On the Efficacy of Kicking Up a Fuss

March 23, 2013 | 70 comments

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.

70 Responses to On the Efficacy of Kicking Up a Fuss

  1. Adam Greenwood on March 23, 2013 at 11:11 am

    FYI, I’m going to stay out of the comments to this post for good and sufficient reasons.

  2. Nancy Ross on March 23, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Scholarship is a form of activism. I certainly view scholarly talks that I will give this year as activism.

  3. Exponent II April on March 23, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Adam, I appreciate your intention to be a “sage advisor” but your mack of practise is apparent. It would be more sage not to attribute outlandish motives and goals to other people. Can you please cite your sources for any unisex modesty standards or 50/50 quota or fixed rotation proposals? This is the first I have heard of them.

  4. Ken on March 23, 2013 at 11:45 am
  5. Exponent II April on March 23, 2013 at 11:48 am

    *lack of practise

  6. Chris Z on March 23, 2013 at 11:56 am

    Adam, how old are you?

    there were all sorts of protests over the exclusion of black men from the priesthood, both within and without of the church. Some of it was mediated through BYU sports, with both individual players and at least one university (Stanford) refusing to play BYU as long as the church was so overtly racist. Some of it was members picketing temple square. I know people who did that.

    You might not be old enough or have been paying enough attention no matter how old you were in the 1960s and 1970s to be aware that there were extensive protests over race, but there most definitely were.

    And given that there were many forms of protest asking for precisely the change the church ended up making, it seems reasonable to assume that it had some influence, even if, as I assume you would want to content, it was not the only cause.

  7. Chris Z on March 23, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    want to contend. typos abound this morning.

  8. nat kelly on March 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    “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.”

    Um. Nope. You have clearly never been a member seeking change in the church. I see much more spiritual danger in the dishonesty required of myself to go along with practices that I think directly contradict God’s will. I see a lot more spiritual danger in ignoring my own conscience.

    I appreciate what appears to be a sincere effort to try to understand where other people are coming from, though (even if the intent of that attempt to understand was to point out again how wrong we are in what we are doing).

  9. Howard on March 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    …spiritual dangers to being an activist trying to push the Church.. What are they? Were they faced by Zelophehad’s daughters when they approached Moses? if not, why not?

    How confident are you that Mormon activists made the difference in ending the priesthood ban?. I am highly confident given the error that existed since Brigham, given President Kimball’s admitted bias and given the work required to actually receive the OD2 revelation that it was not coming without pressure from outside the brethren. When we wait on our prophets we get a change in missionary age…and what else do we get?

    Scholarship on the unisex priesthood is nothing like so clear.. Something wrong with asking God?

  10. john pamp on March 23, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    I think the question to Adam might be where did you live during the 1960 1970? The majority of active protests were not centered in the mountain west. Some of the international concerns about the black priesthood ban were addressed by the author. I personally can not see that the two issues, black and the priesthood and women and the priesthood are equal. Women and the priesthood may be the current protest but I do not see that it has the international issues of the black and the priesthood issue nor the There are so may side issues with women being given the priesthood that have to be address. line upon line , without haste seems to be the Lord’s way.

  11. Chris on March 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm

    I celebrated the day blacks were given the priesthood, yet because I am not black, I know I cannot fully understand the marginalization, lack of respect, and downright discrimination that the Church leaders and some members showed them. It was so intrinsic in our culture and theology that we bought into the lies that blacks were fence-sitters, seed of Cain, and other falsehoods.

    I long for the day when women are treated as equals in the Church, whether they receive the priesthood or not. I have served in Church leadership for years and have experienced and observed the marginalization, lack of respect and downright discrimination that Church leaders show women. They have no real voice in the Church. They are subservient in every way, following the dictates of men with little opportunity to be really heard.

    Many women work like slaves in their callings, following the dictates and whims of their priesthood leaders to a fault. When women go before a priesthood council, there are no women to support or comfort them. I know several women, survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by Church leaders, who have been excommunicated while their leaders continue to serve in positions of responsibility. When a woman like Lavina Fielding Anderson attempts to document ecclesiastical abuse, she is excommunicated. Faithfully attending Church each week, her ecclesiastical leaders refuse to allow her to be reinstated in the Church unless she declares that Church apostles are infallible.

