30: Mormon Women and Equality

May 3, 2011
By

Michael Otterson, head of the LDS Church’s Public Affairs department, recently wrote a short piece for the Washington Post‘s “On Faith” blog titled, “What Mormon Equality Looks Like.” In his post, he cites three anonymous LDS women who assert their equality with men in terms of access to pulpits to teach and pray, their chances to preside over Church organizations, their equality “in the eyes of God, as equal halves of a divine pair and equal partners in his work, which includes the raising of families,” as well as equality in their rights to “direct access to God through prayer for inspiration, personal guidance and forgiveness of sins.” Women, he asserts, are “incredible,” and the church “would not be nearly the organization it is today without the women who comprise more than half of its adult membership

Otterson’s depiction of equality led to a great deal of discussion on various LDS blogs, including a wonderfully executed piece of satire by Kristine Haglund in which she compared women’s equality with the type of equality her children enjoy as a member of her family. In this episode, Haglund is joined by two other panelists, Jana Riess (who wrote a great follow-up to Kristine’s post) and Joanna Brooks, along with host Dan Wotherspoon in an animated, far-ranging, and very insightful discussion of the roles of Mormon women today. How can we raise the level of discourse on women within the Church beyond the issues of priesthood ordination and claims by many LDS women to be completely fulfilled? Are there theological insights or practices that might lead the Church to utilize women’s gifts more fully? What strategies do the panelists find most helpful as they boldly speak out on difficult issues while still maintaining full activity in the church and good relationships with members and leaders? What renews their faith and encourages them to remain engaged?

Tags: , , , , ,

99 Responses to 30: Mormon Women and Equality

  1. May 4, 2011 at 8:06 am

    Thank you for this podcast. Finally some open discussion on the obvious inequalities. I’m even one of those women who don’t want the priesthood :) but that doesn’t mean it is okay for women not to be ‘allowed’. As far as non-priesthood roles, I see women as very strong locally. Perhaps that is a regional thing, idk, I could be totally wrong.

    I really enjoyed the part about ‘running the excommunication tapes’. I am continually warned by ex-mormons that my questioning will get me ostracized and kicked out. While I don’t ‘want’ to lose my calling, I am not afraid of excommunication, but I wasn’t brought up in the church either. For some reason, I found that part of the podcast incredibly honest and even showed a refreshing vulnerability. It raises a question for me. Is there a podcast where people discuss the decision to have a temple recommend or not?

    • LDS Woman
      May 9, 2011 at 5:04 am

      The LDS church is not Thomas S. Monson’s church. It’s the Lord’s church. The prophet receives revelation from the Lord. If you have a problem with women not being “allowed” to hold the Preisthood, you need to take that up with Him. Oh, and by the way, why can’t men bear children? Talk about inequality!!!

      • RachelM
        May 10, 2011 at 8:29 pm

        Stefanie, Not all women get to bear children.

        • LDS Woman
          May 11, 2011 at 12:35 am

          RachelM: Yes, that is true. But, what is your point? Maybe you didn’t catch my point. I find it just as ridiculous to complain about women not being able to hold the Priesthood as it would be to complain about men not being able to bear children. The roles are clearly different. I’m not trying to be insensitive to women who cannot bear children. All righteous women, whether in this life or the next, will have the opportunity to bear children.

          • May 11, 2011 at 3:55 pm

            The fundamental premise here is mistaken. Men DO bear children. They don’t give birth, but they have an equal role in begetting children. The inequality in the LDS concept of priesthood is that exercising this role is restricted only to men. Women have no role at all, except in the generic sense that any person would have in being a recipient of the exercise of it by men.

          • LDS Woman
            May 11, 2011 at 5:40 pm

            Women have a role in the Priesthood just as men have a role in rearing children. Both are major roles and equally important. What you said can also be said about men/women and the Priesthood. “That they (women) don’t hold the Priesthood does not diminish their equal and necessary role in the Priesthood.” The problem here is that everyone seems to think that the church needs to keep up with the “world view” as you stated. This church does not belong to or fit into the world!!! (Thank heavens!) As the Lord stated,”My thoughts are not your thoughts. My ways are not your ways.” The Lord’s church is based on eternal truth. The world view is not. Quit trying to compare the LDS church to the ways of the world. Truth is truth whether the world tries to change it or not! I am so grateful to belong to a church that is grounded in that truth, and does not sway with the trends of the times and the foils of men.

          • May 12, 2011 at 5:57 am

            Well, I can see that this thread is quickly going nowhere. Thanks for your reply. I will just add that the “my ways are not your ways” rubric to defend any and all church practices is really nothing more than a trump card against anyone who disagrees with what you think is right. Yes, it comes down to what you have chosen to believe is right. Choosing to believe that the church’s positions can never be questioned because they ALL come from God is a choice you have made. I don’t happen to share that choice and believe instead that church positions can and have changed and evolved in response to the changing needs and limited human perceptions of its members. Your rubric would simply shut all questioning off and that is why I reject it as you invoke it.

  2. Guest
    May 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    And then we get Julie Beck saying (in effect, I haven’t seen the transcript) in this last weekend’s BYU Women’s Conference that women have the priesthood…kind of:

    “Theme #4 – We have and live with an inseparable connection with the Priesthood.

    Do not confuse the idea of those who hold the priesthood in trust with the power of the priesthood.

    The priesthood duty of sisters is:

    * to create life,
    * nurture it
    * prepare it for covenants with the Lord

    Satan’s way of confusing men and women is to focus on “what brethren have that sisters do not.”

    Every gift and blessing is available to ALL. We are inseparably connected. None can ascend alone – only together.

    HOME is where the Lord expects the priesthood (men and women fulfilling their duties) to work the best.

    Go to the temple and PAY ATTENTION to the blessings and gifts of the priesthood that come.

    Prepare young women and women for temple covenants. It should be the goal of every woman to become sufficiently mature to understand temple covenants.

    The Holy Ghost is a precious revelator.

    “Mine is a home where every hour
    is blessed by the strength of Priesthood power.””

    From http://chocolateonmycranium.blogspot.com/2011/05/byu-womens-conference-2011-sister-julie.html

    • jamaicaTJ
      June 6, 2011 at 9:56 pm

      I love it when people speak for Satan.  I wonder how often he agrees with these things?  I am sure Satan just hates it when people strive for equality!

  3. Kristine Haglund
    May 4, 2011 at 3:04 pm

    I think I actually don’t disagree with Sister Beck, at least insofar as the righteous exercise of spiritual power is concerned. The problem is that “priesthood” has become unfortunately conflated with administrative authority in the church, and to the extent that women are excluded from full participation in church governance by that confusion, I think we’ve got an ecclesiastical problem (though not necessarily a doctrinal or theological one).

    • Jacob Brown
      May 7, 2011 at 4:13 pm

      I heard this somewhere else, but it is interesting that the conflation of administrative authority with priesthood coincided with the phasing out of blessings or healing and annointings by women. I think this probably has something to do with Mormon theologians like Talmage (The Great Apostasy) trying to reframe the foundations of Mormonism in the broader Christian context. This was probably an important issue for the Utah Territory after the isolation of the Great Basin was broken. Federal politics force the leadership to abandon (mostly) polygamy and step out of politics to obtain statehood and allow the religious institution to survive.

