Faithful priesthood narratives?

July 17, 2014 | 101 comments
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Forest_path_in_Yvelines_-_FranceMaybe women will be restored to their former position as a parallel priesthood organization and be granted hierarchical and cultural equality in the Church. I believe that this would be the more creative, historically contiguous, and ultimately most satisfying route. Alternatively, there is the simpler and currently more conspicuous option of merely ordaining women to the Melchizedek Priesthood. Maybe neither of these things will happen. None of us know right now.

One thing that’s become very apparent of late is that some of those who speak in opposition to women’s ecclesiastical enfranchisement do so because they can’t imagine what a faithful, coherent narrative of our dispensation could possibly look like if women’s priesthood role were restored and developed or if they did receive the Melchizedek Priesthood. I find this very troubling. To be clear, it is the inability to grasp why this is such a pressing issue or to envision what a faithful narrative of women’s priesthood could possibly be in the wake of Elder Oaks’ General Conference talk and Sis. Kelly’s excommunication – that’s what worries me.

This ought to worry all of us – including those who oppose women’s priesthood. Being trapped within one’s cultural-conceptual framework, a lack of creative socio-theological imagination, is a frequent stumbling block to God’s people (for example, see any of the standard works). But rather than spend my time on that issue, maybe it’ll be more constructive to offer different potential faithful narratives.

1. Priesthood is predicated on asking. This is the stereotypical liberal view and is often responded to with the stereotypical assertion that to think our prophets haven’t asked is either culpably naive or flatly disingenuous. A more nuanced articulation is that asking after the mysteries of godliness is not mere asking (D&C 9:7). Rather, asking takes genuine study, reflection, and collective sanctification, sometimes over a long period of time. Consequently it is no surprise that an answer has not come as soon as we’ve begun to ask – especially when the question is as close to the root of our theology and comes with as convoluted a history as does this question of women’s relationship to priesthood and leadership. According to this narrative, it is just as significant that our current leaders (as well as all past prophets) have not offered a revelation denying women priesthood as it is that they’ve not responded positively on the issue.

2. Priesthood requires Abrahamic pursuit. This narrative builds off of both Abraham’s and Moses’s experiences with the priesthood. Abraham was not merely granted the priesthood, despite it being a righteous and exalting good, and despite his faithfully asking for it. Rather, obtaining the priesthood and its associated rights, privileges, and blessings took a serious maturing process. It is also significant that Abraham did not receive everything all at once (nor did Jesus for that matter, and D&C 93:6-20 makes the comparison to ourselves explicit). A fullness of the priesthood and priesthood covenants came only after an “Abrahamic sacrifice.” It is significant that this dedicated pursuit after the priesthood was itself a critical part of Abraham’s maturation (note: both Genesis and Abraham detail this righteous pursuit and maturation). On the flip side, Moses was taught that the children of Israel were denied full access to the priesthood specifically because they refused to sanctify and exert themselves. The generation that saw the hand of God part the waters, that experienced deliverance firsthand, yet could not and never did escape their cultural and theological trappings. Consequently, they could not accept either a fullness of the priesthood or the promised land. Instead, a new generation had to grow up as a covenant people by wondering in the wilderness.

3. God allows us to choose. There is a great deal that we find inescapably important that, empirically speaking, God doesn’t seem much worried with (or at least, is not at all worried in the same way that we are). Our immediate sufferings are a great example. This narrative notes that who has the priesthood and to what extent varies radically in the scriptures, and combines this fact with the great importance of our own agency. God delivers the Law (on Mt. Sinai, Golgotha, Cumorah) but it is our duty as the covenant people to embody that law in our particular life and so continually work out it’s particular meaning. Being a covenant people is a genuine relationship, not a dictation. In this case, the important thing with regard to God’s plan for this dispensation is that we do in fact have the priesthood and the necessary keys for our work have been restored. Who operates with this priesthood is left up to us. All white men gain access to the Aaronic and some to the Melchizedek? Fine. Grant white boys at 12 the Aaronic and reserve the Melchizedek for men 18 and older? Ok. Grant priesthood to men and boys of all races? Sure. To date, we’ve been unwilling to really negotiate together and explore the theological possibilities open to us with regard to women in the priesthood. If we do and elect to pursue it, an effectual door will open.

4. The Relief Society has been a preparatory state. We might interpret the significance of Joseph Smith’s establishment of the Relief Society and “turning of the key” as a preparatory state – much as the Aaronic Priesthood throughout much of Israel’s history functioned as a preparatory priesthood. In this case it’s not simply that the women were themselves put through a school, but rather that the entire church – including men already ordained – required the leavening of a few centuries where over half of our membership were taught and raised up to the ideal of humanitarian service. Hundreds of years of Aaronic priesthood (held only by a few) and the attendant work of sacrifice at a temple in Jerusalem prepared the world for the sacrifice of Christ in the same location, together with the tearing of the veil and the fulfillment of that law and priesthood. Having undergone our own school in this dispensation with a portion of our people focused on charity, we might now be in a position where both the women and the men in the church will be better able to utilize the priesthood in the service of not only the Kingdom of God on the earth, but also all the world.

5. Priesthood comes line upon line. Alternatively, we might understand the Relief Society as Joseph’s attempt but our own collective failure to reimagine an ecclesiastically egalitarian society (in the sense of every worthy member having the opportunity to be chosen, called up, and ordained to the priesthood). Joseph once said, “It is my meditation all the day, and more than my meat and drink to know how I shall make the saints of God to comprehend the visions that roll like an overflowing surge before my mind” (16 April 1843). He’d surely say the same thing were he with us today. Perhaps we have been culturally bound and unable to rise up and accept the blessings that God intended for us back at the establishment of this dispensation. God gives us line upon line, precept upon precept, and as we finally accept what’s been given, God will give more (II Nephi 28:30). God gave us the Book of Mormon, and when we have taken it seriously enough, God has promised more. So too, we might say of the Relief Society and its priesthood destiny.

6. We have apostatized from ultimate priesthood fulfillment. One might offer an even more critical self-assessment of our unwillingness to receive God’s blessings. We might posit our situation as being in mild apostasy. Finishing the verse about God giving us line upon line, we might note to ourselves that “from them that shall say, We have enough, from them shall be taken away even that which they have.” God gave us the land of Zion in Independence, but as a people we were not ready for it. God encouraged us to more cooperative, Zion-like forms of economic activity, and at times they served us quite well—but ultimately we shied away from it. Neither of these destroyed our dispensation. But in both instances there are significant blessings that we failed to obtain. Perhaps we have done the same with women’s priesthood opportunities, and consequently we are wondering the wilderness longer than is necessary.

Again, none of us know – or at least, none of us both know and have the authority to pronounce what will happen. This fact is made more apparent as we realize that there are strong, faithful narratives that might unfold. Should those revelations come, it will be just as Bro. McConkie put it with regard to an earlier change:

These words have now taken on a new meaning. We have caught a new vision of their true significance. This also applies to a great number of other passages in the revelations. Since the Lord gave this revelation on the priesthood, our understanding of many passages has expanded. Many of us never imagined or supposed that they had the extensive and broad meaning that they do have. . . . It is a new day and a new arrangement, and the Lord has now given the revelation that sheds light out into the world on this subject. As to any slivers of light or any particles of darkness of the past, we forget about them. We now do what meridian Israel did when the Lord said the gospel should go to the Gentiles. We forget all the statements that limited the gospel to the house of Israel, and we start going to the Gentiles.

I would enjoy hearing any developments or alternative faithful narratives you can envision.

 

101 Responses to Faithful priesthood narratives?

  1. Wheat Woman on July 17, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Thank you for this. It doesn’t really matter if God wants to give women the priesthood cuz something like 90% of us don’t think we should have it anyway. How is being certain we shouldn’t have it better than being certain we should? Don’t both positions presume to know better than God?

  2. J Town on July 17, 2014 at 8:30 am

    I find it interesting that I so frequently see people talking about the shedding of cultural blinders or words to that effect in order to accept some new idea. While that can certainly happen, I find it telling that few people ever discuss that our current “socio-cultural” views might themselves be the impetus for our various attempts at redefining or challenging any particular idea. I’m not saying it’s bad to ask questions or even see if things can be changed. I find it interesting that most of those arguments require, to some degree, that we believe ourselves better, more enlightened, or more free from cultural bias than previous generations. I don’t think we’re quite as advanced as we think ourselves, speaking generally.

  3. Brain Larsen on July 17, 2014 at 9:01 am

    “Wondering” in the wilderness as parallel and possible substitute for “wandering.” Profound in and of itself! Seriously though, I think what you have written here is important: holding to rigid narrative structures can impede critical self and institutional improvement regardless of domain. Likewise, as J Town suggests, one should not simply argue change simply because change is always better. This seems to be one pointing the OP: helping people to envision an alternative to the current narrative can help to spur dialogue about the the possible historical reasons for, benefits of, and procedural possibilities to explore and possibly follow such a new narrative.

  4. Jessica on July 17, 2014 at 9:18 am

    Wheat Woman,

    I think that the actual question from the Pew study sheds a whole lot of light on this 90% figure:

    “Should women who are dedicated members of the LDS Church be ordained to the priesthood?”

    So, we see that 90% of the women surveyed read this question, recognized that that women currently are NOT allowed to hold the priesthood, and in a 2+2=4 gut reaction they loyally concluded that women therefore should not be ordained.

    We often equate faith and valiancy in the LDS church with an unquestioning belief that the way things are is the way they are forever supposed to be.

    “What the Pew Survey Did Not Say (I’m quoting Allison Moore Smith here)

    If offered the priesthood by the prophet, would you refuse it?
    If church leaders said women could be ordained would you support it?
    Would you welcome the ordination of women, if the general authorities approved it?
    Would you like it if women could righteously hold the priesthood”

    I think the numbers would be quite different if any of these above questions had been asked.

  5. Brian Larsen on July 17, 2014 at 9:30 am

    To second Jessica, I find it immensely interesting that the Church PR people reference that survey. Perhaps suggesting that the statistic is important in first place? that, if higher, the current procedures might be less sure? Also, 10% is not nothing to The Lord. After all, it seems, Biblically, like an entire city or two would have been saved for much less than that!

  6. Jettboy on July 17, 2014 at 9:33 am

    Give women the Priesthood and you destroy the family within the Church and not just outside of it, Satan’s greatest goal. End of story. At most and best having the Relief Society as a parallel is both historical and acceptable. What that means in the current world is debatable. Mixing the sexes in authority and responsibility is irresponsible and wrong. The only social-blinders I see are liberals who are judging the Church, its structure, and its teachings by liberalism and political correctness:

    “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

  7. Wheat Woman on July 17, 2014 at 9:38 am

    Jessica,

    I agree with you about how the question was worded in that poll. I made that very point in RS and asked how we would respond if women’s ordination was rolled out at the next GC. I was a bit disheartened by the reaction I got, but not terribly so. In my neck of the woods, most people will not speak directly about this subject in any terms, to say nothing of any possible merit. The only stance that seems above reproach is Mormon Women Stand (Frozen). Total bummer.

  8. Dave K on July 17, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Thank you for these thoughts James. There’s a lot of good stuff to ponder.

    I’m curious as to your initial suggestion that a “parallel priesthood organization” would be preferable to including women in the existing priesthood organization. I can easily see how including women in existing priesthood organization would work. But I struggle to see how a parallel priesthood could function. Would women only minister to women and vice-versa? For instance, you’d have two sacrament tables – one for Priestesses to administer the sacrament to women/girls and another for Priests to administer to men/boys? Could fathers still give blessings to their daughters? Wholly separate organizations seem unnecessary and could cause a lot of conflict/confusion. On the other hand, if parallel priesthoods each had full authority over both sexes, that would also cause conflict/confusion. What does member X do when Brother Bishop says sacrament meeting starts at 9:00am and Sister Bishop says it begins at 11:00am?

    Isn’t the only workable solution to include all priesthood holders within one structure and if there is a need for some sex-specific instruction or activities (which I believe there is) to address those needs separately? For myself, I would much rather have the YM/YW together in one deacons quorum and then break apart for gender-specific instruction in sunday school rather than have them stay together for sunday school and then go to separate priesthood quorums.

    More fundamentally, it must be recognized the priesthood comes through only one source – Christ – and that source is male. To suggest we can have separate priesthoods based on sex would require a concept of Christ as having dual sexual identities. That strikes me as rather odd. Christ is male. Priesthood comes only through Christ. If women are to receive priesthood, it stands to reason that priesthood work, like missionary work, prayer, etc., is a non-gendered role. Otherwise, how could women look to a man (Christ) for the standard of how to fullfill the measure of their priest(ess)hood?

