentence reached full gallop. Let me rein in and get back to the point. Point: you Protest Pants people are probably no more illogical than the rest of us.
That being so, most of you who believe in the gospel probably admit in the privacy of your hearts that there are spiritual dangers to being an activist trying to push the Church. You probably deal with that concern in two ways. First, you acknowledge the risks in the abstract but don’t think it applies to you specifically. This is just garden-variety human folly, and being as prone to it as you are, I have no advice to give. Second, you admit the risk but think the reward is worth it. A few spiritual eggs may have been broken in getting blacks the priesthood, but who would seriously argue that the game hadn’t been worth the candle? Activism may be risky, but the morality of risks is measured by the results.
Here’s where I suggest a few points for you to consider. How confident are you that Mormon activists made the difference in ending the priesthood ban? To the extent we attribute Official Declaration 2 to temporal causes, the temporal causes seem to have been better scholarship on the origin and history of the priesthood ban, the inability of the Church to move into Africa where numerous souls waited to be saved, a general doctrinal understanding that the priesthood ban was always meant to be temporary (ending in the Millennium, perhaps),the isolation of the Church’s position when compared with other denominations, and the sheer biological problems of maintaining the ban in places like Brazil where folks mixed races with abandon (how could a mulatto be given 50% of the priesthood? How could an octoroon be denied 1/8 of the endowment? Whereas a one-drop rule one way or the other undermined the lineage basis for having the ban in the first place, which was the only basis with any scriptural ammunition). Just as with polygamy, there was also significant outside Gentile pressure.
Scholarship on the unisex priesthood is nothing like so clear. There is no large body of people experiencing religious conversions to fairly strict Christian churches like ours but who are held back by the lack of a unisex priesthood. Sex is a much more biologically stable category than race. There isn’t a whole bunch of outside pressure either—gays are the new blacks, not women. And so on. You can argue that I need to qualify some of these statements, but I don’t think you can honestly assert that they are flatly false.
Don’t take the kinds of risks that can only be justified by success.