    We have a big problem in the Church because no one is listening to women, including the writers of this blog. You are speaking about us as though we lack intelligence, insight, and capability. I am a faithful, temple attending woman, and I am praying for the day when Church leaders will follow the example of the Savior, who loved, valued, and honored women. The patriarchal culture of our Church does not encourage or support treating women as equals. We are supposed to be baby-making, housecleaning servants who follow the dictates of our husbands and Church leaders without complaint.

    I treat hundreds of women who have had complete mental breakdowns because of the abuse of their active Church leaders and/or husbands. A statistically disproportionate number of LDS women are depressed, taking antidepressants, and are suicidal. Church leaders need to open their eyes and recognize that a serious problem exists. Blog posts like this does not enlighten anyone but promotes the stereotype that women are second-class citizens and have no right to speak up for justice, equality, or respect.

    I have not met anyone who wants 50/50 gender quotas in the Quorum of the Twelve. I personally could care less whether or not women receive the priesthood, but I long for the day when women are treated as coequals with men. There are absolute risks to being an activist in the Church. We are threatened with excommunication. I have been. For that behavior, the men in the Church will some day have to answer for their abusive behavior. My conscience is clear. I have sustained the brethren to the best of my ability, been a dutiful wife, mother, and member, and have spoken up for truth and fairness. I have no regrets.

  12. Frank Pellett on March 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    I think there’s a problem in assuming intent and the method used for seeking change in the Church. We tend to project the methods of “the world” onto the Church. For example, change in “the world” tends to happen through the direct or indirect use of force. Change in the Church is by the gospel, or Christs, standard, using patience, longsuffering, and love.

    The Pants movement wasn’t about making everything unisex. There was no desire to have men wear dresses. Sure, for some, it was about the desire to have everything absoltely the same between men and women, but for many it was about making others feel welcome in Sacrament meeting without sending them away (sometimes with harsh words) because they came without what we consider “proper” clothing. (Note: I did not participate in this by wearing purple, as I dont consider Sacrament meeting the place to protest, but I am glad it brought attention to stories of those we pushed away from the Church with our judgements about what they wear.)

    As members of this Church, we should be the first ones looking for change – not just any change, but progress. No less than two of the Articles of Faith declare that we hope for more than we currently have. We can help that through two ways, helping to clear away stumbling blocks (Pants movement, the “unclean” baptistry movement), or by making suggestions and trying new ideas that can help us all progress (Primary, YM/YW programs, Let Women Pray).

    We’ll progress, like it or not. Calling names and declaring people apostate for their loving attempts to help the Church progress helps no one.

  13. bryanj on March 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    Is this an early April Fools post?

  14. Alison Moore Smith on March 23, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Is a hit and run tantrum really your best attempt at “the sage old adviser mantle,” Adam? God help us if there are many men in the church so tedious and stultifying.

  15. dankrist on March 23, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    This was … patronizing.

    Even the title. Feel unequal? Have demonstrable evidence of such inequality from the individually targeted micro-aggressions right on up to the systemic disenfranchisement? Yeesh. Why are you “kicking up a fuss” ladies (and gents)? So emotional.

    Needless to say, this activist wasn’t impressed by the advice proffered by someone with no activist background of any kind, only a cursory understanding of institutional dynamics and change theory, and a heaping backpack of privilege.

    A good editor could have saved you some time: Sit down and sit quietly until we get to you. It’s still not the ladies’ turn.

  16. Fran on March 23, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Reading this post feels a little like opening the New York Times (or other respectable news paper) and reading an article that should have been in the National Enquirer…

  17. Mark Brown on March 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm


    I guess I missed your post about people kicking up a fuss and opposing church leadership when the Utah Eagle Forum took out full-page ads in the newspaper last year in criticism of the church’s stance on undocumented immigration. (If I am remembering correctly, you also had a few snotty things to say about it on your personal blog.)If you wrote one, please let me know where I can find it. If you didn’t write one, maybe you could explain why that was different from the Pants Day movement.

  18. Jeff Hoyt on March 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you Adam. I always enjoy your comments. While the responses are predictable, tomorrow is Sunday and then we can be edified by a much more representative sample of LDS thought.