  9. Brian Larsen on July 17, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Jettboy, I think you may have just proved the point the post. And then you aptly deconstruct your own argument by reprimanding those outside your group by citing scripture which tells us not reprimand others. Please, a little courtesy for those you disagree with.

  10. Dave K on July 17, 2014 at 9:59 am

    To echo Brian (#5) and Jessica (#4), I find it very interesting that the PR department would reference polling on the issue of women’s ordination. If I’m cynical, I take that a subtle means to tell women how they should think. If I’m more charitable, I take it to mean that church members’ desires apparently matter. It’s not just the Lord’s will. It’s our will too. Otherwise, why even cite to our will.

    In my own personal polling I find the results vary greatly depending on how the question is asked. If I ask sisters I know, “do you want the priesthood?” the vast majority say no. If I ask them, “suppose priesthood is allowed but not required. You see your sister perform temple baptisms with her daughter and your best friend bless/name her new child. Would you really still have no desire for ordination? In that instance, I have never heard an unequivocal “no.” It’s more like “well, maybe then.” What I take from my personal polling is women really haven’t made up their minds. For the first time in a long time (or ever) many are seriously considering the possibility.

    Thanks again James for adding to the discussion.

  11. Dave K on July 17, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Jettboy (#6), you’re just wrong on the facts. I have friends in other denominations where women and men work together in their priesthood. I see first-hand that God works with them, not Satan. Sorry.

    Within the LDS, I’ve been in several roles where I took direction from a sister who had authority/responsibility over me. It worked just fine. The spirit did not abandon us. Satan did not enter the building. Women in authority are great. Sorry.

    Finally, in my own family, my wife and I completely share authority and responsibility. To use Elder Perry’s phrase, we “co-preside.” So I know first hand that God is present in our non-heirarchacal relationship. In fact, He is present moreso than in the past when we tried the “husband presides model.” If “man presides” works for you, great, keep at it, but don’t claim it’s the only way to go.

  12. DQ on July 17, 2014 at 10:15 am

    If it were a faithful narrative, it would consider the words of the prophets. That priesthood is eternally entwined with Fatherhood, and in the eternities, this inheritance of the Father is what a righteous man brings to the table. Motherhood, on the other hand, is eternally linked with an Eternal Mother, and for the obvious reason of enabling the work and glory to continue, is available to all*, however in the Eternities only available to the righteous who have likewise received an inheritance.

    *please don’t quibble over some health issues that are not eternal and the result of an existence in a fallen world. Men also share physical issues that preclude Fatherhood or proper functioning in priesthood.

  13. Jim B. on July 17, 2014 at 10:19 am

    James, your option #6 will never fly as a faithful narrative. Suggesting that the church has fallen into apostasy is pretty much the definition of a non-faithful narrative. You may need to recalibrate your sense of faithful and non-faithful.

    Additionally, you should add an additional narrative, one (and maybe the only one) that most LDS would accept: All changes in the functioning of the priesthood and the role of women in the church since the time of Joseph Smith have been undertaken at the direction of the Lord’s prophets holding the keys and authority to make those changes, and in accordance with the Lord’s will. There is no reason to assume that the current priesthood structure is deficient, but any changes yet to come will be welcomed as the revelation of the Lord’s desires for his people. While it’s foolhardy to presume to know what those revelations might include, revelation is always welcome and will be accepted, when it comes through his chosen servants.

    This narrative would mean that you would have to sacrifice your surety that ordaining women is right, and it’s your inability to imagine this possibility that worries me.

  14. Brian Larsen on July 17, 2014 at 10:35 am

    DQ, to say that the priesthood is “eternally entwined with Fatherhood” does NOT preclude it from also being eternally entwined with motherhood. Women who have gone through the temple have the priesthood (though what that means we are still working out.) Fatherhood is linked to Fatherhood. And so is Motherhood. Motherhood is linked to Motherhood. And so is Fatherhood. It takes two, joined. I can’t see how you understand the priesthood to fit into this equation.

  15. DQ on July 17, 2014 at 10:49 am

    It comes down from the Father of all living, from his Father and so on. We can spend all day over the meaning of women having the priesthood after being endowed in the temple. Do worthy women possess the priesthood to the same degree worthy men do? No. That difference is what I was explaining. I can’t see how you equate this difference with sameness, or how you’re suggesting that any difference is an ungodly inequality that has to be transcended.

  16. Brian Larsen on July 17, 2014 at 10:58 am

    DQ, are you sure worthy women who have been to the temple don’t posses the priesthood to the same degree as men how have to be ordained to it? What does that even mean, same degree? I don’t see how you think I am equating any difference with sameness. How am I doing that? Parenthood is a joint venture. I still don’t see how you think the priesthood is related to parenthood. And it didn’t say anything about “ungodly inequality.” I’m trying to work this out with you; please don’t paint straw men on me.

  17. Marie on July 17, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Any attempts to formulate a coherent, faithful narrative can include the fact that endowed women in the early LDS church were understood to have the priesthood authority to administer healing blessings without male priesthood present. This is not what people are now imagining when they talk about ordaining women, but it’s a lot more than we have now, and like your #6, could be understood to indicate that God’s real intent for women was better reflected in early church practice than it is in our current understanding of women and priesthood. To offer another example of the church going through a mini-apostasy on a specific point (in addition to your example of our ultimate failure to live the Law of Consecration on a churchwide scale), there are now several known cases of black men being ordained to the priesthood before Joseph Smith’s death–not just the light-skinned Elijah Abel who was a personal friend of Joseph Smith. As with the changes in women’s priesthood practices, no formal revelation was given taking that away–it appears to have just been social pressure and human prejudice. If we can embrace the church despite those particular failings (and I can) then as you said, using that same narrative for a future radical change in women’s roles with relationship to the priesthood should not be too traumatic.

    Perhaps another narrative could be that, whether or not our current state represents God’s current will for women, God’s priority is on kingdom building rather than equality, rights, or the roles of individual actors. Whether or not the black priesthood ban was God’s will, perhaps it only became a priority for God to fix it when the larger work was hindered (the question of temple building and further missionary work in racially mixed Brazil)–not primarily as an equalizing change. My feeling for years has been that endowed women will eventually be restored to at least the priesthood exercise they had in the early church, but that it will only happen when it becomes crucial in order for the church to function. As more and more men fall out of the church, perhaps that day is coming quickly.

  18. James Olsen on July 17, 2014 at 11:14 am

    Thank you all for the discussion. Sorry to be absent – I promise to respond later today.

  19. Naismith on July 17, 2014 at 11:21 am

    I honestly don’t know anyone IRL who opposes ordination for women (so it is educational to hear from folks like Jettboy). Most of the folks I know are in the middle. We could see it working either way. But some of us see benefits and costs to both options, whereas a lot of ordination proponents act as if there are no costs.

    Most LDS live outside the Mormon corridor. Most of our friends are non-LDS, and many of them are active in faiths with female ordination, so we see the advantages and disadvantages. We don’t have a failure of imagination. We just may not agree with you.

    Like Dave K, I have served in various church settings where men report to women, including stake public affairs, family history, primary presidency. No problems at all. And in our family as most of our friends, we also have a non-heirarchacal relationship. I wouldn’t personally call it “co-presiding” because I believe that my husband *is* presiding when he uses his priesthood to bless family members by performing ordinances as needed, etc. But it is servant leadership rather than “daddy knows best” leadership.

    Every stake I have been in since leaving BYU has had a branch or ward that lacked sufficient male leadership. It was the privilege of men who lived elsewhere in the stake to go in and serve for a season. You would think that women in those units would be the most positive about ordination so they could do it themselves. But my sense has been that they are concerned about their sons having role models if all the leadership is female.

    Is it not possible that priesthood quorums are just a preparatory state for serving in Relief Society? Seriously, I am tired of the assumption throughout this that the male path of ordination is better, higher, more desirable. Male normative. Is it not possible that one day men might have the opportunity of doing RS-style compassionate service instead?

    I totally agree with the need to live up to one’s blessings. And I wonder if some day the Lord might ask why we were fixated on priesthood ordination, when women had so many other things they needed to be doing? Is it possible that the Lord’s plan might include a third way, rather than accepting the world’s idea of what is progressive (which pretty much translates to “same as men”)?

    And how did Elder McConkie get demoted to being a brother?

  20. Marie on July 17, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Another thought on my additional narrative above–perhaps you could also say that only one tribe was needed for the priesthood in ancient Israel because the kingdom could not extend outside of Israel, and that when the field of labor became the whole world with Peter’s vision, suddenly the priesthood needed to be held by a greater percentage of the believers in order to get the necessary kingdom-building work done. Whether or not God considers lack of female priesthood participation a hindrance now, it may well be that if there is not a requisite number of faithful male priesthood holders in the world, that God will have to at some point involve the women in those same roles. Perhaps in an ideal world in which all LDS men lived up to their covenants they could handle alone what needed to be handled, and the involvement of women is a fulfillment of Isaiah 3:12–clearly not the ideal situation, but a stopgap measure to keep the work going forward despite large-scale male apostasy.

    I don’t think that’s the case–I think there are enough examples in scripture of hints of female priesthood and prophetesshood existing in times of strong male priesthood and prophethood–but it’s possible that female priesthood ordination, if it materializes, is God’s Plan Z. An emergency measure.

  21. Dave K on July 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    Naismith and Marie, putting aside the male-bashing for a moment (i.e., RS service is higher than priesthood service; and it’s fine for women to say they don’t want priesthood responsibilities but if men reject those responsibilities it’s “male apostacy”), below is a quote from a recent topical article on Patheos:

    In Hong Kong, structures for women’s roles within Church institutions are flexible and expanding. For instance, in certain Hong Kong congregations composed entirely of female foreign domestic workers, women comfortably occupy many of the ecclesiastical positions usually held by men. They serve in branch presidencies (the top local leadership unit) as executive secretaries, exercise stewardship over the entire congregation as presidents of the Relief Society (the women’s organization), keep track of money as ward clerks, and coordinate proselytization efforts as branch mission leaders.

    http://www.patheos.com/Topics/2014-Religious-Trends/Mormon/Mormon-Women-Melissa-Wei-Tsing-Inouye-071514

    As much as I’d prefer a better way, it appears that the quickest method for my daughters to be able to pass the sacrament may be for me and my sons to go inactive.

  22. Marie on July 17, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I was not male-bashing. What I meant by male apostasy is men falling out of church activity, for whatever reason–whether or not that reason involves a desire to shirk priesthood callings. Perhaps “apostasy” was too harsh a word, but “going inactive or leaving the church” is cumbersome and I can’t think of another word that conveys perhaps-still-believes-in-the-church-but-is-in-practical-terms-nonfunctional-in-priesthood-specific-callings. For the record, I don’t relish the idea of priesthood ordination–it would open up the possibility of a lot more time-and-emotion consuming callings I’m happy not to have. But if God required that of women as he now does of men, I’d have to get over my reluctance or yes, be in a sort of apostasy. Certainly a covenant-breaker.

    Very interesting article. Thank you for the link. Perhaps “emergency measure” is the most likely route after all. Despite the flexibility demonstrated in Hong Kong I doubt that if such areas continued to add female members but no or few male members, that they would be continued to grow and become wards and stakes without sufficient numbers of ordained priesthood holders in their congregations. And importation of priesthood holding men seems unlikely to happen on any large scale. It will be interesting to see what unfolds.

  23. Marie on July 17, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    * Should have been “they would be allowed to continue to grow…”

  24. Naismith on July 17, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Please do not characterize my comments as male-bashing. It was not intended that way. Rather it was raising the question of whether priesthood functions are indeed a “higher” form of service, as is so often assumed in these discussions. It may or may not be. The OP was all about having imagination, after all.

  25. Steve Smith on July 17, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    “Jettboy (#6), you’re just wrong on the facts. I have friends in other denominations where women and men work together in their priesthood.”

    Jettboy is just creation by some internet prankster, sort of like President Paternoster. No one can seriously be that reactionary. Haha, very funny, Jettboy. I always enjoy your humor.

  26. sba on July 17, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    “Is it not possible that priesthood quorums are just a preparatory state for serving in Relief Society?”
    FTW

  27. James Olsen on July 17, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Again, thank you for the discussion.

    Wheat Woman: one of the challenges involved is trying to convince people that exploring possibilities is not dictating answers. Some of the narratives I wrote are mutually exclusive (e.g., we can’t both be in apostasy and God not care). So it can’t be the case here that I’m dictating anything (and this beyond the fact that I both begin and end the post stating firmly that we don’t know what will happen). Laying out various possibilities and stating candidly which one makes the most sense to you and why is also not dictating answers – it’s merely being honest. The state of being genuinely flummoxed by a range of possibilities is certainly a possibility, but it’s also relatively rare (and fortunately so, lest we all starve like Burden’s Ass).