      Another force at play was probably the other Mormon sects that challenged the authority of the Brighamite sect. This would be the Mormon fundamentalists who claim the priesthood is separate from the church and allows them to continue the practice of polygamy. Pressure probably also came from the Reorganized LDS who (at the time) would argue polygamy was never practiced by Joseph Smith and that Brigham Young most not have had the authority.Church leadership became concerned about priesthood lineage, apostolic succession, restoration of the priesthood, etc. I guess the fear of losing claim to this authority has led to many changes I would consider mostly damaging to the church as a whole. The role of women became more restricted, and I suspect this hubris of authority ultimately led to Correlation. Power can be so corrupting.

      Isn’t it so weird though that the church stopped conferring the priesthood for several decades during this mostly not-talked-about time in church history? Church history is fascinating.

  4. Rworth11
    May 4, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I disagree completely with the assertion that by stating she doesn’t want the responsibility of the priesthood a woman is committing sin. In addition to being highly judgmental, this assertion fails to distinguish between “I don’t want the responsibility” and “If God asked me to take on this responsibility I would decline.” The latter may be a sin – maybe. The former is simply an expression of an honest desire and is PARTICULARLY not sinful considering that God has determined that women should not, at this time, hold the priesthood.

    • Kristine Haglund
      May 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      Just out of curiosity, Rworth11, would you think it was sinful for a woman to say the opposite, to say “why, yes, I’d be delighted to hold priesthood office”?

      I was a little taken aback by Jana’s phrasing, too, but I do think it’s a problem that there’s only one acceptable answer to give to the question. And I think Joanna was spot-on to point out that performing appropriate Mormon femininity by saying “I don’t want that responsibility” can be a way to gain status–which I do think is probably a sin.

    • Kristine Haglund
      May 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      Just out of curiosity, Rworth11, would you think it was sinful for a woman to say the opposite, to say “why, yes, I’d be delighted to hold priesthood office”?

      I was a little taken aback by Jana’s phrasing, too, but I do think it’s a problem that there’s only one acceptable answer to give to the question. And I think Joanna was spot-on to point out that performing appropriate Mormon femininity by saying “I don’t want that responsibility” can be a way to gain status–which I do think is probably a sin.

    • Kristine Haglund
      May 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      Just out of curiosity, Rworth11, would you think it was sinful for a woman to say the opposite, to say “why, yes, I’d be delighted to hold priesthood office”?

      I was a little taken aback by Jana’s phrasing, too, but I do think it’s a problem that there’s only one acceptable answer to give to the question. And I think Joanna was spot-on to point out that performing appropriate Mormon femininity by saying “I don’t want that responsibility” can be a way to gain status–which I do think is probably a sin.

    • Kristine Haglund
      May 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm

      Just out of curiosity, Rworth11, would you think it was sinful for a woman to say the opposite, to say “why, yes, I’d be delighted to hold priesthood office”?

      I was a little taken aback by Jana’s phrasing, too, but I do think it’s a problem that there’s only one acceptable answer to give to the question. And I think Joanna was spot-on to point out that performing appropriate Mormon femininity by saying “I don’t want that responsibility” can be a way to gain status–which I do think is probably a sin.

      • Rworth11
        May 4, 2011 at 6:50 pm

        No, I don’t think that necessarily is a sin. I think refusing to accept God’s will on the issue is probably a sin, but I don’t think saying you would agree to hold the priesthood is necessarily a statement of unwillingness to accept God’s will on the matter.

        I am always skeptical when someone divines another’s motives (i.e., that women are trying to gain status). And, frankly, the speculative theory that a woman would deny wanting the priesthood just to gain status doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. It sounds more like an attempt to justify seeking the priesthood by labeling women who say they don’t want it as insincerely seeking status.

        • May 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm

          I think the main point Joanna was making about status is that regardless of whether it is done intentionally or not, prefacing one’s remarks about women’s issues in the church with “I don’t want the priesthood, but…” causes a woman’s remarks to be taken more seriously than they otherwise would be and thereby increases her power and influence.

          • Rworth11
            May 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm

            Carl,

            Your interpretation may be correct, but I’m not sure that was the point the panelists were making. I think their point was that a woman saying she doesn’t want the priesthood is committing a sin. If it’s unintentional, it could hardly be considered a sin. That’s why I believe it was an attempt to attack women who say they don’t want the priesthood as being insincere and seeking status.

          • May 5, 2011 at 6:27 pm

            Only one panelist made that claim, and my comments here were not referring to it. I was referring to Joanna’s subsequent remark about the motivations for and potential consequences of prefacing one’s remarks with this disclaimer. This observations has value separate and distinct from the debate over the sinfulness of not wanting the priesthood. I do believe that people make such disclaimers for a reason, and to that extent their use of them is deliberate, although the relative nobility of their motivations may be open for debate.

  5. Rworth11
    May 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    The assertion that “gender is a social construct” is inaccurate and misleading. Dictionary.com defines the term “gender” as : “sex.” To assert that the use of “gender” in the Proclamation somehow makes the Proclamation ambiguous because you personally prefer the term “sex” is a weak attack on the Proclamation, especially when the term “gender” is defined as “sex.”

  6. Rworth11
    May 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    The assertion that “gender is a social construct” is inaccurate and misleading. Dictionary.com defines the term “gender” as : “sex.” To assert that the use of “gender” in the Proclamation somehow makes the Proclamation ambiguous because you personally prefer the term “sex” is a weak attack on the Proclamation, especially when the term “gender” is defined as “sex.”

    • Joanna Brooks
      May 5, 2011 at 4:13 am

      Rworth: You’re wrong on this. Dictionary.com is not an authoritative source on the definition of sex or gender.

      • Rworth11
        May 5, 2011 at 6:50 am

        Without conceding this (since everything on the internet is always true), Merriam Webster and Oxford both define “gender” as “sex.” Those two sources also include a definition along the lines of “the characteristics of either sex.” However, as noted in the artice that Kristine linked to, discussed below, but in most contexts (outside feminist literature), even in some areas of social sciences, the meaning of gender has expanded to include, and even replace, the word “sex.” In other words, only a feminist interpretation of the Proclamation attempts to confuse the term “gender” and its meaning as it pertains to the Proclamation.

        • Anonymous
          May 5, 2011 at 8:36 am

          Until you can talk about ‘gender before marriage’ or ‘children walking in on you while having gender’ the words will be distinctly different. (Thank heavens!)

          • Rworth11
            May 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm

            Bitherwack,

            Biological sex, not the act. But, you raise a good point – using the word “gender” instead of “sex” in the Proclamation was probably very deliberate for the reasons you mention.

      • May 5, 2011 at 12:21 pm

        I think that it’s important to acknowledge that some dictionary definitions of gender and sex are the same. But it’s also correct to point out that they vary in many usages.

        • Rworth11
          May 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm

          Carl,

          I’m not sure I would agree that they vary in many usages. As Kristine’s article makes clear, in most contexts, even within the social sciences themselves, “gender” has come to mean “biological sex.” It’s when you attempt to interpret a document with a feminist lens that the issues become confused.

          • May 5, 2011 at 6:22 pm

            Rworth11, this comment was not referring specifically to the article. It was merely an attempt to circumscribe and delineate the various ways that the word can be used, in order to acknowledge accuracies and inaccuracies on both sides of this debate between you and some of the panelists.

          • Rhodakanaty
            May 6, 2011 at 12:17 am

            Rworth. take ANY anthropology class, or think for five minutes about the way in which gener is performed differently in different cultures and you will understand that there is no essential male-ness of female-ness anywhere.