  19. Mark Brown on March 23, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    “This is just garden-variety human folly, and being as prone to it as you are, I have no advice to give.”

    Adam, I just noticed this sentence on a 2nd reading.

    I give you credit for acknowledging this.

  20. G* on March 23, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Dear lord. We not only get told what we think and feel (because heaven know we can’t possibly understand our own lives and experiences), but then get lectured for throwing a tantrum when we ought to know better. Dude, even Fascinating Womanhood is cool with little silly women stomping their feet to influence things. Adam Greenwood, less progressive than Fascinating Womanhood.

  21. Kent Larsen on March 23, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    FWIW, my own take on the “wear pants to Church day” was that it was more about changing the attitudes of Church members and culture around the Church than getting Apostles to change doctrine.

    Adam is, I think, being overly critical about a group that is far from uniform in its thinking.

  22. Kaimi Wenger on March 23, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    Well, you’ve certainly made an interesting set of statements recently, which might be viewed as crossing lines of civil discourse and basic decency.

    Let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds.

  23. Rachel Whipple on March 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    I guess it would be better for me to leave the Church than ever dare to disagree with American Mormon cultural practices. Or it would be if Brother Greenwood were the person I’d have to go to to get my ecclesiastical endorsement signed.

  24. MDearest on March 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    I feel like my church experience has turned bipolar lately. Some days I’m so excited at the prospect of women (and men too) being their best selves at church — grownups even! — and then other days I see how unlikely it is to move/change this mountain/attitude with little faith and zero understanding by so much of the church. Zion will truly take a miracle, but in the meantime, I fear that the church is doomed to suffer some very rough times.

  25. MDearest on March 23, 2013 at 5:49 pm

    Major Kudos to y’all at T&S, however, for having the stones, as it were, to actually *talk about it openly.*

  26. Yet Another John on March 23, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    It’s good to see Adam back and be reminded that criticizing the geriatric male leadership of the church and the patriarchal attitudes of many of its members is far preferable and tolerable than criticizing the denizens of the bloggernacle.

  27. Dave K. on March 23, 2013 at 8:31 pm

    The racial and gender priesthood bans have many overlaps but also important differences. Perhaps the most well known difference is that the racial ban was seen as temporary. Our doctrine expressed that the ban would be lifted at some point in the future. We have no such assurance for the gender ban.

    However, what is less well remembered is that the racial ban had a floor in addition to a ceiling. Our doctrine was that no cursed man could be offered the priesthood until all uncursed men had been given a chance. See the 1949 FP Statement. For that reason, blacks would never get the priesthood in this life. That was our doctrine. It was preached by the FP and apostles. In the end it proved false. Black men were given the priesthood before my white son was even born.

    So, while we do not have a doctrinal ceiling for the gender ban, we also are not handicapped by a doctrinal floor. In that important way, ending the gender ban will be less challenging than ending the racial ban. There will be no crow to eat. The ban was just policy all along.

  28. Unknown on March 23, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    The activists have another justification with which they use to assuage themselves. That is that they are somehow fulfilling a spiritual purpose by “agitating” so that the brethren will “seek and knock”. In doing so they take President Hinckley’s comment out of context and fail to recognize how presumptuous it is for them to tell those they supposedly sustain as prophets, seers and revelators what the should be praying for.

  29. Hannah Wheelwright on March 23, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    “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.”

    I can no more prove you flatly false than you can prove yourself remotely true. But I’ll still claim that there is indeed a “large” body of people, particularly women, who see the church as being far behind the times for denying ordination to women and refuse to join because of it.

  30. John C. on March 23, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    FWIW, I read Adam’s goofball paragraph as a reductio ad absurdum of his perceived beliefs (ala AMS’s post). I believe he was poking fun at himself and his movement. I’m skeptical that we getting a momentary glimpse into the dark pit that serves as his soul.

    So, in a shaky, broken, human way, Adam is asking folks to be careful because he is worried about a return of September Six-ishness in the church. I don’t think he is trying to silence the hurt, rather he is trying to spare further hurt. Or, if you prefer, you could just consider him a jerk.

  31. Wheat Woman on March 23, 2013 at 11:40 pm

    Oh, Adam. You are a silly little man.