    J Town: If we’ve not, in fact, improved on certain things from past generations, then yes, we’re failures. If we’ve not come to a greater understanding of both the deepset nature and moral repugnance of racial prejudice, and improved, then yes, we’ve failed. That’s not to argue that change for change sake is what we’re after.

    Brian Larsen: Ha! Yes, “wondering” in the wilderness is an interesting – and totally unintended – idea. And yes, I’m that imagination can benefit us in just the manner you articulate. But it’s not a merely progressive virtue. Imagination and the ability to seriously contemplate and explore alternatives is also critical to reinforcing present correct ideas and understanding the (comparative) limitations of alternatives. Some of our more conservative bloggers here at T&S make this point quite forcefully.

    Jettboy: I’ll confess, you’re ideas seem so bizarre (and not Mormon) that I don’t know exactly how to respond. Note that your claims make my current work in primary and all ward councils – together with the growing church emphasis on such councils – satanic. I suspect you’ve not really thought through your position.

    Dave K: thank you for your serious engagement. There are certainly logistical difficulties that would need to be (via reason and revelation) worked out. And in stating that complimentary and parallel priesthoods seem to make the most sense to me, I’m certainly not implying that I have all the answers. There are some things that seem fairly common sense. For example (as I alluded to and Marie brings up explicitly), it would seem to include blessings of healing. Also, the washings, anointing, and blessing of pregnant women that were once common. A priesthood-based ordinances or pastoral care to usher us into and out of our elderly years is currently absent from our tradition. And complimentary, priestessly contributions to the sacrament aren’t hard to imagine (ritual baking of sacrament bread, leading the music or ritual retelling that precedes all sacrament, etc.). To me it doesn’t make sense to separate it into “authority over women” vs. “authority over men” rather than “authority over realm X vs. Y.” These sorts of things make sense to me, but I’ll leave it to prophet(esse)s, seer(esse)s and revelators to work out the details in the event of this route being God’s will.

    I personally think we lose certain goods if we erased gender segregation (though I think we’re losing more right now with our current form of segregation). Regardless, historical continuity is a substantive and not just a tangential question.

    In addition, however, I’ll point out that having Aaronic, Melchizedek, and Patriarchal forms and functions of the priesthood don’t generate any confusion. I’m not sure why adding Priestesshood would be any more of a logistical or theological challenge.

    As to your fundamental point, I actually disagree. As I cited in D&C 93, Christ did not give himself the priesthood. According to Hebrews and Mormon interpretations of the Mt. of Transfiguration he received it from others. Christ is not the source of the priesthood, even if he currently stands as our great High Priest. Regardless, I’m of the opinion that women can look to Christ and learn about mothering – despite his being male and despite there being no scriptural examples of his being/acting as a father. So I wouldn’t be terribly worried about it anyway.

    DQ: in order to accept your argument, I would have to buy the fact that Pres. Kimball didn’t consider the words of prophets. Instead, I’m with Bro. McConkie – revelation forces us to re-read, re-think, perhaps even re-translate the words of the prophets. Faithful narratives like the one he tells in the address I linked are critical to our ability to have faith in new revelation. At any rate, others in numerous posts have answered your claims ad nauseum, so I’ll let it stand there.

    Jim B: I’m not sure what you find unfaithful about my narrative. If tomorrow Pres. Monson were to stand up and quote Joseph, Brigham, John, Lorenzo, Wilford and other prophets, state that we’ve not yet lived up to the revelations and covenants we’ve made concerning consecration, would you respond in similar fashion? Was Pres. Benson lacking faith when he read D&C 84 and stated flatly that we continue to be under condemnation because we continue to neglect the Book of Mormon? Can you point to any dispensation in any book of scripture where the people were not in apostasy? Being in apostasy does not mean total rejection of covenants or faith, nor does it always (or even usually) result in the collapse of a dispensation.

    I find #6 a perfectly faithfully narrative – though I don’t know if it’s right or better than the others.

    Also, your own “narrative” is perfectly consisten with several of the narratives I laid out.

    Finally, the discussion is always more constructive when you read carefully so as not to attribute to the author propositions that are in direct contradiction to what is claimed in the OP.

    DQ (#15): I find it incredibly telling that you explicitly appropriate a title given to our Mother in order to describe Heavenly Father.

    Marie: thank you for your contributions in thinking through possible narratives. Blacks in the priesthood are a very interesting and important case scenario. Not because we need to decide in advance that the two scenarios are perfectly parallel, but because we have to offer some sort of faithful narrative to get us from Bro. Brigham’s railing against the idea of black members holding the priesthood (or marrying white spouses, etc.) to June 1979. Other changes have also required re-envisioning how God operates in our lives and dispensation. The changes are always a stumbling block if we can’t – like Bro. McConkie – see our history and past revelations with new eyes.

    Your narrative of functional priority (I take it that what you mention in #17 and then work out in #20 are the same narrative) might be a nuanced version of narrative #3 – though maybe it deserves its own number.

    Naismith: I can’t read your comment without thinking that you’re importing and attributing to me a whole lot into the conversation that wasn’t there to begin with.
    1. If you have no problems imagining faithful narratives for women’s enfranchisement, then this post wasn’t about you (and others like you).
    2. I wrote a post offering a careful reading of Pres. Packer’s last talk on men’s presiding in the home that goes along with some of the sentiments you express here.
    3. Narrative #6 is a way of working out the possibility that you claim I can’t envision: not only did the RS’s past history prepare women, it prepared men and the whole church for the priesthood’s ultimate humanitarian (i.e., Relief Society) purpose
    4. “I wonder if some day the Lord might ask why we were fixated on priesthood ordination, when women had so many other things they needed to be doing?” This seems perfectly consistent (if not a version) of narrative #3.
    5. I can’t for the life of me understand why you think calling Elder McConkie Bro. McConkie is demoting him? Do I demote Brigham and Joseph when I call them Bro. Brigham or Bro. Joseph (or just Brigham and Joseph as we often do)? No, quite the opposite, I refer to them with a kind of intimacy and love that isn’t expressed in the more formal. You might as well criticize me for being to formal in leaving off the “Bruce R.” part.

    Dave K. #21: thanks for bringing that to my attention – hadn’t seen it. (And, for the record, I don’t think anyone was male-bashing).

  28. Alison Moore Smith on July 17, 2014 at 5:10 pm

    James, this is a wonderful essay. I spent quite some time this morning responding to someone on MormonMomma on this topic (#1 in particular, for the umpteenth time), when I could have just linked to your post. (I will do that as soon as I’m done here!)

    I only object to the notion that “priesthood is predicated on asking” is a “liberal view.” As the self-proclaimed token conservative at T&S ;) I have to say this is simply a historical pattern that can (and is) recognized by conservatives and liberals alike. heh

    Jessica, thank you for the shout out. It’s so aggravating to hear people reframe the Pew survey to mean something it doesn’t actually say.

    Brian Larsen:

    I find it immensely interesting that the Church PR people reference that survey. Perhaps suggesting that the statistic is important in first place?

    Brian, I think we have some precedence for this kind of oddity in the PR area.

    President Hinckley noted lack of “agitation” for the priesthood as partial reasoning for why women didn’t have it. When the agitation became apparent, it was slapped down.

    PR is happy to use (a skewed interpretation of) the poll to support the status quo, but if the poll turned our differently, they would simply disregard it as being irrelevant. :/

  29. Alison Moore Smith on July 17, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Jettboy, I’m going to try very hard to be civil, even though I don’t think your comment warrants it. (See what I did there?)

    Give women the Priesthood and you destroy the family within the Church and not just outside of it, Satan’s greatest goal. End of story.

    When the black/priesthood revelation was given in 1978, the streets in my Orem, Utah, ward were literally flooded with neighbors hugging, crying, and vocally praising God. (Today, I suppose, it would be massive Facebook status updates with smiley, dancing emoticons.) Apparently even the most dedicated in those “white shirt wards” in Happy Valley really, really wanted that “doctrine” to change and were overjoyed to embrace it.

    A distant relative lived in a different area. She and her husband had adopted (literally) dozens of “hard-to-place” children over the course of many years. A number of those children were black. Over the next few weeks/months when the boys were ordained and began to pass the sacrament, there were a few members in their ward who refused to take the sacrament from a black boy — because they were sure the change was wrong and would destroy the church.

    Now, obviously, there are things that really could destroy the church and things that really are wrong. But the fact that you can’t even imagine a possible world where women and men are truly equal and are truly partners rather than presider and subordinate — without enormous calamity — says more about you than it does about God, the church, or the future. As per James’s point, it’s troubling.

    P.S. It’s so weird when anyone quotes the beam/mote scripture to point to the perceived problems of others. It’s as if the meaning was missed entirely. Seriously.

  30. Marie on July 17, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Yes, I noticed the similarities with your #3. The main difference being that your #3 option showed God stepping back and was letting us distribute the priesthood differently at will in order to get the all-important kingdom-building done as we saw fit (so the onus is on us to expand our minds and put all able hands to work), while my narrative would have God stepping in to declare priesthood changes necessary at key moments in time–changes that could have happened earlier, but at some point become crucial to the forward movement of the earthly kingdom. In most cases that would still be preceded by asking (see Pres Kimball), but would not be necessary (see Peter’s vision).

  31. Alison Moore Smith on July 17, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Naismith, I liked your insights (and imagination) on the topic.

    Is it not possible that one day men might have the opportunity of doing RS-style compassionate service instead?

    The problem here is that (1) men do a lot of compassionate service in the church already (although not a ton of casserole baking, but neither do I…) and (2) the church could function if all adults were in High Priests Quorum, but it could not if all adults were in Relief Society (as presently constituted). The only reasonable conclusion is that the necessary “path” is more significant than the “appendage.”

  32. James Olsen on July 17, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    Alison – token conservative? heh (as you like to put it). The way you and (shall I name names?) a hound of others gang up on the “liberals” is simply ruthless sometimes. The reality is, you’re a switch hitter :)

    But honestly, I didn’t say that “predicated on asking” was a “liberal” insight. I said it was “the stereotypical view.” Which I think is true in these discussions about women and priesthood. And the “stereotypical” conservative response is what is outlined above. I agree with you though, this is simply a spiritual fact, not the property of a political viewpoint.

    Marie – I think you’re right – it’s an important distinction, and an alternative narrative – the only other one offered in this exchange!

  33. Chet on July 17, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    I would like to throw out another call to revamp home teaching…

  34. James Olsen on July 17, 2014 at 8:53 pm

    I just read C. Jane Kendrick’s recent post – a letter to her daughters (here: http://www.cjanekendrick.com/2014/07/to-my-mormon-daughters_15.html). It’s beautiful. She articulates a version of #5. And much more.

  35. Alison Moore Smith on July 17, 2014 at 11:34 pm

    Switch hitter. Someone said to the me the other day, “Well, you go both ways.” (After nearly 29 years of marriage, I think my husband would be surprised to hear that… ;) )

    I just don’t think female priestesshood and deity ARE liberal views. I think they are historical and truthful. No partisanship at all, as you said.

  36. Cameron N on July 18, 2014 at 1:23 am

    This must be one of the most constructive and correctly focused posts–for those on both sides or the middle–that I’ve read on this issue yet. Thank you.

  37. Jax on July 18, 2014 at 11:54 am

    To be clear, it is the inability to grasp why this is such a pressing issue or to envision what a faithful narrative of women’s priesthood could possibly be in the wake of Elder Oaks’ General Conference talk and Sis. Kelly’s excommunication – that’s what worries me.

    It worries you that many don’t find this a pressing issue? Why should we? We do have “a faithful, coherent narrative of our dispensation” where many great and miraculous things have happened in this church, and to its members, even though women don’t have the priesthood. That is why this isn’t “a pressing issue” for most of us. We see the church growing, temples being built, missionaries serving faithfully, families living happily,… etc. We don’t see a need that would be met by ordaining women. Millions of women over centuries of time have lived faithfully, joyfully, and with access to everything necessary for salvation… what is the “pressing issue” being met here? Nothing authoritative says that women “need” the priesthood, so why should we make this a priority?

    We “need” to be cleansed from sin, so repentence is necessary, eliminating lying, porn, anger, … are issues

    We “need” to worship God, so removing false idols is an issue

    We “need” to consecrate ourselves/time/money/talents, so greed, pride, etc are issues

    We “need” to build Zion. We “need” to support families. We “need” to build faith. We “need” to cherish virtue.