  7. Rworth11
    May 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    The assertion that “gender is a social construct” is inaccurate and misleading. Dictionary.com defines the term “gender” as : “sex.” To assert that the use of “gender” in the Proclamation somehow makes the Proclamation ambiguous because you personally prefer the term “sex” is a weak attack on the Proclamation, especially when the term “gender” is defined as “sex.”

  8. Rworth11
    May 4, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    The assertion that “gender is a social construct” is inaccurate and misleading. Dictionary.com defines the term “gender” as : “sex.” To assert that the use of “gender” in the Proclamation somehow makes the Proclamation ambiguous because you personally prefer the term “sex” is a weak attack on the Proclamation, especially when the term “gender” is defined as “sex.”

  9. Kristine Haglund
    May 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    I see your dictionary.com and raise you Wikipedia, as long as we’re going for oversimplification–http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender

  10. Kristine Haglund
    May 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Sorry–that was an overly snarky way of saying that the history of the terms “gender” and “sex” is complicated, but it’s not merely my personal preference to use them as distinct from one another. In the context of the Family Proclamation, it really would be helpful to know whether we’re talking about features of embodiment, or roles in the family and church–the word “gender” refers to both indiscriminately in that document.

    And I’m not sure the link worked:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender

    • Rworth11
      May 4, 2011 at 6:52 pm

      It may be complicated. But my point was that by using the term “gender” the Proclamation does not become ambiguous. I think you could substitute the word “sex” for “gender” in the Proclamation. However, maybe the authors just didn’t want to use the word “sex” for obvious reasons.

    • Rworth11
      May 5, 2011 at 12:05 am

      Kristine,

      I find the following quote from the article you linked to regarding gender very interesting:

      “However, Money’s meaning of the word [gender, defined as a social construct] did not become widespread until the 1970s, when feminist theory embraced the distinction between biological sex and the social construct of gender. Today, the distinction is strictly followed in some contexts, like feminist literature,[3] and in documents written by organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO),[4] but in most contexts, even in some areas of social sciences, the meaning of gender has expanded to include “sex” or even to replace the latter word.”

      It is not surprising that in drafting the Proclamation the First Presidency would not use the definition of the term “gender” as it is used in feminist literature. Rather, they would use the definition of that word in “most contexts,” in which it has been expanded to include – or even to replace – “sex.” In other words, use of the word “gender” in the Proclamation would only make the document appear ambiguous when filtered through a feminist context.

  11. Dan Wotherspoon
    May 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    Reflecting on Kristine Haglund’s satirical piece at By Common Consent, one of the panelists mentioned the classic role-reversal, satirical essay by Elouise Bell, titled “The Meeting.” For those who have never read this piece, I highly recommend it. Here is a link:

    http://content.lib.utah.edu/cdm4/document.php?CISOROOT=/dialogue&CISOPTR=2704&CISOSHOW=2639

    Something I’d planned to slip into the conversation if I’d felt the chance arise also relates to this issue of the many subtle, often unnoticed inequalities that only get seen via satire. In the comments to Jana Riess’s blog post, “Mormon Women Are Men’s Equals, Kind Of Sort Of Maybe”, Carol Lynn Pearson (who has also written her own wonderful role-reversal piece of satire about men and women’s inequality called “A Walk in Pink Moccasins”) wrote: “You can be sure we have reached equality in our church when one day a female leader speaks to LDS men saying, “Brethren you are incredible, and I want you to know your Heavenly Mother and Heavenly Father love you just as much as they love their daughters.”

  12. CatherineWO
    May 4, 2011 at 9:13 pm

    Thank you for this podcast, for the candor and honest discussion. I was especially interested in the observation that being on the margins of Mormonism, as the three of you identify yourselves, gives one more freedom (or at least perceived freedom) to be honest and speak up. I definitely see this in my own situation as circumstances have changed, though I’ve never thought about it before. I really struggled with the Church’s position on the ERA, but kept my feelings entirely to myself at the time. I was then a young mother and the bishop’s wife, and I truly feared losing my “position” if I were to speak my true feelings. Now, as a disabled senior citizen, with no church calling, I am very much in the margins, but I do feel much more freedom to speak my mind.

  13. Anonymous
    May 4, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    The new standard for a podcast’s brilliance should be the amount of time that Dan Wotherspoon is left speechless.

    I really enjoyed this podcast for several reasons. It is refreshing to hear new viewpoints from alternative voices that aren’t the black/white, binary voices we are used to hearing from critics/believers. This should be mandatory listening for all LDS women, even if they don’t agree. The dumb silence that attends our conversations in the chapel regarding women’s issues is hurtful to women.

    Interesting comments by Joanna regarding “running her excommunication tape” after posting to her blogs, etc. Sad that that fear lingers in the minds of feminist women in the church today. I’m glad there are voices like these speaking to current issues involving LDS women, but I wonder where are the voices from the past? Where are the Margaret Tosconos? Someone mentioned the scene from Julia/Julia, where a character in the movie said that she just “didn’t fit in, then, she just didn’t fit in.” If the church wants these voices silenced, it can make it happen. Cue ominous music…

  14. Bec
    May 5, 2011 at 1:35 am

    I really love this, I’m only twenty minutes in and couldn’t wait until the end to comment. Most of this has already been said, but I can’t help myself, I just want to be included as a like minded member of the church. First, I find the fact that women don’t have the priesthood at this point to be pretty ridiculous, it’s about full participation, not power. We supposedly believe it’s possible to progress to being a God and that we have a Heavenly Mother (though like some character out of Harry Potter she’s a name that should not be named and isn’t talked about freely). I shudder to think what the majrity of the church thinks Heavenly Mother does (has endless amounts of spirit children, give me a break).

    Second I loved the discussion on the middle ground. For a very long time priesthood power has been confused with the administration of the church (hmm, right about the same time women were “discouraged” from giving blessings). The idea that men are exercising priesthood power when they serve as ward clerks, sunday school presidents, etc is just silly. The fact that a mother can’t bless her sick child is wrong.

    Again, really really love this, thanks very much to the panel, now to finish listening . . .

    • Anonymous
      May 6, 2011 at 6:35 am

      There is no heavenly mother. As mckonkie said. U worship god the father and god the father alone. Not even jesus. Women have their place. Relief society

  15. CBM
    May 5, 2011 at 2:38 am

    How many people are aware that The Proclamation came out one year after the Catholic church issued a similar proclamation? Do you think there is any connection?

    This is an issue that I have pushed under the carpet over and over through the years, trying to make myself believe that it was all o.k. It’s interesting to have listened to the podcast. Food for thought. But, maybe a little too late for me…

  16. Anonymous
    May 5, 2011 at 12:41 pm

    I’d be interested in hearing advice from Jana, Joanna and Kristine, if you have any, for a man who married at a phase of greater orthodoxy than he currently has and is now struggling to try to interest his wife in these issues. Rather than the now-commonplace narrative of a woman struggling to overcome traditional gender expectations, what would you say to a man who wants to encourage his wife to want more for herself but she’s not interested?

    • Jacob Brown
      May 7, 2011 at 4:15 pm

      I am interesting in an answer to this question as well. I swear my wife is a feminist in denial.

      • Joanna
        May 9, 2011 at 12:54 am

        Feminism is for everyone, right? It’s one of the axioms of feminist thought and practice that everyone is more free when we are not trapped into lives wholly determined by gender roles. I’d say start with yourself: read, think, explore and consider how traditional gender constructs may have shaped or limited your life and the lives of men you care about. A lot of men are as disempowered by rigid patriarchy as women are.

  17. Anonymous
    May 5, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Autonomy restored to the general Relief Society leadership strikes me as absolutely essential.