  32. Aaron on March 24, 2013 at 7:19 am

    To say nothing is changed in the church because of ideas, emotions, frustrations etc. percolating up from the humble masses of members is silly. Church history is full of such changes — even the Word of Wisdom. So there is a little bit of democracy at work. But just like in our national government, not everything the outspoken want is a good idea. Casual attire in the temple, for example, cannot possibly be good for anyone.

  33. Jim Cobabe on March 24, 2013 at 8:53 am

    Sorry Adam, but I’m afraid all the objections being voiced are absolutely right. The bloggernacle seems to have become completely obsessed with this sort of thing.

    I suggest starting a counter movement, just as a measured response. We should start a MEN’S group — to wear PANTS to Church! What a radical protest, just imagine what a wave of interest it will generate! The patriarchy will be forced to finally acknowledge us. All the popular media will send reporters to do exclusive interviews!

  34. gimperville on March 24, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Adam is like the poor lost souls who leave the church but just can’t leave it alone. He resigns, but can’t help but come back to try and stir up trouble.

  35. Jim Cobabe on March 24, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Adam, as an expression of my protest against almost everything in general, I’m planning to finish my home teaching assignment today! After I WEAR PANTS TO CHURCH! That oughta really show ‘em — I mean business!

  36. annegb on March 24, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Adam! When did you come back? Dang, I am behind the times.

    I thought the pants deal was dumb, too. Heck, women wear pants in my ward fairly regularly. I think the letter writing about women praying in conference was done right.

    I agree with mommie dearest. My personalities are all mixed up about Mormon feminism.

  37. Doug G. on March 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    Good comment Chris, but the women of our church need to do more than wear pants. Yesterday, a former high councilman from our ward was sustained as Sunday School President. Two years ago he was disciplined for having an affair with a Stake Young Women’s Councilor (she had blown the whistle). Later it came out he had also had sex with one of our young women, a 16 year old. His church attendance since then has been about 50%, because he is an avid triathlete. I was the lone discenting signatory. Our Bishop – from the pulpit – said, “I have noted your objection Brother G. and will talk with you afterward.” The former Stake YW Councilor is still under discipline. The young woman in question was disciplined and the perpetrator gave her enough money to move to another country.
    This would have been a concrete opportunity for the women of our ward to make a statement during the sustaining. Not one hand went up. I’m boggled.

  38. Chris Z on March 24, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    @37: that is indeed boggling, and sickening. Thank you for your dissent.

  39. nat kelly on March 24, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    Doug G., #37.

    Ugh. I should not have read that story.

  40. Exponent II April on March 24, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    That story is horrible, Doug G. Disciplining a teenage victim of statutory rape? That is a symptom of rape culture, which best thrives in communities where women are of lower status than men. And forgiving a male adulterer who did not voluntarily confess because he is needed to fill a calling while his repentant female partner in sin remains under discipline? A logical, yet completely unjust result of the fact that so few callings are reserved to women but so many require priesthood holders. We need to exercise leniency toward priesthood holders to staff the church but we can afford to be harder on women; we don’t need very many of them to keep the church running. This example actually supports Adam’s point that as a woman, I put myself at risk by advocating for change. Because of my low status and ineligibility for priesthood callings, I am vulnerable to disciplne and easily replaced by any of the other underutilized women in my ward.

  41. stacey on March 24, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    Another boring, poorly written piece from Adam.

  42. Jim Cobabe on March 24, 2013 at 6:36 pm

    Thanks for bringing this up, Adam. I called a Facebook event today for all the men to wear pants to Church, and I must say, the overwhelming positive response was just gratifying. My heart thrilled to see every man present, proudly wearing his pants, for all to see! I can hardly imagine how the brethren can ignore such a massive show of force. While I did not notice any news media present, I’m almost sure that they were monitoring the success of this momentous occasion from the outside. I’m anxiously watching the news coverage to see how much air time we get.

  43. Wheat Woman on March 24, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    I get it now! Pantsgate was a weak symbolic gesture! Wearing pants to show you want equality for women is lame! A good way to shut down these petty little women is to vilify or mock them! And yet…in my children’s school cafeteria, it’s not uncommon for violent fights to break out between girls who wear veils and girls who don’t. From outside the Muslim community, it seems ridiculous that women can be bullied into covering their hair and neck. How is it done? Any LDS woman can tell you.