    Those are issues we have and unfulfilled commands we’ve been given. Does ordaining women solve any of those issues? Or, can someone give me any commandment we’ve been given that can’t be done unless women are ordained? – some thing that would making ordaining women more of a priority for those of us who think the church is doing alright? I don’t think “all is well in Zion” because I see LOTS of issues among church members (myself included), but ordaining women isn’t the obvious solution to any of the issues I see.

  38. Brian Larsen on July 18, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Jax,

    Come on. The OP didn’t even use the word ‘need’ once. And it definitely didn’t argue that women need the priesthood, as you suggest. That you don’t see that women’s relation to the priesthood is a pressing issue for many does not make it unpressing for them. And I highly doubt anyone here disagrees with your list of issues, they’re just adding their own. Your inability to see the that the issue is pressing for both the Apostles and many members is exactly what the post addresses. And if it isn’t such a big issue to you, why bother? Leave it alone.

  39. Steve Smith on July 18, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    “It worries you that many don’t find this a pressing issue? Why should we?”

    Simply because an increasing number of women in the church find this to be a pressing issue, and many of them are agitating about this and even leaving the church over this. Church members are asked to try to reactivate those who have fallen away, so how do you get them back?

    Like it or not, religious organizations, the LDS church included, are essentially businesses that ‘sell’ salvation. In order for businesses to operate, they have to keep the regular clientele base buying, attract infrequent clientele to become regulars, and find new clientele. When the business starts losing the regular clientele, they are faced with two options. Readjust to suit the interests of that clientele, or find new clientele who are interested in the good old product they are selling. If they readjust too much, they risk losing the interest of other segments of the regular clientele. But if they don’t readjust, they might be forced to find lots of new clientele to replace the departed regulars, which can be an arduous process.

  40. Old Man on July 18, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    Ahhh, the capitalist theory of salvation. …so much for salvation and exaltation based upon revealed truth. Thank goodness it is all about marketing. If we can’t get the converts, we just change the product. And how exactly do we avoid apostasy in this process?

    Honestly, this post seemed to be more about “It’s O.K., we can spin activist feminism into a faithful paradigm.”

  41. Jax on July 18, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Brian, I assumed that if it was “a pressing issue” that using “need” was synonymous. Is that not Kosher?

    “And I highly doubt anyone here disagrees with your list of issues, they’re just adding their own.” They arne’t “just adding their own” as if their own private list of issues includes women’s ordination. They are trying to convince the rest of us that we should include it on our lists as well. If that is what you want, for the rest of us to view it as an issue too, then explain why it is a “pressing issue” then. You give other possible narratives that we could adopt in order to view female ordination favorably, but when we have a positive view of our narative now why do we need to change it? We have a positive view of church history, church operations, church growth, church effects in our family, etc… why should we adjust our view of those things in order to make it seem that ordaining women is something that has been missing and needs to be fixed.

    What it seems that argument is trying to say this: “You are happy with your lot/position in the church. We want you to adjust your view so that you are unhappy with your lot/position so that you will agitate with us for a change that will make you happy again.” How about we just stay satisfied??

    Being trapped within one’s cultural-conceptual framework, a lack of creative socio-theological imagination, is a frequent stumbling block to God’s people. (for example, see any of the standard works).

    Yes, but what tells you that in relation to female ordination we have a stumbling block at all. Why don’t you think that our current understanding is in line with God’s? Throughout the standard works God sent prophets to tell them they were wrong, call them to repentence, and to teach them the correct framework. For example, God’s will is that we concecrate our selves and build Zion. But because our social paradigms are built around individual freedoms instead of zion-like communities we get lots of conference talks about not climbing ladders that lean against the wrong wall, bedside chats with people lamenting not spending enough time with family, urges to spend more time in temples, doing family history, sharing the gospel, and counsel to avoid the fashion and entertainment trends of the world… But where are the talks about how we need to overcome/change the cultural-conceptual framework that prevents us from ordaining women??

  42. Brian Larsen on July 18, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Jax, again, you are equating me with a post I did not write and statements I did not make. But this seems to be your MO today.

  43. Jax on July 18, 2014 at 1:04 pm

    LOL… does seem to be my MO today… WOW. Guess watching my 2 and 4 yr old really throws me off. Sorry.

    The first half of my last post does address your comment though.

    The second half to James Olsen.

  44. Brian Larsen on July 18, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    Jax,

    No worries. I’ve a newborn and am not sleeping well.

    Here’s how I see it: the issue of women’s relation to the priesthood is one of the most talked about (both privately and publicly–both within and without of the church) issues in our day. For many people, it is a pressing issue. People are leaving over it, people are being rude over it, people are feeling vulnerable over it, people are being hurt over it, people are bunkering down and ignoring it, people are thinking about it for the first time. Elder Oak’s landmark talk which directly addresses the idea that women who have been through the temple have the priesthood raises more questions than answers for many people. It seems to be a pressing issue for at least some of the brethren. Yes, adding it to the list implies that it is important and should be addressed. You don’t seem to want it to be addressed any further. But it IS being addressed further. There doesn’t seem to have been a large-scale silencing of members on the issue after Kate Kelly was excommunicated and for many people, that action has only raised the urgent nature of it. It is pressing for those reasons; and it is pressing because the new openness about church history (and its yet unaddressed (as many see it) issues of women and the priesthood in the early church) is pressing it on us; it is pressing because the church demographics are changing; it is changing because society’s view of women is changing; it is pressing. It’s is not pressing just because James Olsen says it is. There’s much more to it than that. Again, you don’t have to accept that it is. I think posts like this are a moment to consider for a moment, just like you are asking them to do, that maybe someone else has a point we could listen to and think about, even if we don’t agree with it.

  45. Jacob M on July 18, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    Although others have said it, I feel like chiming in on Jettboy a little. One, making statements is not arguing if you don’t follow up with lines of reasoning. For instance, saying, in essence, that female ordination will ruin the family in the church is not an argument unless you then proceed to tell us how you think the family will be destroyed by women’s ordination. And two, you can’t say end of story and then keep typing! If you have more to say after “end of story”, then you obviously haven’t reached the end of your story!

  46. rah on July 18, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    Any men who require sole control of the governance of the church to accept participation in the saving ordinances of the gospel simply are not worthy of them. That whole logic of how men will desert the church if not allowed the priviledge of male control is man bashing in the extreme. Are there certain Mormon men that are that shallow? Certaintly. Do I care a hill of beans about making them leaders so they will stay? No! The fact is most men in the church aren’t in the leadership positions and they attend, contribute and live the gospel just fine. It is such a weird bipolar dichotomy. On one hand we want to claim men presiding is really “servant leadership” and on the other if they are asked to share presiding with women they are supposed to take their ball and go home. Men of the take their ball variety should walk away until they are mature enough in discipleship not to need control to participate in the church.

  47. Frank Pellett on July 18, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    rah (46) – “Men of the take their ball variety should walk away until they are mature enough in discipleship not to need control to participate in the church.”

    Shouldn’t the same be said of the women? In either case, it seems like kind of a “Damn the torpedoes” kind of thinking. Change while ignoring the possible effects, even declaring those effects not of any worth, is like intentionally walking through a warehouse of plate glass barefoot saying to yourself, “there should be no broken glass, and if there is, that’s someone else’s problem.” Works great til something tries to go through your little toe.

    And yes, the Church should not be afraid of these potential obstacles (and it isn’t), but we’re not really talking about how the Church works. We’re talking about how the Church would work if we were in charge.

  48. Steve Smith on July 18, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    “Ahhh, the capitalist theory of salvation. …so much for salvation and exaltation based upon revealed truth. Thank goodness it is all about marketing. If we can’t get the converts, we just change the product. And how exactly do we avoid apostasy in this process?”

    OK, why not just undertake a purge of liberal minded Mormons who ask too many questions and agitate for change? Why not tell them to just get out and stay out? That’s what the FLDS seem to do. The LDS church today is very image-conscious. Its organization is so large and so expensive to maintain that they are very sensitive to large numbers of departures at the core. Plus, they seem willing to make gradual changes in certain directions to try to improve its image and entice fence-sitters to jump back in.

  49. DQ on July 18, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    #16 – “are you sure worthy women who have been to the temple don’t posses the priesthood to the same degree as men how have to be ordained to it? ”

    Yes, I’m sure. One can administer various ordinances the other can’t. Hence the difference in degree.

    #27 – re: “I find it incredibly telling that you explicitly appropriate a title given to our Mother in order to describe Heavenly Father.”

    The Father of all, is a title given to Adam in D&C 27:11. I hope you find that telling as well.

  50. Brian Larsen on July 18, 2014 at 3:55 pm

    DQ, if that’s what you mean, I agree. But whose to say it’s not the same priesthood? You seem to equate keys with power. Not the same. Your clarification does little to clarify how you are actually separating motherhood and fatherhood. Or how the priesthood is related to parenthood in that difference. Smoke screen and ‘wink, wink, see’ are what I see.

  51. Jax on July 18, 2014 at 4:48 pm

    the issue of women’s relation to the priesthood is one of the most talked about (both privately and publicly–both within and without of the church) issues in our day.

    And everywhere I hear it being talked about they say, “I can’t believe KK thought she should have the priesthood” or “I don’t know why this is an issue” or “I wish this would go away” or “What I want is a nursery leader, not the priesthood” (actual quote) So they are talking about it, but they aren’t talking like “I wish we could figure out how to fix this issue”, but rather “Why are we still talking about this issue?”

    People are leaving over it, people are being rude over it, people are feeling vulnerable over it, people are being hurt over it, people are bunkering down and ignoring it, people are thinking about it for the first time.

    Can I safely assume that most of the people who are feeling hurt or vulnerable are also the same ones who are leaving? That these aren’t all separate groups of people? And I think the vast majority of the church falls into the last two groups, those who are ignoring it, or who are thinking about it for the first time.

    People are leaving. Okay. Not ideal, but people leave all the time for a variety of reasons. We don’t change other doctrines/procedures/structures for those who want to drink, want to view porn, want to fish on Sunday, want to keep the 10% of income, … Why is it “pressing” for the rest of us to accomodate for this group? We don’t want them out, we want them IN, but if they don’t like what IN offers, we won’t stop them from leaving.

    People are ignoring it. Yep. They think about kids school work, job promotions, car repairs, sports teams, wayward children, and health problems. Women haven’t had a need for priesthood to be saved before now, so why think about a problem that doesn’t need to be solved? They think about the problems they do need solved or things more entertaining.

    People are thinking about it for the first time. But only because a small group keeps bringing it up. They aren’t spontaneously all deciding it is important and therefore dedicating time to it. They think about it because they keep hearing about it. They keep seeing Peggy Fletcher Stack articles about it. It won’t go away. If it stopped getting press, they would stop thinking about it at all.

    People are being rude over it. Which is unfortunate. People are being rude to the OW supporters, OW supporters are rude to opponents. None of it is “virtuous, lovely, or of good report.”

    it is changing because society’s view of women is changing;

    Don’t care in the slightest! I care about God’s view of things, not CNN’s, MTV’s, or Congress’. When HE says to ordain them, I’ll happily teach my 4 daughters their duties (oldest turns 12 next week, I’ll ordain her happily). But because there is no commandment this would help us keep, or virtue this would help us develop, it is no need for this to be an issue. Not enough food is an issue that needs fixing, not enough virtue is an issue that needs fixing, women being raped/abused is an issue that needs fixing, gluttony and greed is an issue that needs fixing, women getting the priesthood is an issue only because it keeps getting talked about.

  52. Brian Larsen on July 18, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    Jax,

    To your first point: you hear is clearly very different from what other people hear. And I can’t believe you when you say ‘everywhere’ because you frequent these blogs.

    To your second: you can assume the groups who feel vulnerable and are leaving are the same, but in my experience, they are not always the same. Also, to equate someone thinking about women’s relation to the priesthood as someone who wants to view porn is terrible, terrible. To ask for dialogue is not the same to ask for accommodation either. You wrong that people would stop thinking about it. They’ve been thinking about it long before recent events and will continue to do so. Maybe you wouldn’t, but that doesn’t mean others wouldn’t.

    To your third point: what you argue is irrelevant here and contradictory to your own claims. People are talking about it the world, so it is pressing. Now, maybe it shouldn’t be, but that doesn’t change that it is.

    Really, your understanding of those who are concerned strikes me as terribly naive. I mean this in the kindest way. Almost nothing you have projected onto people who care and why they care is accurate. And this surprises me because you frequent this blog.