  18. Anonymous
    May 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Gender can be a difficult word because we essentially have only two words that must function in numerous ways as the concepts continue to be pioneered. ‘Gender transgressive’ is a term I’ve just come across which (if I understand it correctly) means acting in a way that is not considered socially normative for an owner of that particular set of genitalia. ‘Gender roles’ would suggest cultural norms agreed upon for owners of a particular set of genitalia. So I can understand that there will be problem in using the word ‘gender’ as a way of distinguishing the ‘sex of a person’ (are they male or female) from the ‘sex of a person’ (the procreative/recreative act.) A person could be genetically male, and have the socially identified characteristics of a female. What would one consider this person’s ‘gender’ to be? This has a lot to do with the difficulty of using an old language to discuss new concepts.

    • Rworth11
      May 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm

      Bitherwack,

      I don’t think the problem is using “old” language to discuss new concepts, it’s more a matter of using language which is interpreted one way by everyone but feminists (and the World Health Organization) and another way by feminists. I think it’s a bit unrealistic to expect everyone to filter everything they say through a feminist context to make sure there won’t be any ambiguity for feminists. For the rest of the world, the term “gender” as used in the Proclamation is very clear.

    • Rworth11
      May 5, 2011 at 4:54 pm

      Bitherwack,

      I don’t think the problem is using “old” language to discuss new concepts, it’s more a matter of using language which is interpreted one way by everyone but feminists (and the World Health Organization) and another way by feminists. I think it’s a bit unrealistic to expect everyone to filter everything they say through a feminist context to make sure there won’t be any ambiguity for feminists. For the rest of the world, the term “gender” as used in the Proclamation is very clear.

  19. LO
    May 5, 2011 at 6:49 pm

    Jana, Joanna and Kristine, thanks for sharing your thoughts and experience with us. I am a father of three very young ladies (11, 6, and 3), who my wife and I hope to raise to be strong women in an ever changing world. Would you please suggest books, articles, or authors that I could share with them, that could be nurturing to their development as girls, teenagers, and women? Thanks again!!!

  20. Chelsea
    May 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm

    I was in heaven listening to this discussion. Three women I admire so much, speaking about things that are incredibly important to me…just fabulous. And Dan was pretty good too. ;)

    What Joanna said about “playing the tape of your church court” resonated so much with me. I try to speak up at church about women’s issues as often as I can, but every time I do my heart pounds, my mouth goes dry – it is genuine fear that I will not be accepted because of my beliefs. It’s not a good feeling. And yes, for me it does stem from clear memories of the September 6 and my mother’s stories about the ERA. I’m going to make a stronger effort to put my fears aside and live my truth.

    Thank you for a wonderful podcast.

  21. Kristine Haglund
    May 5, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    Rworth11–I’m happy to forego using the words sex and gender altogether if we’re really going to get hung up there. I remain puzzled by some aspects of the Proclamation because there’s no distinction made between differences that are a result of embodiment and differences that are “eternal and essential.” For instance, hormones have a lot to do with mother-infant bonding–does some eternal analog of oxytocin ensure my female tendency to be nurturing? (My insufficiently chocolate-chip-sated children would laugh at the question ;)) Or is there some archetypal Feminine that defined my spirit before mortality and will persist into eternity? These are sincere questions with real-world implications, not just feminist nitpicking–I used “gender” and “sex” as shorthand for those distinctions, because I think that’s a useful contribution to our thinking about the relationship between intelligences and souls and spirits, not because I’m eager to impose feminist terminology on the Brethren (as if!).

    Chelsea, I have those memories, too, but I honestly think the climate is completely different in the church now. (Not all climate change is bad!) Hostility is greatly decreased on both sides of the intellectual/feminist-authority divide. At least that’s my sense (and an intuition corroborated by people much smarter than I).

    • Rworth11
      May 5, 2011 at 9:36 pm

      I don’t really have an answer to your questions. I hope that you find an answer. As far as using the term “gender” in the Proclamation, however, I remain convinced that its meaning is clear, even if not every specific possible question relating to its meaning is answered.

  22. Kristine Haglund
    May 5, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    LO–that’s a great question. I should have a list compiled, but I don’t. The scriptures are a good place to start: Miriam, Rachel, Deborah, Jael, Vashti, Esther, Naomi, Abigail, the daughters of Zelophehad, Huldah, Anna, Phoebe, Junia, Priscilla, Lois, Eunice, Abish… lots of empowering stories there. There are lots of books on women in the Bible that can give some context. Jerrie Hurd wrote a book called _Leaven_, which I think is out of print, that was my first intro. to these women written by a Mormon. For church history there’s Leonard Arrington’s Sunbonnet Sisters (kind of dated, but still great stories), Carol Lynn Pearson’s Daughters of Light, and Claudia Bushman’s edited volume called Mormon Sisters: Women in Early Utah.

    Another really great book that I’m reading with my daughter now is by sisters Heidi Hemming and Julie Hemming Savage–Women Making America. The authors are Mormon, but it’s not a Mormon history book. It’s a general U.S. History with emphasis on women’s contributions as part of the larger narrative (rather than a sideshow, as has often unfortunately been the case in history texts sometimes–men as movers, women as decorators…)

    That’s just off the top of my head; I hope others will chime in!

  23. Chelsea
    May 5, 2011 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks Kristine, I hope you’re right about that!

    I forgot to add that my favorite part of the discussion was when you said that the feelings of the women in the church have nothing to do with our equality – SO true. It frustrates me to no end to hear that, and it comes up over and over and over again whenever the topic is broached.

    • Emilythequeen1
      May 18, 2011 at 10:44 pm

       Especially when we have been told what our place is, had it clearly defined, and are told to “Be Happy.” We have many women experiencing depression in our faith. If they are so happy, why all the sadness??? I think many women in the church have the feelings that they have, only because they have been instructed and taught to have them…if such inequalities were seen in another forum, such as the PTA, Workplace, or Grocery Store, we would loudly dissent. 

  24. Rworth11
    May 5, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Joanna,

    I believe you mentioned that it was your “understanding” that the 1978 revelation regarding blacks and the priesthood was brought about as a result of questions asked by members and the resulting pressure on Church leaders. Did I correctly restate what you said? If so, can you point me toward any documentation or other authority supporting that idea?

    • May 5, 2011 at 9:45 pm

      David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism is a good reference for that information. You can get it on Amazon or at Deseret Book.

      • Kristine Haglund
        May 5, 2011 at 10:41 pm

        Edward Kimball’s bio. of Spencer W. Kimball also.

        • Tad
          May 6, 2011 at 1:19 pm

          http://mormonlife.com/story/1620-president-kimball-now-you-can-read-the-rest-of-the-story/print

          Can’t find a decent link to the original January 2010 SL Tribune article describing this book. The Deseret Book version has a CD with a ton of additional material.

          Quote from the SLT article: “Events leading up to the 1978 priesthood announcement are laid out much more comprehensively, describing potential threats, lawsuits, international developments and research on the doctrinal background of the policy. Spencer Kimball told one interviewer before the change, ‘I don’t know that I should be the one doing this, but if I don’t, my successor [Ezra Taft Benson] won’t.’”

  25. Rhodakanaty
    May 5, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    I LOVE THESE AMAZING POWERFUL WOMEN.

  26. Jacob Brown
    May 6, 2011 at 2:04 am

    I was struck by the guest panelist who said we should look for internal justification as a means of propelling change for a less restricted role of women in the church. At first I thought that was genius. There are plenty of Old Testament and early church history stories to advocate such a change even if there isn’t much in the New Testament, D&C, PoGP, or BoM. That might be compelling.