  44. Cameron N on March 24, 2013 at 9:20 pm

    Wheat Woman – do you think it’s presumptuous to assert that all burka wearing women are bullied into wearing it? Honest question. Also, I’m not sure how an LDS woman can tell you they are bullied into covering their hair and neck. None that I see do. If anything, most women (young and old) in the last few wards I’ve been in, in Utah Valley and San Diego, are treated with a very laissez-faire attitude towards their level of modesty.

  45. Seth R. on March 24, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    There’s pretty much zero evidence that any of the race protests in the 1960s made any difference on LDS policy regarding the status of blacks in the church. By 1978, those protests had blown over and the LDS Church hadn’t been the subject of protests for many years. Most people had written the LDS Church off as a bad job by 1978 and there was little, if any pressure on the LDS Church to change its race policies.

    I agree with Adam – the change on the racial ban was more due to the impossibility of enforcing it in places like Brazil than anything else.

    Whether this is a good parallel for the gender controversy remains to be seen.

  46. Nate Oman on March 25, 2013 at 7:08 am

    I don’t agree with a bunch of what Adam has written here, but anyone who cannot appreciate the play of his hyperbole, irony, and invective is a sanctimonious and passive aggressive nitwit.

  47. Jim Cobabe on March 25, 2013 at 8:14 am

    Nate, there’s a lot of that going around, isn’t there?

    We had such a succesful campaign this week that I’m thinking to carry it over even further on Easter. We will extend the protest to LDS men WEARING PANTS AND SHIRTS! Perhaps if our participants are bold enough, some of us will even venture into wearing SHOES! Just imagine the impressive show if solidarity it will be!

    Some have suggested that we perhaps should wear NECKTIES even, to sort of seal the deal, but I am reluctant to carry things to such an extreme.

  48. Ms. Jack on March 25, 2013 at 9:28 am

    I agree with Adam Greenwood. The church only receives “revelations” for major policy changes when such changes are necessary, practical, or convenient: saving the church from being dismantled by the U. S. government by ending polygamy, sorting out the mess with mixed black races in Brazil by giving blacks the priesthood, etc. Calling on God’s one true church to stop discriminating against women because it’s the right thing to do is a parochial and myopic view, divorced from the reality that is LDS church history.

    High five, bro!

    P. S. — You can leave Times & Seasons, but you can’t leave Times & Seasons alone…

  49. Howard on March 25, 2013 at 9:31 am

    Sure Seth R. 100 years of revelatory drought on the subject between Brigham and the Civil Rights movement but it had no influence in extracting the church from the racial dark ages in 1978! Very convincing!

  50. Steve Smith on March 25, 2013 at 10:04 am

    Wait, was this post intended as a joke? You “Protest Pants people.” Seriously?

  51. Peter LLC on March 25, 2013 at 10:19 am

    Um, Nate, hyperbole, irony, and invective are all time-tested arrows in the passive aggressor’s quiver.

  52. Nate Oman on March 25, 2013 at 10:22 am

    Peter LLC: Irony is a weapon of the passive aggressive, hyperbol and invective seldom are. I just love the verve of Adam’s prose even when I disagree with him. I think that he is unfair and uncharitable toward those with whom he disagrees. On the other hand, I think that those with whom he disagrees are frequently unfair and uncharitable with considerably less style.

  53. Mtnmarty on March 25, 2013 at 10:40 am

    All of Adam’s style is just lipstick on the pig of “Shut up because you are wrong and you won’t make a difference anyway.”

    If these testosterone authoritarians had any real style or cajones they would say, “Kick up the biggest fuss you can because the more you talk the more obvious it is that you are wrong and the fact that you will get exactly nowhere with changing things just builds my faith in the power of the Priesthood to stand steadfast in the face of error.”

    But, they don’t say that. They just bully, pull rank, try to intimidate, whine, use scare tactics, play dirty and all the rest. Makes me think they are are worried.

    They can’t even see that the real feminism that matters isn’t even equality feminism, its female power feminism. Real feminists don’t want equality, they want power and its power that they will get.

    Nietzche said it best “When you see something falling, push.”