  53. Jax on July 18, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Brian,

    I don’t include blogs in everywhere I hear things. I don’t hear anything here. I read it. I dinstinguish between them, though you may not. It would be terrible if I said asking for the priesthood was like viewing porn. Thankfully that isn’t what I said. And which is my third point?? I didn’t number them, but I don’t see one as contradictory… do you mean the last sentence or the part about being rude??

    Why does “people talking about it” make it “pressing”?? Did you hear about how the internet went crazy when they saw a picture of Steven Spielberg in front of a dead Triceratops and started talking about how terrible it was for him to kill such an animal? Well, people were talking about that, but that doesn’t make the hunting of Triceratops a “pressing issue.” Female ordination is more important than that, I grant you, but the point holds that people talking about it doesn’t make it an issue that needs addressing. There is no known problem that needs to be overcome by female ordination, no task that needs completion, no eternal salvation on the line. That it is an issue I admit. It is an issue without a problem, it is just an issue because people want it to be an issue. That it is “pressing” is ridiculous.

    To your last paragraph… this is my 5th post on this OP. One was simply correcting a mistake I made and apologizing. So now I have made 4 meaningful posts, none of which project to anyone “who are concerned” anything except that they are concerned about something almost meaningless. My first post (#31) outlines why female ordination (FO) solves none of the churches issues nor helps us keep any commandment we are lacking. the next one (#41) talks asks why we need to change our paradigms. The next parrots the idea that FO only solves the issue of FO; that there is no other problem it solves. Then there is this post. To what exactly are you referring.

    One last time though. What is the problem that FO would fix? Why is it “pressing” that this happen?

  54. Brian Larsen on July 18, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Jax, Once you realize the OP is not calling for female ordination, we can talk. Clearly your lack of believing that the topic is pressing clouds your reading of it. Clearly your experience is different than those posting here. I acknowledge that you don’t see it as pressing. Why you can’t allow others to believe it is, without also disparaging them as already out the door, or not worthy of discussion befuddles me, but still does not make it not a current pressing issue in the church. And yes, you have connected those who want to talks about women’s relation to the priesthood as those who want to view porn. Perhaps in some technical manner you believe you did not, but in a rhetoric sense, you did, and I should have been sufficiently warned at that point to leave you alone. And I also now know why people rarely engage your comments. If we ever end up in the same ward, I’m sure we could be friends, but then you might also hear those things that thus far you’ve only been reading and can thus discount. I’m out, man. Have a good ride.

  55. Jax on July 18, 2014 at 8:21 pm

    “We have an issue”

    “What’s the issue?”

    “People want female ordination.”

    “Why do they want female ordination?”

    “Because it is an issue.”

    “Why is it an issue?”

    “Because people want it”

    “Why do they want it?”

    “Because its an issue”

    That is all that has been given here so far. It’s an issue, fine. But why is it important enough to even consider? What problems does it solve? Who does it help? What can we not now do, that FO will allow us to do? Why no answers on this??? but instead just a steady repetition of “it’s an issue”??

    I said people leave the church for lots of reasons and gave a list. I didn’t say anything about the items being on the list being alike, except that people leave the church because of them. Also on that list was not wanting to pay tithing, but I made no comparison that not paying tithing is like viewing porn. That is a connection you can make, but I firmly reject the idea that discussing FO is like viewing porn and never made that comparison.

  56. Jax on July 18, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Unfortunately, that above conversation that I posted was wrong. A more accurate one would be even more ridiculous.

    “We have a pressing issue”

    What issue?

    People are talking about female ordination.

    Why is that an issue?

    Because people are talking about it

    Why are they talking about it?

    Because its an issue.

    But why is it an issue, let alone a “pressing issue”??

    It’s “pressing” because people are talking about it

    …. ad infinitum

    And that is how absurd Brian it has been to hear you say repeatedly that this an issue. Can anyone give a good reason for WHY this is an issue?

  57. Steve Smith on July 18, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    It isn’t an issue simply because it is an issue. There are external reasons for it being an issue (namely, an increasing number of LDS women are pursuing careers and adopt more egalitarian attitudes in the work environment that they bring to church with them among other reasons). The issue is pressing because it receives media attention and is causing many rank and file LDS to disaffect. Now, of course you can say, “to hell with them,” which seems to be your attitude. But this doesn’t jibe with the church’s mission of Perfecting the Saints, reactivation being a huge part of this. Also, the church has been taking a number of steps to make women appear more included, which is a sign that they regard the issue to be pressing and hope to make some minor and gradual adjustments to policy to stem the tide of disaffections.

  58. Steve Smith on July 18, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Issue deniers also need to bear in mind that the 15 million statistic consists mostly of inactives. And even among the active, many would probably be inactive if it weren’t for the large missionary body trying to keep them going to church. The member who really matter number about 1.5 million, and they live in the Mormon corridor. They pay most of the tithing, they supply most of the missionaries and higher-up leadership, etc. What is an issue for them is an issue for the church, for if they begin the thin and hollow out, the church could face gradual collapse. I know about the prophecies that the church will always be around. Sure, the leaders talk big, but that’s just for effect. The leaders always have growth on their minds. For if they are not growing they are shrinking. The plateau doesn’t last long.

  59. Jax on July 18, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    The issue is pressing because it receives media attention

    this differs from “people are talking about it” in what way?

    is causing many rank and file LDS to disaffect.

    Isn’t that the crux of why KK was exed?? because she was facilitating the disaffection of members? Nobody wants them to leave, we want them to stay. But if they are disaffected, because of an issue without a real problem, and choose to leave, they can do that. It is just as legitimate a reason as not wanting to pay tithing, or wanting to fish on Sunday, right?

    Also, the church has been taking a number of steps to make women appear more included, which is a sign that they regard the issue to be pressing and hope to make some minor and gradual adjustments to policy to stem the tide of disaffections.

    They view the disaffection as a pressing issue, and IT is. People leaving the church for whatever reason is an issue that has always been addressed and solutions brainstormed. If masses of people were leaving because the building weren’t painted blue, then the church would be “taking a number of steps” to make the buildings appear more blue in hopes that it would stem the tide of disaffections. But in the end, there is no real problem that the buildings are blue.

  60. Jettboy on July 19, 2014 at 8:59 am

    “why not just undertake a purge of liberal minded Mormons who ask too many questions and agitate for change? Why not tell them to just get out and stay out.” I have been trying to get a majority of them to repent or do this for years. I don’t care if the Church became the size of the FLDS. I want truth and not numbers. My testimony is of God, Jesus Christ, and the Restoration of the Gospel and Priesthood. So long as I believe the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has those things, whoever leaves is their problem. Let it atrophy in the name of Truth and Righteousness.

  61. Mike on July 20, 2014 at 12:07 am

    Anyone ever consider that the priesthood as we understand it is just a way to name, define, make tangible the power of god. And that as it has been revealed to culturally and time/location bound humanity it’s rights and boundaries has been weighed down by those (our) limited minds? The power of god has been “contained” by many differing wine skins. My take is that our current iteration of the “power and authority” of god is this priesthood which is passed on by touch, male bound, strictly regulated, and correlated.

    I’m not denying the power per say but find that anything that we are given or have a hand in creating is always limited and never as open or fantastic as we can imagine.

  62. Geoff -Aus on July 20, 2014 at 3:53 am

    My explanation of why women should hold the priesthood equally with men is that that is how I believe it will be in the celestial kingdom, ie how God intends it to be.

    As women have performed more priesthood functions in the past than they do now, and that has been removed, without requiring revelation, the prevention of women holding equal priesthood with men is a cultural limitation, and not Gospel. Just like the limitation on negroes was.

    I think it is only a question of time, and possibly the age of the Apostles, before we are able to impliment Gods will on earth. If you read Spencer Kimball’s biography, he spent many hours in the temple pleading with the Lord to help him overcome his culture so he could impliment Gods will for negroes and the priesthood. Now it is time to impliment Gods will for women.

  63. Steve Smith on July 20, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Jettboy (60), that’s right, to hell with them who think differently. Repent or get out. We don’t need to tolerate any sort of diversity, right? Alls we needs is some good old fashioned blind obedience. How dare people use their brains!

    PS, Jettboy, your comments are quality stuff. I’ve been a huge fan for a long time. You should really consider doing a blog like President Paternoster and Elder Delaney. Hilarious!

  64. Jax on July 20, 2014 at 2:55 pm

    Geoff,

    That is a good reasoning for support of female ordination, that you think it is how the Celestial Kingdom will be.

    I think that if the Celestial Kingdom were in fact like that, that we would have a greater knowledge of a Heavenly Mother and her activities during Creation/Pre-mortal life.

  65. Alison Moore Smith on July 20, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    Jax, your position seems to be something like this: if God doesn’t care then I don’t care and no one should care (or at least I will point out how lame the topic is if they do). Or something.

    So, first, I’d like to disabuse you of most of that and then you can tell me if all your “why does it matter?” stuff means something entirely different.

    First, I think God cares about most things that important to us. I care when my child loses a pet — even if I didn’t particularly care for the pet, because I love my child. In the same why I think God cares about things that may not matter in the grand scheme of things if they matter to us.

    Second, I think God cares about things even if we are wrong in our desires. Christ wanted to have his burden removed in the garden — even though that was not God’s will. God didn’t remove it, but I still think he shared his son’s agony just as any loving parent feels pain when their child does.

    In other words, if you’re going to behave as God would behave, you actually would care about things that others care about and that cause pain to them. Whether it’s eternally important or not. Whether what pains them is a correct principle or not.

    Third, there is doctrine regarding female priest(ess)hood and female deity. We just know next to nothing about them. They both matter. If our general leaders (the only ones with the authority to make such doctrinal statements) have the same attitude, we will never (given the pattern of ask/receive) be blessed with this information on earth. I pray they don’t.

    Fourth, the specific topic here is one of an enormous exclusion that comes — as far as I can tell — from policy based on tradition. Since I was four I’ve asked why women can’t hold the priesthood and I still don’t know.

    I realize that patriarchal culture and subordination of women is a long-standing tradition in almost 100% of the world’s cultures. (That’s kind of par for the course for a “race” that is almost universally physically weaker than the other with the predominance of a conquest ethic.) I realize that scripture verbiage is very male centric (which would almost universally come in a culture of female subordination).

    What I don’t see is where the “divinely decreed” doctrinal assertion of male only priesthood is outlined. I only see continued assertion that that “divine decree” exists.

    As recently as last month, the church PR spokeswoman, Ally Isom, said this:

    Doug Fabrizio: The question is where does it say in Mormon doctrine that women cannot hold the priesthood?

    Ally Isom: It doesn’t.

    The church has now clarified that the black priesthood ban was due to…hmmm…don’t know what. Something Brigham Young said when, you know, almost everyone was really racist. Back in the day. Now we know better.

    Rather than stand on your “it doesn’t matter” soapbox, it would behoove us as a people (leaders included) — when people feel more and more excluded as the cultural expectation of equal treatment doesn’t match the church’s policy and as people actually do leave — to take the time to SEE if this is more than just “painting on a church.” Maybe, just maybe, it’s actually a cultural miscue that needlessly precludes half (or more?) of the church from full participation and voice.

    In other words, if we are (again) precluding scores of people from having the priesthood based on an erroneous misreading of culture as doctrine, it matters. And if not, we could at least take the time to reasonably discuss the issue.

  66. Naismith on July 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    Precludes from “full participation and voice”? Do you really want to go there?

    Because a lot of men do not serve as bishops or stake presidents, even thought they have the priesthood and penis. Perhaps they are just not needed in such a calling. Perhaps their wife has an issue that precludes them from serving. Perhaps they are needed elsewhere. Do they also lack “full participation”?

    Or is it possible that all of us who follow the will of the Lord for us are enjoying full participation in the gospel?

    Jax’s position does not strike me as a “soapbox.” He is entitled to his own experiences. He hasn’t denied that others have different experiences, only questioned how widespread they are In Real Life, as opposed to the blog world. I think that is a question worth asking, since as I’ve observed before, I don’t hear some of the things that others report.

  67. ji on July 20, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    What I don’t see is where the “divinely decreed” doctrinal assertion of male only priesthood is outlined.

    Somehow, even if it were clearly spelled out in the scriptures, or even if there were a new revelation so saying, somehow, I think those who are angry now would still be angry.

    I despair when reading others write how unkind the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is towards its female members — and how unhealthy it is for women in the church — from my own observation, it just isn’t true — to me, the church is the best possible place for women and girls, and men and boys, too. I see the church as a wonderful and beautiful gift. I’m not in any authority, so I have nothing to give, but if I did and wanted to engage, I would want to engage with others who felt the joy and wonder of the gospel and the church and then explore how we might adapt to the times — that could be a meaningful conversation. I don’t think I could engage effectively if the well was already poisoned and I was already cast as the enemy dealing with others making demands. This thought relates to the last sentence of narrative no. 3. Although I don’t at present support women’s ordination, and don’t see it as necessary, a faithful narrative is the only way I can imagine it happening. Words like oppressive and demeaning and unhealthy and sexist and unequal tend to drive me away..