    Then I wondered what method have Margaret Tuscano, Carol Lynn Pearson, Claudia Bushman, and others been doing all this time? Haven’t they been using church doctrine and history to argue for a more expanded role? They talked about Heavenly Mother, women giving blessings, wonmen running the Releif Society, etc. Not to down play their success, but I don’t think there has been much more than limited change. Maybe the academically-trained third-wave feminists are just giving it a shot and coming at it from their own direction. I say let them have a stab at it.

    Can we really argue that other long coming changes such as disolving the priesthood ban and shelving polygamy have come because of internal doctrinal and theological posturing? What about future or current changes regarding masturbation, birth control, working mothers, homosexuals, etc? Do we even have the source material within Mormonism to bring about changes on these topics? I don’t see much hope for it. I’m no expert on change within the church, but it seems like it usually starts from external pressure and very slowly works its way inward. Have we internalized feminism yet?

    I will be glad however the change comes. So I certainly won’t dismiss those who use Mormon doctrine itself to argue for the cause of women. Let each person find their respectful way to induce change.

    What I really wanted to say though was that it is wonderful to hear such intelligent, thoughtful, respectful, and powerful women in a discussion. I wish there was a place for this within the church (at least where men could observe and joint in too).

    • Dan Wotherspoon
      May 6, 2011 at 4:39 am

      Hi Jacob,

      Thanks for the good comment. If I’m recalling the conversation correctly, I was the one prompting Kristine Haglund to share on the podcast a theme I have heard her speak about from time to time, that we can be more effective in changing the Church’s dialogue and practices if we lift up progressive and big-picture things already present in the gospel rather than importing ideas from external sources. But I am not fully comfortable with how you are imagining the flavor of her message. I should let her speak for herself and hope she will, but for me, how I’ve heard her in the past, and I think here in this conversation also, she does not talk about using these gospel resources for purposes of “justification” or “theological posturing.” On issues like these, argument is rarely effective in bringing about changes of heart. And, at least for me, all the things needed to “internalize feminism” to where it can bring about healthy changes on the topics you list are already within Mormonism. My sense is it can only come through love, faith, caring, service, experiencing and really feeling others truths, etc. For that reason, I say with you more power and voice to women like these and discussions that allow us to truly hear each other.

      • Jacob Brown
        May 7, 2011 at 4:19 pm

        It is certainly possible I misunderstood the whole thing.

  27. Tad
    May 6, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    Wonderful podcast! I love that there are voices out there in the form of nationally recognized bloggers and writers to return the PR volleys lobbed by the Church. Having these voices be faithful (and even as you have admitted, fringe) members, is all the more important.

    I was at a big Young Women training in the Conference Center several months ago with the YW General Presidency, their general board (all women) and some male general authorities (I think an apostle and a few seventies). It was very telling to me that during the Q&A period at the end, Sis. Dalton would sheepishly hand off the “tough” questions to “the Priesthood,” as she called it. I felt humiliated for her.

    As to the discussion comment about a “critical mass” of women in decision-making meetings, I can say that once a month in our ward we have our Ward Council meeting, where we have the RS, YW and Primary presidents present and they do contribute to the discussion, decisions and “group revelation” method that was promoted in the last couple WW Leadership Training meetings. We always did it that way, but this new handbook and focus have given us official license.

    In our ward, the RS President attends PEC meeting (now held once a month; it used to be weekly) and is pretty much a “Vice Bishop” or unofficial third counselor in the Bishopric (although she doesn’t attend bishopric meetings). Her input and opinion are vital. It has been this way since our ward was formed with a rather liberal and very compassionate bishop, and we have carried this over into the next administration. I hope it is always so in our ward. A bishop would be foolish not to get his women leaders’ input. I agree that this doesn’t constitute a “critical mass,” but given the current conditions, it’s a start. I expect that it is similar in many wards throughout the Church.

    Thanks again Joanna, Jana and Kristine for joining Dan to have such an enlightening discussion. You ladies are awesome!

  28. Ascending the Mountain
    May 7, 2011 at 12:37 am

    Mormon Matters, I have left the last 2 podcasts being uplifting
    and exciting about my membership in the church.
    You are all an inspiration to me!

    Jana, Joanna and Kristine, Thank you for vision, toughness
    and courage. I’m a father of 4 little
    girls. This church has so much potential
    and I desperately want it to be better for them. Thank you for being modern day Mormon
    Pioneers! I’m praying for you!

  29. seanzie
    May 7, 2011 at 5:40 am

    An amazing discussion! Thank you for the insight, ideas, humor, and testimonies.

  30. seanzie
    May 7, 2011 at 5:40 am

    An amazing discussion! Thank you for the insight, ideas, humor, and testimonies.

  31. Distracted
    May 7, 2011 at 6:44 am

    And then there’s this: I spent two hours listening to this podcast and reading the original posts and subsequent comments when the rest of the priesthood in my stake were out on a fathers and sons campout. Oh the delicious irony!

  32. Gail F. Bartholomew
    May 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    As an eleven year old boy I attended a priesthood preview with my Dad. I was taught that night that the priesthood was the power to act in Gods name. In the subsequent 30 years as a member I believe this is the most correct theological description I have seen of the priesthood. I challenge any LDS male from President Monson on down to make a coherent argument that the women in his life do not have the power to act in God’s name. The callings the church have chosen to label as priesthood callings all have to do with church governance and the brethren have chosen to only allow men to have governance in the church. It is all about powers, dominions, and principalities. These callings are about having dominion over others. Yes we men are taught to have righteous dominion, or rather we are taught to not have unrighteous dominion. The church would like us to give our wives responsibilities and listen to them. I believe the church wants men to be king Benjamens, and king Mosiahs in their homes, and not to be king Noahs. But this still does not make husbands and wives equal partners. It makes fathers the ones who preside in the home, a verb that always means control. This I believe points out one of the most obvious contradictions in the Proclamation, but the more I read it and see how the church uses it I believe it to be a contradiction its self. A document that was written to justify our politically actions against homosexuality and gay marriage yet says nothing on the subject at all. Yes it attempts to imply a lot on this subject, but does so feebly. Also it is a document that claims to promote protection of marriage and families, yet the church only uses it to try to destroy a specific subset of marriages and families. The church had never used this document to promote political actions that would promote or strengthen any families.

  33. Anonymous
    May 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    I was perplexed after the new handbook of instructions came out and saw that I could no longer have a sister as a secretary in my Sunday School Presidency. Sunday School is not a priesthood organization. Why can’t the entire SS presidency be made up of women?

  34. May 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm

    The podcast was fantastic as usually. Thanks Dan, Joanna, Kristine, and Jana.

    Someone mentioned that there is no scriptural reference to the spirit being body like. Even a Ex-Mormon like me knows the story of Brother of Jared and the “finger of the Lord” and the Brother of Jared being shocked when he saw the Father was human-like. By the way the Book of Mormon teaches in Ether that all mankind were created in the image of Jesus Christ, as he is the Father and the Son, but that is another problem between what the Church teaches today and what is written in their scripture.