  54. Brian on March 25, 2013 at 10:59 am

    Adam, we are kindred spirits. The responses to your post finally confirmed what I’ve been fearing for the past few years of being a T&S prowler – this blog has been overtaken by leftist zealots whose greatest desire is for change, right or wrong be damned.

  55. J. Madson on March 25, 2013 at 11:02 am

    careful Adam, you’re male privilege is showing

  56. J. Madson on March 25, 2013 at 11:02 am

    careful Adam, your male privilege is showing

  57. Mtnmarty on March 25, 2013 at 11:12 am

    In trying to find the root of the argument here and identify potential ways to move forward, I re-read the proclamation on the family. This seems to me the closest thing we have to recent revelation. At a minimum it summed up LDS doctrine as of the date it was issued.

    I would basically sum up its message as “God created and supports separate but equal.” The conflict becomes because it is pretty darn hard to make sense of separate but equal and separate but equal in other contexts is morally suspect.

    So, where is the equal in the Proclamation. Well, it says “…,fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners.” and it implies it with “All human beings—male and female—are created in the image of God.”

    But where does the separate come in? In several places.

    First, this one. “Gender is an essential characteristic of individual premortal, mortal, and eternal identity and purpose.”

    Gender precedes bodily instantiation and it follows us for an eternity. That is separate in a major way. We are divided into separate genders.

    Then there is this one. “fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”

    Well, if preside means “to occupy the place of authority or control, as in an assembly or meeting.” that seems pretty separate to me.

    I won’t go into the other feminist bugaboos like the centrality of marriage as husband and wife, and the centrality of multiplying and replenishing the Earth, to God’s eternal plan.

    My point is just this. All of the people who are opposed or reluctant to call for giving women the Priesthood, seem to have Mormonism as we’ve known it on their side.

    Yes, the door is open to equality talk and potentially equality practice, but what are we Brigham is our Prophet, Pioneer Ancestors are Sacred, to make of your insinuations that they were wrong in their views towards women? Put our shoulder to the wheel of feminism?

    Why did we work so hard to oppose the equal rights amendment in the 1970′s? Were our mothers and our prophets wrong?

    Ironically, it seems so doctrinaire and logocentric (masculine) to ignore the community practices that we have been born and bred to hold with strict separation by sex (I didn’t learn the word Gender in Sunday school).

    Its practically calling for an ethnic cleansing of the Patriarchy.

    And yet the side supporting tradition are the savages?

    I’m in play, but I’m unconvinced.

  58. john f. on March 25, 2013 at 11:15 am

    Brian, it is so refreshing to see you standing up for the “right” of not allowing women to pray at General Conference! Why should they be allowed to pray? Prayers at General Conference are given by 70s — it has nothing to do with having a rule against women praying! (Except, of course, for the fact that there are no women 70s but that’s just a tangential detail.) These letter writers are subverting the Church. Wanting to pray is the first step toward apostasy. Everything should be done in secret: if you think women should be allowed to pray in General Conference, you should speak to your Bishop about it — he can make that happen. Just don’t publicly emphasize an irrational rule and ask why it has persisted for so long. If you do, you’re an agitator and an apostate. The Church will surely change on such policies without any calls for such change, right?

  59. john f. on March 25, 2013 at 11:19 am

    (Just practicing non-passive-aggressive irony, hyperbole, and invective, Nate.)

  60. Peter LLC on March 25, 2013 at 11:30 am

    True, Nate. Adam is good at what he does.

  61. Seth R. on March 25, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Howard, you seem to be ignoring entirely the problem of Brazil. The Church wasn’t in Brazil for a long time. Then it was for a while, and enforcing the racial ban there was an absolute administrative nightmare. Not to mention that the whole mess kind of exposed how unworkable and probably unfounded the ban was. A lot of reexamination was forced by the problem of preaching the gospel in Latin America – completely independently of any political climate in the United States.

    The Civil Rights movement just happened to be in the same neighborhood a decade before the ban was lifted. I see zero convincing evidence that the Civil Rights movement played a decisive role in lifting the Priesthood ban whatsoever.

    As I said – the pressure simply wasn’t there by the time 1978 rolled around.