    And I wonder if some day the Lord might ask why we were fixated on priesthood ordination, when women had so many other things they needed to be doing? Is it possible that the Lord’s plan might include a third way, rather than accepting the world’s idea of what is progressive (which pretty much translates to “same as men”)?

    There is much truth here than could be applied to so many topics.

  68. Jax on July 20, 2014 at 11:54 pm

    First, I think God cares about most things that important to us. I care when my child loses a pet — even if I didn’t particularly care for the pet, because I love my child. In the same why I think God cares about things that may not matter in the grand scheme of things if they matter to us.

    Agreed! Wholeheartedly!! I think He does care like that. But just because I’m sad my dog died doesn’t mean He resurrects my dog. Just because some women want the priesthood… (see your 2nd point)

    But I think He cares more that people are willing to leave the church because of this. I bet He cares a LOT about that. And I think the GA’s care about it, because they care about those people, not those numbers. And that is why I think they have done what they’ve done with as many press releases as they’ve given, the Ally Isom interview, women praying in GC, etc. They want to do what they CAN do to make women happy in the church. And I bet if they felt like they could give women the priesthood, that they would. Conversely, I also think this is why KK was exed. Because her efforts to recruit women made those women less satisfied in the church – it was destroying their belief in its divine authority and overall goodness. “If you will read all this stuff you’ll see that you poor women have been treated badly. You should be upset about it and join with us to make it better…” That isn’t a positive.

    Third, there is doctrine regarding female priest(ess)hood and female deity. We just know next to nothing about them.

    Does the ask/recieve pattern of revelation include mission statements that women must be ordained? Is there any other way women could be preistesses without having the priesthood? (maybe God uses that term any woman married to a priest? IDK, just ONE possibility) Your point here is that there is a lack of info, which there is. But the OP’s point is that we know enough to know we need to change our paradigm of thought about the priesthood. And most who agree with that say that they know the current policy is sexist. I’d agree with you, that we don’t know enough (yet – hopefully), and therefore we can’t say that it needs to be changed.

    Fourth, the specific topic here is one of an enormous exclusion that comes — as far as I can tell — from policy based on tradition.

    A tradition that is centered around God and Christ and their interactions with mankind. A tradition that created an entire city so good that it was taken from a fallen world. A tradition that has led to generations of peace, prosperity, righteousness, equality, and love with no contentions (4 Nephi 1-22; especially 15-16). Every commandment given can be kept, and every promised blessing received using the already given structure and tradition. We haven’t achieved them in our day, not because women don’t have the priesthood, but because of other shortcomings/faults/traditions/paradigms that are MUCH MUCH more “pressing” than female ordination.

    I did state when mentioning the color of paint, that this FO issue is more important than a building’s color. My father has mostly always been inactive. He doesn’t go because he doesn’t like small room the Elders and HP’s meet in (bit of claustrophia I guess) and how hot it gets with all the people. I’m sure he isn’t the only one, but he has left the church alone for something almost as trivial as paint color. I’m sure God cares that he doesn’t come to church, but the best course of action would be to convince my dad he can enjoy church anyway, not remodel the room for him. Same principle applies here I think. It is the fact the he doesn’t show up that is the real problem, not that the rooms are too small. It is a problem that women are leaving over this, but the leaving is the real problem, not lacking FO.

    Maybe, just maybe, it’s actually a cultural miscue that needlessly precludes half (or more?) of the church from full participation and voice.

    Given the success (mentioned above) of this system even without the “fullness” that we have I don’t think male-only priesthood is the stumbling block that many think it is. I think the stumbling block that causes almost all of our issues as an LDS community is one of being too closely entwined with modern US culture. I think our people would all be happier, more faithful, and blessed more obviously, if they were less like the world. Therefore all the claims that we need to adapt more and more to US culture seem ludicrious to me. I don’t think people are leaving because the Church is not enough like US culture, I think they are leaving because they (those people) are too much like US culture. The problem isn’t that the church needs to change IMO (as unpopular as it may be), but that they need to.

    And I don’t want them to leave. I want them to stay. I don’t want anyone to leave. But I won’t bend over backwards to keep them here if they want to leave.

  69. Steve Smith on July 21, 2014 at 12:38 am

    “But I think He cares more that people are willing to leave the church because of this. I bet He cares a LOT about that. And I think the GA’s care about it, because they care about those people, not those numbers.”

    Well, I think that Jax has acknowledged that the issue of people agitating about women’s ordination is something that is important to the church leadership, even if it isn’t an issue that is important to him. Nuff said. Now why is it important to the church leadership? It could be for a lot of reasons. But I think that it is reasonable to believe that they fear that OW accelerated the trend of women and men pushing against the idea of male-only priesthood, and they want to nip the trend in the bud by becoming increasingly accommodating to women, but also by exing KK. KK’s exing was a warning shot, and we’ll see if it works. I don’t know if the leadership is necessarily opposed, or at least will be opposed in the future, to the idea of ordaining women. But they’re in a tough bind now, for they fear that such an abrupt change would result in some major divisions in the LDS church. I sincerely believe that many of the leaders do care about individuals, but this doesn’t mean that they do not care about numbers. The reading (boasting) of statistics every April is evidence that numbers and perceived growth matter a lot to them. But unfortunately they keep touting a statistic that just really isn’t so. The 15 million statistic, while technically true in terms of number of living people baptized, is really quite a stretch in terms of people who identify themselves as LDS. I would be surprised if there were even 5 million who did so. And even among those who do identify themselves as LDS, it is only a handful in the Mormon corridor and select cities throughout the US, Latin America, and the UK around whom the leadership crafts the church.

  70. Jax on July 21, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Steve,

    Well, I think that Jax has acknowledged that the issue of people agitating about women’s ordination is something that is important to the church leadership, even if it isn’t an issue that is important to him.

    Yes, but again, I think it is only important to them because people are leaving over it. If they were leaving of the building colors then I think building colors would be important to them. Because there is no inherent problem that FO would solve I don’t think they inherently care about it. Conversely, the issue of FO is creating the problem of people leaving the church (the KK effect) and they care about that.

    I think they care about numbers, but I think they care about the individuals behind those numbers. That is all I was trying to say. I don’t think that numbers attending, tithing receipts, or endowments preformed is significant to them as the faithfulness of the individuals and their relationship is Christ.

  71. Mike on July 21, 2014 at 10:17 am

    “Therefore all the claims that we need to adapt more and more to US culture seem ludicrious to me.”

    We are a product of our times and culture. There is no escaping it. So at what point in history would we put the pin in so to speak as the optimal relation between the church and US/world culture? I’m not one to paint the world and culture as going to hell in a hand basket. There are many good and glorious things afoot past and present. I’m all for civil rights and how it has effected the church. I’m all for birth control and the choices it affords. I’m thankful for women rights and those who have advanced it. And for that matter the changing and redefining of the roles we are asked to fill. I’m a fan of evolution, the Big Bang, and other sciencey stuff that opens the working of creation. I think the internet is cool and was a big supporter of Gutenberg before that. I’d bet that if you went back you could find a GA somewhere at sometime railing against most of those things. Imagine if the general US culture hadn’t dragged mormonism into the future.

    Culture is good and evolving for the better. Or at worst a mixed bag. The work of God is moving across many fronts throughout the world.

  72. Alison Moore Smith on July 21, 2014 at 10:36 am

    Naismith:

    Precludes from “full participation and voice”? Do you really want to go there?

    Of course.

    Because a lot of men do not serve as bishops or stake presidents, even thought they have the priesthood and penis.

    Wait, ALL men have penises???? Why didn’t someone tell me this! I thought it was just my family!

    No, they don’t all serve as bishops. And in that way not all men have the same voice, decision-making ability, etc., as other men. But the authoritative positions are ENTIRELY male. There are ZERO female “general authorities.”

    The whole defense from those in American culture is so odd to me, because I almost never see it anywhere BUT in a religious context.

    “Since not all men will be elected president, it makes no difference if women are disallowed from being elected president.”

    “Since not all men go to college, it makes no difference if we ban women from attending college.”

    And this from a church that takes the position that gender is eternal and extremely important!

    Do they also lack “full participation”?

    Last I checked ANY man who lives worthily (and has attained the appropriate age) can: bless/pass the sacrament, baptize his children/investigators/others who ask, confirm same, bless his babies, give healing blessings to anyone who asks.

    Per my last post here, that is the participation that women are excluded from no matter what.

    Or is it possible that all of us who follow the will of the Lord for us are enjoying full participation in the gospel?

    You tell me. I follow the will of the Lord to the best of my ability, but I’ve never been allowed to so much as hold my babies while they were blessed. Sincerely, would that detract for the “specialness” allowed to the circle of men who administer the actual blessing? When did you perform your last baptism?

  73. Alison Moore Smith on July 21, 2014 at 11:17 am

    I said:

    What I don’t see is where the “divinely decreed” doctrinal assertion of male only priesthood is outlined.

    ji said:

    Somehow, even if it were clearly spelled out in the scriptures, or even if there were a new revelation so saying, somehow, I think those who are angry now would still be angry.

    Of course you do, because of your negative assumptions about those of us for whom this is an important issue. But just to set the record straight, if it were clearly divinely decreed, I wouldn’t be angry about it, nor would I debate it. I would probably still want to know why (if it were not explained) and I would absolutely still ask for the undeveloped doctrines of priestesshood and female deity to be developed. Shoot me.

    …to me, the church is the best possible place for women and girls, and men and boys, too.

    ji, if I didn’t share that view, I would have long ago taken my four daughters to a BETTER place. That actually seems obvious to me. Isn’t it? I think it’s the best place because I think it’s God’s church. That doesn’t mean it is impervious to human imperfection and unnecessary cultural prejudices. (History back that up.)

    don’t think I could engage effectively if the well was already poisoned and I was already cast as the enemy dealing with others making demands.

    You realize the “demands” exist on both sides of the issue, right?

    And I wonder if some day the Lord might ask why we were fixated on priesthood ordination, when women had so many other things they needed to be doing?

    I wonder if some day the Lord might ask why were were so fixated on excluding women from ordination when they had so many things to offer?

    Is it possible that the Lord’s plan might include a third way, rather than accepting the world’s idea of what is progressive (which pretty much translates to “same as men”)?

    Of course. But what IS the “third way”? Given the utterly undeveloped doctrines of priestesshood and female deity, women are not given authoritative information on what that way is.

    Women are given divine models to use as patterns, while at the same time being assured they cannot ever really be like them. So where is the model that is true for us?

  74. Josh Smith on July 21, 2014 at 12:31 pm

    Like.

    James, hopefully I can sit down and type out a more thoughtful response later. I think the direction you take is useful–How *could* female ordination fit within a faithful Mormon narrative? That is, how could we maintain fidelity to our past and still craft a different future?

    This is just me thinking out loud …

    To me, the clearest indicator I have of the hand of God is the natural world. Surely our God does not lack for imagination. His creation is infinitely varied. I think your question, James, about imagining the world differently is a worthy pursuit. Our God is surely a God of infinite possibilities.

  75. ji on July 21, 2014 at 1:40 pm

    Alison Moore Smith,

    Jesus Christ is your model, and mine, and everyone else’s. He is the model for all who want to take their places as sons and daughters of God.

  76. Jax on July 21, 2014 at 10:02 pm

    But even though these presiding authorities hold and exercise all of the keys delegated to men in this dispensation, they are not free to alter the divinely decreed pattern that only men will hold offices in the priesthood.

    We here all over T&S and other blogs about how sexist it is to withhold preisthood ordination from women. But since that is “divinely decreed,” do those of you who feel that way think that God, the one who made the decree, is therefore sexist?

    If that the male-only ordination is sexist but you don’t believe that God is sexist, how do you reconcile the fact that He decreed half the population won’t be ordained to priesthood offices because of their sex?

  77. James Olsen on July 22, 2014 at 4:53 am

    Jax – I hate the phrase “work smarter, not harder.” I developed a bad taste in my mouth with that phrase while on my mission. It was almost always used by those not really interested in work at all, and who (with greater and lesser degrees of self-deception success) rationalized that merely hanging out with members was the smarter way to go.

    But every now and then there pop up examples illustrating the common sense that lies behind that phrase. You’re one of those examples. You’re expending a massive amount of time at T&S – I’m fairly confident you spend more time here than I do. And it’s probably also true that you’ve spent more time on this post than I have. But your comments show a remarkably consistent inability to grasp the actual arguments being discussed, accurately articulate others’ positions, and then craft a response that actually speaks to the point in question. Some of that we can surely chalk up to bloggernacle bluster – it’s not that you can’t understand, it’s that you’ve got another point you care so much about pressing that you rhetorically pretend like it’s relevant (great example: “We here [sic] all over T&S and other blogs about how sexist it is to withhold preisthood [sic] ordination from women” – maybe I’m wrong, but given the amount of time you spend with us, I strongly suspect you know this is either flatly false (if you’re referring to actual posts) or at best misleading (if you’re referring to commenters)).

    But in general, if you reversed your proportion of typing to reading/thinking carefully, you’d exponentially increase your relevance.

  78. Naismith on July 22, 2014 at 8:09 am

    But the authoritative positions are ENTIRELY male. There are ZERO female “general authorities.”

    And this is a problem because….? If the Lord’s church operates on servant leadership, in which the will of the leader is subservient to the will of the Lord, then does it really matter who is doing the asking on their knees? Wouldn’t we all come up with the same answer, as long as all voices are being heard in the council process that precedes the final decision?

    If I felt, as other women have reported, that people didn’t listen to me because I am a woman, then I would certainly have a different attitude. But when I went in for a temple recommend recently, the interview started (as it generally does, and what also happens at tithing settlement) and ended by the priesthood leader asking if I had questions or concerns. And in serving as an RS president, there were so many times that I was prepared to go in and argue for something, only to find out that the bishopric either had the same inspiration, or acknowledged that they knew it wasn’t right but couldn’t see how to fix it, so they were grateful for my solution and jumped on it.

    I am not going to claim my experience is more common than the horror stories we hear. But it is not all horror stories, either. And because of my powerful experiences in serving with male leaders, it is hard to convince me that life would be better if the bishop had been a woman.

    The whole defense from those in American culture is so odd to me, because I almost never see it anywhere BUT in a religious context.

    In other venues of leadership, people “in authority” have more power to exert their own will. Because in the church we are all going trying to do the Lord’s will rather than our own. Also, drawing from my experience in other contexts, I have no confidence that women would somehow be better leaders, since my female bosses have been the least supportive of my life goals. And again, I am not claiming that my horror stories are more common than others’ experiences, but it does color my viewpoint.

    I follow the will of the Lord to the best of my ability, but I’ve never been allowed to so much as hold my babies while they were blessed. Sincerely, would that detract for the “specialness” allowed to the circle of men who administer the actual blessing?

    Not sure what your point is. Are you expecting us all to laugh at how silly this is? Of course you are entitled to your opinion, but I am hesitant about taking anything away from men, because it has been so effective in keeping them engaged and involved in religion and family. There is a body of literature on the “disappearing male” in other mainstream religions, which I will not cite again to save space. But I don’t think the answer is as obvious as it might seem.

    (For me, I took notes during my babies’ blessings so that they would know what was in the blessing later.)

    Given the utterly undeveloped doctrines of priestesshood and female deity, women are not given authoritative information on what that way is.

    And is that the church’s “fault” or is it Heavenly Mother’s choice to let her husband and son sit on the stand? And do we have enough information in the example of Jesus Christ that we can do what we need to?

    I do not mean to make light of anyone’s questions, and I am not even opposed to female ordination. I agree that outside-the-box thinking is a worthwhile exercise. But I have found that we tend to get what we need, not what we want, so it does not disturb me as much when not all questions are answered when I would like them to be.

  79. DQ on July 22, 2014 at 8:42 am

    The pressing issue for me is the world it’s followers gets so offended when you imply to boys and girls that their primary role in life is to grow to be good mothers and fathers. Culturally it was always understood that parenthood is a phase of life that comes with adulthood. We’ve turned away from our God-given (and God creating) biology in the name of taking offense on that issue. The church even shys away from this issue, probably to our detriment.

    So many people are in perpetual limbo in their lives, which brings all sorts of social problems as the ideal is no longer family. And even where we pay lip service to the ideal of family, we don’t actually spend much time supporting that goal in our raising of each generation, which we view as a side-job and then progressively wonder what’s wrong with “kids these days…”.

    My point in this is that I’m bothered because rather than teaching and showing to my daughter real life role models of strong womanhood, which should almost perfectly be correlated with and defined by motherhood, we’re sowing discontent by encouraging the pursuit of things which create more discontent.

    It’s the progressives who are denying science here. From the beginning our bodies were not only designed to procreate, but we were actually commanded to do so. We should be actively supporting that more, but instead we’re afraid to because of the infectious feminist mindset. So young women grow up not only running from their primary focus in life, but practically terrified and totally unprepared for it (because the only lesson and training they get is, typically silly platitudes about marrying a return missionary or some such). Meanwhile, boys grow up seeking entertainment and a deferment of responsibilities, as they feel totally unprepared since they’re not taught effectively what their life’s focused should be.

    I realize this rant seems tangential to this discussion, but in many ways this discussion perpetuates and exacerbates the issue I’m talking about because were very clearly focusing on the wrong thing and looking for solutions to the wrong problems, while the really problems compound with every generation.

  80. Brain Larsen on July 22, 2014 at 9:03 am

    DQ, you’re right. That was tangential. You paint inaccurate positions onto a group of people who are talking about something entirely different: a narrative about priesthood has little or no relation to your projection of people trying to steer men or women from parenthood. If I argued, say for men and women to be working as equal partners, or for women to be strong leaders, you might hear that I said they have should be different and that women should not be mothers, but you would be wrong. Please see James’ comment above.

  81. Jax on July 22, 2014 at 9:07 am

    then does it really matter who is doing the asking on their knees? Wouldn’t we all come up with the same answer, as long as all voices are being heard in the council process that precedes the final decision?

    Naismith, I think this sentence proves their point. If doesn’t matter, then why keep women from doing it?? I think it does matter. It matters that the person fulfilling certain callings are the people God has selected, and for His own reasons He has selected men and not women. We don’t know why, but He has.

  82. Steve Smith on July 22, 2014 at 9:57 am

    DQ, luckily there are a few procreation paradises left in this god-forsaken world (which is going to hell in a handbasket, that’s for sure) where feminism’s gangly, immoral, and unscientific tentacles have yet to reach: northern Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Praise be to God that in those havens of morality the women are not being exposed to evil education (of any sort) and are just getting married off (women are commonly married by the age of 15) before they become temptresses who woo men into sin. They spend their lives having lots and lots of babies (the average per female is seven) and live in blissful societies that recognize God-given gender roles. There the females know their place, which is the home, and hardly ever leave it. If they do, they are sure to dress modestly by covering their hair and bodies (and in some cases even their faces) so as to not tempt men. In some of these moral bastions, people go the extra mile and surgically alter the females’ reproductive organs at a young age so as to calm down their sex drives when they are older. As the apocalypse is soon coming upon us, I think that we should either consider migrating there or changing our social norms so as to more greatly reflect theirs. Oh the immorality caused by feminism!!!!

  83. DQ on July 22, 2014 at 11:21 am

    Steve,
    Your reply is foolishness on display. The family is paramount, and that much should be clear to anyone religious or not. We give lip service to the family at all levels of the church and don’t even give lip service in society any more. It’s an issue.

  84. Mike on July 22, 2014 at 11:39 am

    Let me jump into this with a disclaimer. I’m by no means a thought leader, theologically literate, or educated on the finer points of human consciousness. Nor am I an active church going mormon. But I am a man who has continues to view life and its experiences through a mormon lens and see this church as both a blessing and a burden.

    When I read DQs thoughts (post 79) I must take them seriously because I think that this is the logical conclusion that one may take given the current and historical commentary within the church regarding gender, roles and the priesthood. For me, when something, a thought or a doctrine, doesn’t resonate I must either double down and fortify that thought/doctrine/behavior with additional thinking and rational or step outside of it and reevaluate its meanings, origins, interests/bias and applications. An example of doubling down would be the past issue of race and the priesthood. So much thought and spiritual talent went into making sense of that that we had the false doctrines of “fence sitting” and the likes. Where else are we dong that? The eternal family? Marriage? Exalted sex and procreation?

    Regarding the issue of priesthood ordination (at least at this point in my life) I prefer to step outside of it. Why is this so? How did we get here? If revelation and doctrine is a sausage making endeavor between God and humankind what’s the beef and whats the artificial fillers?

    I’m open to a third way. Or a fourth, fifth or sixth. Perhaps our current understanding of the priesthood is similar to Joseph’s use of the seer stones, a tangible help needed to lay hold of a much larger, more conceptually abstract principle of revelation/communication with the divine. Perhaps our limited and culture bound minds aren’t ready to expand beyond their self imposed horizons. Perhaps it will only come in fits and starts, the preferred method of growth.

    Or maybe we just need to double down on the existing doctrine, seek faith and soldier on.

  85. Steve Smith on July 22, 2014 at 1:03 pm

    DQ, did you forget what you wrote in comment 79?

    “It’s the progressives who are denying science here. From the beginning our bodies were not only designed to procreate, but we were actually commanded to do so. We should be actively supporting that more, but instead we’re afraid to because of the infectious feminist mindset.”

    So according to your logic, societies that are procreating at high rates and that are based on strong gender role norms (such as most of Africa and the Middle East) should be lauded. The idea that the “family is paramount” is exactly what is said in cultures that practice female genital mutilation and early childhood marriage. They’re protecting the family from some boogeyman liberal that will erode tradition and cause societal collapse. The family is most certainly not paramount. The family can play an important role in society, but the family can also deprive children of basic individual rights. Secular governments play an equally important role in protecting individual rights and freedoms from some oppressive family norms. Comments 79 and 83 suggest that you are not only drunk with religious zealotry but that you live in a bubble and are absolutely ignorant about culture and society outside Mormonism. You think that the liberalism, science, and feminism are cesspools of immorality that are destroying society and that the way to remedy their evil influences is to encourage procreation. Well, voila, Afghanistan must be an ideal society. There is no feminism, liberalism, and acceptance of science (or at least anti-procreation science) there. And the women get married young and have lots of babies. This so-called “world” you are attacking is largely a straw man of your creation. You’re ignorant to the fact that the highest procreating places in the world are also the places where people truly suffer the most.

  86. Jax on July 22, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    The family is most certainly not paramount. The family can play an important role in society,

    section 1.1.1 of CHI Book 2 says this

    The family is ordained of God. It is the most important unit in time and in eternity.

    I’m not sure how you define “paramount,” but calling it “the most important unit in time and in eternity” seems to fit my idea of “paramount.” Secular governments DO NOT play an equally important role.

  87. Brian Larsen on July 22, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Guys, the linguist in me cries out yet again; paramount means nothing is more important or greater than it. Families are not paramount. That would be Christ, which I’m sure you all meant.

  88. Mike on July 22, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    The family unit is great but it is only a start. Actually if we are looking at this in an elemental level of sorts the true foundational unit is the individual and Christ (as per Brian). Beyond that we typically extend our loving relationships to family, tribe, country, and other like minded groupings wherein exists a natural affinity. Christ has called us to extend our loving relationships beyond those natural groups. He sought to redefine the meaning of neighbor, prayed that all might be one, purposely ministered to the outcast. We are likewise called to extend our definition of family. To those family members who have gone before us, to those who become family through a rebirth in Christ, to see in all the divine parentage of common Heavenly Parents. The family is important as a starting place for loving and teaching and experiencing. But amid the reality of fallen world families and never realized dreams we are called to love more and love bigger.

  89. Cameron N on July 22, 2014 at 4:36 pm

    Perhaps a more concise way to word it MIke would be ‘who is my brother or my mother?’ or better yet ‘we are all family, children of the same father.’

  90. Mike on July 22, 2014 at 6:03 pm

    Did you just call me verbose? :)

  91. Steve Smith on July 22, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    To those still not understanding my point: yes, good parenting (which seems to be what is meant by the term ‘family’) plays an important role in childhood development and the overall well-being of society. However, every year an estimated 14 million girls are forced into marriages before their 18th birthday by their families. This is often done because male suitors are willing to pay a handsome bride price. But the families (meaning fathers) forcing their daughters into underage marriage don’t usually cite money as the justification behind their action. No, they cite tradition, religion, female chastity, and family values. Some 125 million females alive today have been the victims of genital mutilation. Again, no insignificant number. Why? The same reasons: religion, chastity, family values. Who is responsible for this? The big bad government? No, the families and communities themselves who are beholden to erroneous and unjust traditional beliefs and social norms imposed by individual communities. So is the family still of paramount importance in these cases? No. I am pretty sure that everyone will agree.