    Having read the Proclamation about the family from the Church, I saw nothing wrong with it from a Mormon perspective especially if one were define terms and get rid of some of the nominalization (making a verb into a noun), like, for instance, “marriage”. Legally, what is marriage – a contract. Government, needs to enforce contracts, but not object to the terms of those contracts unless they are breaking the basic human rights upon which this nation was founded. Let the religious organizations define the terms, if they want to, but let them only enforce them within their organization and with their members. Maybe different contracts for different relations. Why should anyone care what it is called, just as long as it enforces equal rights?
    Government has taken on an unconstitutional role
    of institutionalizing the contract of marriage. Government’s role is
    enforcing contracts not specifying what
    those contracts contain and making it legal or illegal. A number of us
    come from an ancestry of polygamy which government determined was
    illegal. This was unconstitutional. So I would argue that both gay and
    straight government marriages should not be sanctioned, but any contract
    be allowed and enforced. Government is not a religion and should not
    be enforcing religious definitions and dogma. Government’s job should
    not be defining marriage, neither gay, polygamous or straight, but
    enforcing contracts between consenting adults. The idea that the sealed family unit lives forever can be comforting to some but I am reminded how silly that appears to others in Dutcher’s movie “The Army of God”. The LDS missionaries are trying to convince this “good-old-boy” the virtue of living with his family for time-and all eternity while the kids are fighting and his wife is shouting and they are calling each other not-so flattering names. Some of us can’t even continue living with our spouses here. Can you imagine trying to do it for eternity! ;-)It is sad to hear a couple of the women were filtering some of there responses because of the threat of Church disciplinary actions. Joanna, rehearsing the Excommunication Script in her head must be draining emotionally, spiritually and intellectually. Most of the active Mormon women whom I have known, especially the single ones, have been strong and admirable. They are the ones that really run the Church, even if it is covertly. Wasn’t Paul Dunn, I know not a great source, the one that said that “men conduct, but women preside”. Perhaps his wife should have been conducting more. Maybe Mother in Heaven is presiding, and Father in Heaven, is conducting, but I think we will be all a little shocked, like Jared, when we get to the other side. Face it, Mormonism, Christianity and Islam are sexist. The Church is also. How many women Apostles or Mullahs can you name? Women, I admire your ability to stay in the Church after all you have seen and experienced, but am reminded of Jesus’
    quote: “Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins
    will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No,
    they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.” I was intrigued when, I think it was Kristine, mentioned her reasons for staying in the Church. It must be working for you, or you wouldn’t still be active. At some time as a “good-old-boy” might say, it is “time to fish, or cut bait”. For me “cutting bait” has not been a terrible experience, but spiritual and freeing.

    Your new wine friend in new wineskin,

    Glen

  35. Nonny
    May 8, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    I found this podcast to be very inspiring. Thank you for getting such a well-read and well-spoken panel together. These are the type of women whose voices should be heard in the church, but are denied the “authority” to speak and preside.

    I know many women honestly do not want the priesthood. They want to follow the prophet and the doctrine as it stands. They do not want to make waves. They do not want any additional responsibility on top of what they already have. Clearly, Mormon women are not averse to having authority or responsibility; every ward has three presidencies with dedicated women as leaders. So, where is the disconnect between current levels of authority and having that extra measure that is priesthood? Think of this: if women had always had equal ph with men, there would be no excuses about not wanting ph. It would just be a given, as it is for 12- year-old men. At what point do men get to say, “I’m not interested in having the ph.?” (Sure, a few do opt out, but is that really an acceptable option?)

  36. For my daughters!
    May 9, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    I am a father of 4 little girls and I urgently want this church to be better for them. I want my daughters to be empowered. This church has so much unfulfilled potential!

    Ideally, my daughters should have full equality. However at a minimum, give them BACK their organizations!

    Remove the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary organizations from male priesthood supervision.

    Women are equally entitled to the same Spiritual Gifts as men. Allow them to exercise these Spiritual Gifts:

    - Allow the Relief Society to select their leadership!

    - Allow the Relief Society to structure their organization as they are inspired!

    - Allow the Relief Society to control their budget!

    - Allow the Relief Society to set their curriculum & have publications!

    -Allow the Relief Society Presidency to sit equally on the stand at church. Allow them to conduct half of the meetings. Is conducting a priesthood ordinance?

    - Allow women to fill and work with men in none priesthood callings (Sunday School Presidency, Institute Directors, Mission Zone Leaders and Assistant to Presidents, College Presidents, ect…).

    - Allow the Relief Society to partner with bishops and have an equal role in Church Welfare!

    - Set apart Relief Society Leaders as “Judges in Israel” (as Deborah in the Bible). Peradventure, if one of my minor daughters would have a need to confess and repent; I’d much rather have them approach and receive counsel from a female leader. I find it HORRIFYING that they would be required to confess sexual sins, one on one, with a male bishop. This is an egregious policy. I’m stunned that this has not resulted in a multitude of child sexual assault charges against bishops. Untrained and professionally uncertified bishops should never speak one on one with minor female children, especially to discuss sexuality. This is something that I will protect my daughters from.

    - A better scenario (but still far from perfect): The Stake Relief Society President would seek inspiration and call the Ward Relief Society President. The Ward Relief Society President would call two counselors, one to watch over the Primary and one to watch over the Young Women. The Relief Society President would seek inspiration and call additional women to meet all organizational needs. Relief Society Leaders would meet often with their male counterparts and as a Team further the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    - Allow the Relief Society to be Prophetess and Priestess!

    I’m in the US Military and currently on deployment to Iraq. I work with women every day. We are equal and professional peers. I value their example, mentorship & leadership. Diversity has made the US Military stronger. Moreover, in this work environment I remained totally faithful to my wife. If the military can figure this out (we are usually behind the curve), the Church of Jesus Christ can.

    I hunger and pray for the opportunity to receive a blessing from my wife. I hunger and pray for the opportunity to bless my children with my wife. Spiritual gifts are mentioned in the New Testament, Book of Mormon, and D&C. These gifts are not gender specific. These are “Gifts of the Spirit” and not “Gifts of the Male Priesthood”.

  37. Sunlight
    May 10, 2011 at 3:40 am

    Ascending the Mountain,

    Thank you for that wonderful post. You are a remarkable & rare man to have such a righteous desire for women’s equality. Surely that is the way it will be one day, when men are ready to honor & respect women’s full equality.

    Until then, women just need to go to Heavenly Father to learn how things really are & will be. Women not only are completely equal with men, but because of their sacrifices & righteousness they have been given even ‘superior’ callings, powers & positions then men, But few men & even women today are able to see & understand & honor women’s superior position.

    But a righteous woman desires to share power & authority with her husband & does not want to preside by herself in the home, church or society.

    In reality, every power, position, privilege, gift, blessing, authority, right or opportunity that God gives men have also been given even 1st, to women, if only women would come to realize this & men be humble enough to respect this truth.

    Women just need to teach & expect men to respect their equal power, position & privileges, at church, home & in society, until women do this it will never happen.

  38. May 10, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    So so good! Thank you for this wonderful conversation. I was delighted and uplifted by both the frank discussion of difficulty and areas we have to grow in the Church regarding gender equality and also the positive and hopeful tone. The discussion of the importance of tension and difficulty in religious communities is valuable for me.

  39. May 10, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Great podcast, and I on board with the whole discussion. If I may share a little story form my past and where am i now on this issue.