  62. Brian on March 25, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    John F., let me clarify.

    I don’t care who prays at general conference. It’s a non-issue, IMO. Pants in church? Seriously, who cares? A woman in pants praying in general conference? Awesome. But all the calls for a unisex priesthood are disturbing. I believe this is the Lord’s church, not the church of some leftist, feminist group trying to keep up with the times. If the prophet receives a revelation granting women the priesthood, I’m okay with that. It’s the whole “The church is wrong on this issue” attitude that I only see on these blogs which is most troubling.

  63. john f. on March 25, 2013 at 2:03 pm

    So if President Monson announces a revelation granting women the priesthood, where does that leave you with your rhetoric about a “leftist, feminist group trying to keep up with the times”? Maybe many of them were simply fellow Latter-day Saints who felt like the status quo didn’t make particular doctrinal sense regardless of how the historical treatment of women influenced a different outcome in the hands of religious leaders (whether OT prophets, NT Apostles, early Church bishops, Catholic ecclesiastical/scholastic voices, nineteenth century restorationists including Mormons, or twentieth century Mormon General Authorities speaking from a particular cultural milieu) consistently in the past.

    Besides, although President Dalton mentioned that women who understand their roles and responsibilities “will see no need to lobby for rights”, the Church has expressed a conflicting view: “The Church recognizes that there have been injustices to women before the law and in society. Where specific laws or practices discriminate against women, members are counseled to work energetically for appropriate change.” (http://www.lds.org/ldsorg/v/index.jsp?vgnextoid=2354fccf2b7db010VgnVCM1000004d82620aRCRD&locale=0&sourceId=f8a4615b01a6b010VgnVCM1000004d82620a____&hideNav=1)

    Obviously, many in the Church (including Adam in this post) do not think that this injunction about working “energetically for appropriate change” refers to anything that happens internally within the Church. “Kicking up a fuss” in that context is not just ineffective but apostate (apparently).

    But is that really how we need to look at the process of revelation in the Church? If a grassroots effort to raise awareness about an issue is needed to motivate those in the relevant stewardship positions to begin making earnest petitions to God requesting inspiration or revelation on the issue, then why do we not see that as part and parcel of the revelatory process? My sense is that the reluctance to include that in our view of the process of revelation is entirely cultural and would actually appear foreign to Joseph Smith; it would seem an intrusion of twentieth century corporate cultural norms into the day to day workings of the Church bureaucracy and hence into view of how communication should be conducted with the hierarchy.

  64. J. Madson on March 25, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Brian you may wan’t to consider how your rhetoric doesn’t sound that different from one who might have said the following in the early 70′s

    “But all the calls for a uniracial priesthood are disturbing. I believe this is the Lord’s church, not the church of some leftist, communist, racial equality group trying to keep up with the times. If the prophet receives a revelation granting blacks the priesthood, I’m okay with that. It’s the whole “The church is wrong on this issue” attitude that I only see on these blogs which is most troubling.”

  65. Brian on March 25, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Let’s not get into the policy vs. doctrine debate again.

  66. nat kelly on March 26, 2013 at 11:06 am
  67. Wheat Woman on March 28, 2013 at 8:03 am

    Cameron, an honest question deserves an honest answer. I don’t believe Muslim women don’t wear a hijab because they love covering their hair and necks in 90 degree weather, and not because they think it looks attractive. They do it because that is what their culture tells them good women do. Some Muslim women buy into that, but many don’t. Many feel forced to do it so that they can be in the good women catagory. As an aside, I remember the first time a good friend of mine realized that Mormon women wear garments – she was fascinated. Incredulous, she said “You veil yourselves under your clothing?! I’m so jealous!”

  68. Mike on March 28, 2013 at 8:51 am

    I was somewhat amused by the lack of critical response to the story told in #37. My first thought was: in what country did that occur? Second: How long ago? Third: How does the writer know those things are true? Rumor?

    I recognize, of course, that such a response doesn’t help the flow of the attack on Adam’s post.

    I’ll acknowledge that the story could be true, but it sounds too ridiculous.

  69. palerobber on March 29, 2013 at 1:12 am

    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.

    translation: i know i have no case so i’m going to immediately retreat to passive aggression and concern trolling.

    i think this post is what is referred to as weaponized sour grapes.

  70. palerobber on March 29, 2013 at 1:13 am

    Don’t take the kinds of risks that can only be justified by success.

    yes, because conformity and moral abdication carries no risk whatsoever.


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