    As for the secular government’s supposed unimportant role in protecting individual rights: who do you think protected your right to not be physically and emotionally abused by your parents, Jax? Who do you think protected your right to education, healthcare, food and water, not being forced to work, not being forced to marry, etc.? That’s right, laws originated and passed by other just human beings which are enforced by our wonderful secular government here in the US. You could say that your parents were loving parents. That may be. But millions upon millions of children are deprived of their god-given rights to care and protection by their own families, who hurt them all in the name family.

    Sources:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-28401068
    http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

  92. Naismith on July 22, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    Afghanistan must be an ideal society.

    I don’t agree with that, but neither do I find USAmerican culture to be ideal when it comes to supporting women who choose to become mothers. When I became pregnant with my fourth child, my non-LDS mother told me that I was “ruining my life.” My graduate school mentor was tersely disappointed. My neighbors assumed that I had accidentally gotten pregnant when going off the pill at age 35, and offered sympathy. I got absolutely zero support outside of the church.

    Church was great. I could share that I felt strongly this spirit wanted to come into our family. I felt great peace that I was doing what I should be doing in my life at that time.

    I am not the only one to find that USAmerican society is not supportive of mothers, and that feminists have done little to fight for the rights of mothers. In Ann Crittenden’s book “The Price of Motherhood: Why the Most Important Job in the World Is Still the Least Valued” she takes feminism to task, and for a few years after it was published, the National Organization for Women actually had a bit on their web site about caregiving, and suggesting that people should get up to five years of social security credit for caregiving (again pushing a certain agenda regarding family size).

    So to me, the ideal society is one in which such choices are left up to a woman and her husband, and we support one another in whatever choice is made.

    …live in a bubble and are absolutely ignorant about culture and society outside Mormonism.

    As it happened, that fourth child was only one of two born in our ward that year, and the other family moved out. So I had to be in a playgroup with all non-LDS women. None of these women were at home with kids as their first choice, they were all there as a plan B. For one mom, because her husband had a chance to be Chief Resident and they felt they couldn’t do it unless she handled the homefront for that year. Another had been forced to give up her job when she was put on bed rest during pregnancy. Some felt that their childcare arrangements weren’t good enough. They were hungry to hear about LDS teachings about the value of motherhood, and that my husband and I were equal partners, even though I wasn’t earning a salary at the time. Whenever we had a general conference or women’s conference, they always wanted to know what was said about moms.

    Currently, many of my colleagues are young mothers, and they live in such fear. They are adamant that, “you can’t have more than one child” and “you can’t take time off work.” The only standard of equality they know is being able to do what men do.

    And I can understand why they think that way, because our organization makes it hard for people to be employed part-time, or return to the workplace after some years working at home. I have been able to have a part-time professional appointment for some years, but only because I have certain skillz that they can’t get anywhere else. But it is a constant struggle to keep the part-time gig.. And my female bosses have been rather ugly about it, informing me that my family doesn’t need me as much as I think. (Gee whiz, I would never tell them what their family needs!)

    So going back to the OP and the idea of re-imagining things, I would love to hear (1) alternative visions of how mothers would be just as supportive if priesthood was not a male role and/or (2) how the genders can be equal without ordination, which is something that KK has denied is possible.

  93. Mike on July 22, 2014 at 6:59 pm

    Now I am going to truly speak outside of my area of expertise or experience but…
    US culture may not be ideal in fully supporting women but lets not forget important ways that it has. If you want to take birth control for whatever reasons, that’s feminism. If you want to be considered an equal partner or co-preside with your husband, that’s feminism. If you did want to have the option to work and not just out of necessity but because you see an individual life pursuit found in a career to be fulfilling of your nature, that’s feminism. And culture has pulled the church along that path.

    Do I begrudge the church for its conservative, traditional approach? Yea I think I do but I also believe that the church as an organization and culture (both eastern and western) are to be as leavening agents to one another. God is pursuing the enlightenment of His children along all fronts.

    Now back to the OP, I am blind to the need for priesthood ordination for women. The Mormon women in my life are not agitating for it. On the contrary they feel valued as women in the church. But OW has brought up a couple of thoughts that must be worth entertaining.

    1. Are there those in the church who are feeling less-than? If so what can be done to help lighten the personal burden? Is ordination the only answer? Or is there the need for a more robust response other than the binary of priesthood=motherhood?

    2. And if women can’t hold the priesthood what is the doctrinal reasons why? How does this effect our understanding of eternal gender?

    I hope I have been respectful of the opinions shared here. I have only one lens through which to view life and am completely open to looking through yours.

    And thanks all for ruining my nap time.

  94. Jax on July 22, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    As for the secular government’s supposed unimportant role in protecting individual rights: who do you think protected your right to not be physically and emotionally abused by your parents, Jax? Who do you think protected your right to education, healthcare, food and water, not being forced to work, not being forced to marry, etc.?

    First, I didn’t say government was “unimportant” but that do not play an equal role to families. Second, the government protects almost nobody from abuse. If it did, then nobody would be abused, right? Despite government’s “protections” and rules against it, people are still murdered, raped, defrauded, robbed, abused… etc. Gov’t doesn’t protect anybody, all they do is hand out punishment after the fact. Who protected me from abuse, crime, terror??? Family!!

    Unfortunately not all families are as good as mine was (and it wasn’t stellar), which is why one of the main functions/goals of the chruch is to strengthen families. To teach repentence/goodness/godliness to those who have wrong ideas about God, who He is, and what He wants from them. You say that Africa and the Middle East is what you get when you value family too much, but they have governments there too you know. Their governments are bad because their families are bad, and they have very bad ideas about family (as you’ve correctly pointed out). If their families (and ideas about families) could be improved then their government would improve as well.

    Same goes from here in the US. If we continue to destroy families and the idea of families then government will continue to decline. If we can keep families strong and family ideals strong, then our government will stay strong and good.

  95. ji on July 22, 2014 at 8:05 pm

    Naismith, I appreciate your no. 92. May God bless you as you take care of your children.

    The only standard of equality they know is being able to do what men do.

    And this is sad.

  96. Naismith on July 23, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    If you want to be considered an equal partner or co-preside with your husband, that’s feminism.

    Um, no, that is Spencer W Kimball and L. Tom Perry among others When I joined the church, I was a card-carrying feminist (literally, I had renewed my NOW membership that same year). I was interested in the church because of the true equality that I saw lived in LDS marriages where there was an equal partnership. There were questions and concerns that the feminist groups with which I was involved could not answer, and they were so dismissive of the work of motherhood.

    Do I begrudge the church for its conservative, traditional approach?

    And I guess that is where we differ. I do NOT see the church as taking a conservative or traditional approach. The church offers a radically different “third way” that is not same-equal, nor is it fathers-know-best. It is complementary, with neither being less.

  97. Alison Moore Smith on July 24, 2014 at 10:47 pm

    ji:

    Jesus Christ is your model, and mine, and everyone else’s. He is the model for all who want to take their places as sons and daughters of God.

    He’s a model for character traits. I can’t become Christ.

    The church uses our Heavenly Father as a model for men/fatherhood explicitly:

    Men on Earth have the opportunity to become fathers and experience some of the same joys that our Heavenly Father feels for us. Fatherhood is a divine responsibility to be cherished.

    Noble fatherhood gives us a glimpse of the divine.

    I am a father. I am also a son. And while I may not understand all that he does for me, I do know that all that I am and all that I have is because he’s a father to me.

    I know stand very aware of how it all came to be.

    If he is the model the church claims he is, it would be good for women to have a similar model.

  98. Alison Moore Smith on July 24, 2014 at 10:53 pm

    Jax:

    But since that is “divinely decreed,” do those of you who feel that way think that God, the one who made the decree, is therefore sexist?

    Can I ask again where that divine decree is? I’ve been looking for 46 years and I’m still at it. As I’m sure you’ve heard, Ally Isom says it’s not written anywhere in our doctrine. The best answer I got recently was that women are doctrinally banned from ever holding the priesthood in The Family — which, strangely, doesn’t mention the word “priesthood” even once.

    Yes, I’ve heard REFERENCES to the supposed doctrine, but nothing showing the doctrine itself.

  99. Alison Moore Smith on July 24, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    I said:

    But the authoritative positions are ENTIRELY male. There are ZERO female “general authorities.”

    Naismith:

    And this is a problem because….? If the Lord’s church operates on servant leadership, in which the will of the leader is subservient to the will of the Lord, then does it really matter who is doing the asking on their knees? Wouldn’t we all come up with the same answer, as long as all voices are being heard in the council process that precedes the final decision?

    It’s not the answers, it’s the questions. The pattern is that God answers the questions he’s asked (if he feels it’s appropriate) and rarely poofs knowledge on anyone. The pattern also is that people (leaders and the rest of us alike) ask the questions that are on our radar, not things we think (as President Hinckley said) aren’t a problem.

    Do you think President Monson is praying about whether or not to change the hymn book colors back to navy blue? (I mean, if he’s inspired, isn’t EVERYTHING on his radar?)

    I’m guessing it wasn’t one of the 12 who recognized the problem with mastectomy prosthesis sliding off garments, resulting in the change of requirement in how garments are worn. Inspired as they are, I’m guessing President Benson wasn’t praying nightly about that problem. I’m guessing some woman brought up the issue and someone pushed it to the decision makers.

    Remember how the church says men and women are eternally different? And how important that is? If it’s true, it likely means we have some dissimilar things on our radars, too.

    …but I am hesitant about taking anything away from men, because it has been so effective in keeping them engaged and involved in religion and family.

    Who is proposing taking something away from men, other than exclusivity? As I’ve said before, if keeping women out is what makes the priesthood special, we’ve got serious problems.

    And is that the church’s “fault” or is it Heavenly Mother’s choice to let her husband and son sit on the stand?

    Neither of us know, do we?

    When my husband was the high councilor assigned over Young Women, he went to a stake YOUTH LEADER training meeting. The man in charge talked exclusively about scouts (and dressed in a scout uniform). Sam kept expecting YW to come up, but it never did. Finally when the man asked for question at the end, Sam said, “What about the Young Women?”

    The man was rather horrified because it just hadn’t occurred to him. He prepared and planned, but did so from a male perspective and when he thought of youth, he thought of YM…not YW>

    A number of years ago when I was in the YW presidency, the bishop provided for all the boys to certify in SCUBA. The girls wanted to go, but were not invited. We asked the bishop if the girls were going to be allowed to have some kind of “super activity.”

    The bishop (a wonderful man) was chagrined. When he was thinking about how to serve, he thought of YM (because he WAS one) and knew what they would like to do. YW weren’t on his radar the same way.

    I’m guessing that men — those incredibly eternally different creatures, even really decent, inspired ones — see things from a male perspective most of the time. And I’m guessing that seeing a male perspective in deity, in scriptures, in the temple, in _______ feels fulfilling enough that their’s little need to keep looking. And when they have a corner on the market in authoritative statements, it might be a problematic.

    I do not mean to make light of anyone’s questions…

    Except to titter at how “silly” they are. Other than that…

  100. Alison Moore Smith on July 24, 2014 at 11:30 pm

    Good golly, Miss Molly. I swear this is my last comment tonight…

    Naismith:

    (1) alternative visions of how mothers would be just as supportive if priesthood was not a male role

    When I had little children my husband was, literally, ALWAYS in a calling that took him away for many, many hours a week and most of Sunday, sometimes in another county (depending on where we lived). I always sat alone on the pew and often my husband was required to attend another ward, if he wasn’t on the stand.

    When I was a kid, my dad was very often away serving, including years at a time as bishop in a student ward or as branch president at the MTC.

    Historically men were sent on missions, leaving their families behind for years.

    In other words, I don’t see how male-only priesthood is necessarily supportive of motherhood or is more supportive than a shared priesthood model would be.

    (2) how the genders can be equal without ordination, which is something that KK has denied is possible.

    The reason I did not join OW was because I leave open the possibility that the equality the church claims could mean many things, even though I do not think it is realized now. Two very undeveloped ideas:

    1- Priestesshood — our own priesthood

    2- Greater doctrinal understanding of Heavenly Mother and our eternal model

    I’d also love to hear other ideas about #2.

  101. Cameron N on July 25, 2014 at 1:01 am

    The ‘divinely decreed’ quoted here omits the following word, ‘pattern’ that Elder Oaks chose. I don’t have much to add, other than I’m glad our recent bishops have been so aware of the needs of all ward members equally, and that I feel bad both for victims of insensitive or thoughtless mistakes that make women and young women feel forgotten.

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