    During my mission ( I served in SLC) I recall a
    door approach where a lady answered her door. As was common in SLC I got
    an ear full as to why the Church was false and what have you. This lady
    however brought up a first for me, at this tim…e
    in my life and on my mission. She had left the Church due to women not
    having an equal place in both authority and in the Priesthood. Being a
    defender of the Faith, such as I was, I thought my response to her was
    both wise and inspired, if not a little clever. I asked ” so
    you think we have the Priesthood then? The power to act in God’s behalf?
    If we do, then it is God who has given it to men, why I don’t know, but
    that is His decision I suppose. But if you say we don’t have the
    Priesthood, then women don’t have any less or more than men do, as there
    is nothing to actually have in the first place.”Being a little
    older, and not a TBM, as I once was, my response to the same lady would
    be ” I too feel women have as much, if not more to offer in the Church.
    Do away with supposed power. God will bless those who He feels need it.
    we should all be helpful, show love and serve. Regardless of race sex or
    age.”

  40. May 10, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Loved the discussion. I really liked how Kristine said something to the effect of her feminism is a result of her interactions with the Mormon church–knowing that something was not right.

    I have also felt that since I was young. From dad calling people for prayers to polygamy there has been a sort of tension.

    It is interesting how some of these things remain unchallenged and are the way they are just because. One of the things that bothered me the most about my experience at the temple was the fact that women were required to wear veils.

    I know as a matter of fact (per the Provo temple Presidency) that when asked about why this is, Gordon B. Hinckley said, “I don’t know.” I was very surprised. I thought perhaps the answer would be the scripture from Paul’s epistle about women veiling themselves (though I would find this insufficient).

    This is too often the case. I don’t know–it is what it is–those are the kind of answers given. It’s so frustrating.

  41. May 10, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Loved the discussion. I really liked how Kristine said something to the effect of her feminism is a result of her interactions with the Mormon church–knowing that something was not right.

    I have also felt that since I was young. From dad calling people for prayers to polygamy there has been a sort of tension.

    It is interesting how some of these things remain unchallenged and are the way they are just because. One of the things that bothered me the most about my experience at the temple was the fact that women were required to wear veils.

    I know as a matter of fact (per the Provo temple Presidency) that when asked about why this is, Gordon B. Hinckley said, “I don’t know.” I was very surprised. I thought perhaps the answer would be the scripture from Paul’s epistle about women veiling themselves (though I would find this insufficient).

    This is too often the case. I don’t know–it is what it is–those are the kind of answers given. It’s so frustrating.

  42. Janeannechovy
    May 11, 2011 at 6:12 am

    The only thing I didn’t like about this podcast was that the conversation was not actually taking place in my kitchen. Three wonderful brilliant women. There were moments I wanted to jump in, but since I was up to my elbows in cupcake batter I wasn’t even able to write my comments down to share here. Oh well! Here’s to hoping someday you all *will* be in my kitchen. :)

  43. Male123
    May 11, 2011 at 8:19 pm

    I enjoyed
    this conversation and at the same time have major concerns. As with all conversation
    it is usually just a glimpse of thoughts and understanding of a person. As a
    young father I would love to have anyone of these women as a daughter, women
    who seem to think a lot and are not afraid to share their thoughts. Women who
    love to learn and desire to share what they have learned. When we share
    thoughts we will always run the risk of influencing others thoughts in a way
    that we will never now for ultimate good or bad. Hands down it is clear that
    the Lord gave us a means that we can determine and judge for ourselves what we
    should say and what we should keep within. There is so much beauty in the fact
    that the majority if not all people is someway on earth can learn to do the
    same. Many do so and don’t even know that they are. Many times in this
    discussion these either jokingly or satirically made comments of not touting
    the line, not following the Lords anointed or maybe they truly believe they are
    rebels of the heart. However my view which is much more broadly held than they
    might believe is that these women are not so outside the lines of truth, but
    because of the satire and joking and self-view think they are something they
    are not. My only real concern from fatherly view of this conversation, is do
    you have testimonies of the prophets as being the Lords anointed, do strive to
    keep or words in line with the promises you made on the temple? As a real
    father I would like to hear an answer, however being a listener of just a
    glimpse of thought from a podcast I don’t need one. It’s just that often in
    “liberal Mormon thought”(really dislike the use of that statement but
    use it for simple wording) I personally hear a lot of people of feel like they
    are on the outside and hear no mention
    of sharing a testimony of how the Church is lead. I often give the benefit of
    my doubt am I incorrect is doing so? My hope is that I can teach my girls to be
    thinkers but at the same time teach them to do so it is not necessary to feel
    like they are on the outside of anything or have any doubt in all “key pillars”
    of testimony or specifically ever feel like truth is in conflict with the Lords
    anointed. I personally have never found
    it to be in conflict, I choose to view things in a manner of the Lord has all
    wisdom in all things and is in control.

    1. God
    created man and woman.

    2. God will
    bless man and woman equally and perfectly. Every true blessing of the priesthood
    is given unto man and woman.

    3. God loves
    man and woman equally.

    4. For every
    true gospel principle there is true a blessing for living it.

    5. God leads
    his people.

    6. Earth
    life is a test, not a celestial simulation. The test is truly personal for
    catered for each of us with the ultimate love and wisdom.

    7. During
    this earthly life you should find joy in renewing the relationship with God and
    share this with others so they can do the same.

    8. God has
    numberless ways to communication with each of us.

  44. JaneD
    May 11, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    March
    1986
    , Ensign
    WORKING DOUBLE-TIME: THE WORKING MOTHER’S DILEMM
    http://lds.org/ensign/1986/03/working-double-time-the-working-mothers-dilemma?lang=eng

  45. rah
    May 17, 2011 at 3:08 pm

     Male123,

    Not sure what you mean by “tout the line” and i would be wrong  to characterize your views of what is required to keep covenants regarding our relationship to the prophets and their various counsel.  However, let me briefly explain how this one holder of “liberal mormon thought” thinks about it and you can decide how to judge me as a legitimate or illegitimate holder of the faith.  

    I assume you are referring to our temple promise of no evil speaking of the Lord’s anointed.  To me this means simply believing that those called are 1)acting with their best intentions in trying to follow the Lord in leading the church 2) do not willfully misrepresent themselves or knowingly present their thoughts as the will of the Lord and 3) belittle them in some demeaning way.  I don’t do these things and those in the podcast do not cast aspersion on intent or faithfulness of the anointed.  However, does this mean that we take their council or actions as being absolutely synonymous with the will of the Lord, that they never make mistakes, even hefty ones, in trying their best to lead the Church?  That we as members don’t have the responsibility of sorting out for ourselves what council to follow and applied to us and what counsel may be erroneous (if well meaning) at least to our specific case?  I don’t think so.  I understand some people’s desire to stay as far away from such a line as possible and don’t begrudge them that choice.  We pay lip service to the fact that we believe that we can receive personal confirmation of the correctness of priesthood council, that we don’t obey blindly.  I like to believe it is true.  Unless you believe the prophets and apostles are infallible in their words, or that every word and decision they utter is “by the power of the Holy Spirit” then they can’t always be right and it is my spiritual responsibility to follow truth.  My somewhat close reading of church history from the OT to the restoration to modern Mormonism wouldn’t allow me to believe otherwise.  We prune and revise all the time.  

    I do believe each of these men have had a special witness as the the divinity and reality of Christ.  I feel their power when they testify of him.  However, I don’t think they meet with Christ to discuss policy each Thursday.  I don’t think the Proclamation on the Family was written by Christ or is revelation (the church seems to agree, revising BKP last conference talk to replace the word “revelation” in referring to it).  I think it is abundantly clear that the ban on the Priesthood was human error and bias not God mandated – 2 apostolic commissions determined as much.  If the Lord will allow his people, including his anointed, to err on such a fundamental matter than I dont see any reason to believe that we might not be erring in things based in gender or sexual bias or prompted by strong and influential political ideologies.     

     I don’t pretend to know the answer to those things. I certainly don’t pretend to be a prophet. I don’t believe I have any claim to the authority of God to tell people what they should believe on these matters. It is clear  there is a looming crisis in the Church in terms of retention.  I want to fight for Zion. I want to help solve the problem.  Discussions such as these I believe get near the heart of the problem.  We need to have them as a people.  Our leaders need to understand as much as possible what is going on to help seek answers and the will of the Lord. We need inspired experimentation at the local level to find some solutions – most of the programs you recognize today (HT, VT, Welfare, SS etc) came from local experimentation not as a centrally church designed plan.

    So am I faithful or not?  Just because I don’t deify our leaders (we don’t believe in that right?) doesn’t mean I don’t respect them.  Just because I am not persuaded by some things does not mean I don’t sustain them.  Just because I want to be totally engaged in the issues facing Zion, analyze them honestly, and discuss them doesn’t make me dangerous.  At least I hope so.  

  46. guest
    May 25, 2011 at 12:26 pm

    I believe woman are not suited for LDS ecclesiastical leasership because they do not hold fast to conservative principles.  They ae quick to support witchcraft, goddess worship, and other things.  They are also quick to support ungodly things like abortion and gay marriage.

    • Gail F. Bartholomew
      May 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm

      What makes men better at holding fast to conservative principles? And why is this not an argument for giving women LDS ecclesiastical leadership?

    • Gail F. Bartholomew
      May 25, 2011 at 4:27 pm

      What makes men better at holding fast to conservative principles? And why is this not an argument for giving women LDS ecclesiastical leadership?

  47. guest
    May 25, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    If women were LDS apostles, they would be advocating for gay marriage.  Does this answer your question?

    • Gail F. Bartholomew
      May 26, 2011 at 5:47 am

      This does tell us again your opinion,  but it tells us nothing about what this opinion is based upon or is it just based on personal prejudice.  It also does not tell us why it would be a bad thing to have an apostles advocate for gay marriage. 

  48. guest
    May 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm

    It also does not tell us why it would be a bad thing to have an apostles advocate for gay marriage.
    Your answer re-inforces why it is not good to have women as LDS clergy.

    • Gail F. Bartholomew
      May 26, 2011 at 5:42 pm

      If my question what you have called my answer re-inforces why it is not good to have women as LDS clergy please articulate your reasoning if you have reasoning.  Not explaining assumes that everyone thinks the same way you do which is not possible.  If you are unable to articulate your moral or unintellectual reasoning we can assume you have none and have based your opinions on unexamined prejudice.

  49. Gail F. Bartholomew
    May 26, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    If Sorry I intended to write moral or intellectual reasoning instead of unintellectual.   I thank you for disregarding my typo.

  50. guest
    May 27, 2011 at 3:00 am

    Gail:
    Let me try it again.
    1.  Women tend to gravitate toward things like goddess worship and witchcraft.
    2.  Women tend to support wickedness like gay marriage and abortion.
    3.  In my opinion, the two reasons would appear to point to the fact that they would not do well as LDS clergy.

    • Gail F. Bartholomew
      May 27, 2011 at 3:40 am

      Guest,
       
      1.  What sort of reasoning do you have to say woman are more likely to get into goddess worship and witchcraft?  I am a man that prays to Heavenly Mother and Father.  Does this make me into goddess worship?  Historical evidence would suggest the Prophet Joseph was into both goddess worship and what you might call witchcraft.

      2. Also what evidence do you have that women are more likely to support gay marriage and abortion.  Again I am a man a straight man I might add that whole heartedly supports gay marriage.  Harry Reed is also a man and is a Democrat that would support gay marriage and is likely pro choice.

      3. You still have not addressed the issue of what moral or intellectual reasoning has brought you to the fact that gay marriage is wickedness.  You can make a better case from the bible that slavery is moral.  There are only two sources in the bible that are anti gay: Leviticus which if you read it the brethren disregard all of its theological teachings with the exception of a few times it quotes one of the ten commandments and homophobia.  Also Paul the man who believed you could serve God better by not getting married, the only reason to get married is if you can not handle abstaining from sex, women should veil their faces, and women should not speak in church. All things the brethren reject.  Remember no where else in the scriptures speaks against homosexuality.  Not Christ, not the Book of Mormon, not modern revelation.  You might site the proclamation a document the brethren have never called scripture but even so read it it says nothing against homosexuality or that we should destroy gay marriage.  In fact the proclamation tells us to support measures that protect families and marriages and not to hunt down and kill a subset of families.

      Again I am not asking you to restate your unfounded opinions.  I am asking you to back them up.  Which it is sounding like you have no reasoning to do so.

  51. guest
    May 27, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Gail:
    Women have many, many strengths and talents.  But not everyone is suited for everything thing in life.  For example, I think women make better nurses.  I can imagine a poor lady starting to nurse the baby she had in the hospital and here comes a male nurse.  I would much rather have a male person trainer than a female one.  Men and women are naturally better at some things. 

  52. Brad
    June 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Sex is doctrinal. Nephi conversed with the Holy Spirit ” and he was in the form of a man.” That is specifics sex does it not. So yeah… I would say that eternal sexual characteristics are eternal. 

    I enjoy feminist and their appreciate for equality which is fantastic, but I feel they are ungrateful for what they already have. It is sad that the role of motherhood is undermined by feminist. Think about that power you have. You as a woman have the power to take the basic elements of the earth and create within your body another human spirit! 

    God gave both men and women EQUAL power. Everything we as a human race and spirit children have are because of our mothers. 

    Also, woman actually hold “priesthood” in the sense they can create something terrific from the basic elements of this world (like Christ with the earth during creation, and I think the human body is a more beautiful creation than the current state of the earth but that’s my opinion). I don’t know. I feel frustrated at feminist because they seem to focus so much on what they don’t have and belittle what marvelous power they do have (power to create opportunities for salvation through child bearing). What relevance would men have if woman had the priesthood? It is simply sad to see some woman leave the church because of the supposed equality issues that are so gigantic. 

    Feminism has fumbled. Instead of asking woman what can they do to get out of the home we ought to start asking what can society do to keep men from leaving the family. That is a much large problem.

  53. Medaigual
    November 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm

      Sobre igualdad de mujeres de eso sabia mucho J.Smih y Brighan Young.     (Jeremias 14:14)

  54. AV
    December 4, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Actually, as taught in Gen. Conf., God endowed all women ‘premortally’ with equal authority & power to act in his name, thus they don’t need to receive it again here on earth.  But men were not given that power & authority premortally, thus they must prove worthy of it here on earth to be given an equal power & authority as righteous women already hold. 

    Early Church leaders understood women’s power & authority better & thus, allowed women the privilege to use it to heal & bless others.

    God has always given women the 1st right to preside & lead in the home, church & society, and only asks her to share her right to leadership with men if they are worthy & respect her & her authority & power.

    Unfortunately it is & always has been very rare for men to understand & respect women’s equal  power & authority to act in the name of God  & their supreme right to lead & preside over the children they bare & the church & society those children are raised in.

    Is marriages, families, society & the Church is to be saved from  the destruction it’s headed for, women must come to realize 1st, that they already were given & possess every authority, right, power & privilege that men can receive.  

    Only then will women begin to expect & teach all men to respect their equal God-given gifts & authority that women have & as God intended, they can finally preside together with men over the family, church & society & save it.

    As long as women’s true equal authority, power & position is not respected, there is no hope for marriages, families, society or the Church.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *