Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wrapping up

As this project (my portion of it anyway) comes to a close, I would like to simply outline what I consider to be the most important aspects of the conversation.

  • The Priesthood of God knows no gender
  • Priesthood and Motherhood are absolutely not equivalents
  • In the early days of the restored church, women were ordained
  • It is not wicked to want to serve God and our fellow human beings
  • God loves us all, no one person or sex more than another
  • Faithful Agitation has been welcomed, it is historical, it is our right, and it is right.
This list of course is not all-inclusive, but I believe it to be a good sampling of the key points to be considered.  Hopefully we will see these changes in my lifetime, but if we do not, I still want to speak out for my sisters, my daughters, my nieces, my grandchildren, and every girl and woman who simply follows their heart to Priesthood service.  I think fulfilling divine calls is something we can all agree on.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Equal in faith...

The inter-faith event "Equal in faith: Women fast for Gender Justice" has concluded.  If you were unable to attend the event you can view it here.

For all who do not remember, this was a day of fasting, specifically on today, Women's Equality Day, throughout multiple faiths seeking gender justice within their faith traditions.  The Ordain Women folks were again on hand to be the face of the LDS contingent.

I personally would like to thank all the women who participated in such a very important event.  I am glad that we could join with our sisters from other faith traditions so that we may all be treated equally.


Friday, August 23, 2013

The heart is in the right place, but the head is not.

In researching news stories on women's ordination in the LDS sphere, I came across this youtube video that was posted on July 4, 2012.  While much of what is being said is true such as women holding the Priesthood in the early days of The Church, and all of us being equal in the sight of God, it is my firm belief that this is decidedly not the way to go.

In my mind, either one believes in the actual power of the Priesthood, or they don't.  For whatever reason, right now women have not been extended the Priesthood, but the proper person(age)s to take this up with is God and the leaders of The Church.

Having some random man ordain us to the Melchizedek Priesthood is not the way to go.  It is incorrect, and it lends credence to those critics who say we seek after the Priesthood for our own glory.  Perhaps the leaders of The Church are stubborn, and/or blinded a bit by culture and privilege but the Priesthood is still not ours to take as we will.

There is order in the house of God, and this is not the way.  It is my hope that one day our leaders will fervently approach this subject with sincere earnest seeking the will of God.  Until that day, I do not find it appropriate for myself to simply find someone who already holds the Priesthood to ordain me.  Now, more than ever, faithful agitation is the key to being heard.  I am no timid flower, but I am also not naive--the last person who tried to usurp the glory of God didn't fare so well and I don;t aim to repeat that mistake.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Ordination Conversation

Women's ordination is a bit of a hot topic across several Churches recently.  So much so, that back in June, former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter weighed in .  This of course was directly relative to the ordination of women in Catholicism rather than Mormonism, but his quoted portion certainly would apply.

Priesthood knows no sex.  Priesthood has no beginning and no end and so I think this is a conversation worth having.  Are women really supposed to be excluded from holding the Priesthood?  What of the Priestesses in the Bible?  What of women who were ordained in the early restored Church?

Let's talk together, and talk to God.  Let's approach this with measure, and reason, and an abundance of faith.


Friday, August 16, 2013

"Let your women keep silence in the churches"

In 1 Corinthians 14:34 Paul writes "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law."

Now, of course this verse is problematic not just for feminists, but for pretty much anyone in the Western world.  There are very few Christian religions that subscribe to this admonition from Paul (if any still do at all).  Further research indicates that the Joseph Smith Translation of this verse indicates that instead of women not being permitted to speak, they are actually not permitted to rule.

This sentiment jives much better with non-feminists of course than the original, but is it any more true?  The verse is a puzzle to me because it even contradicts Joseph's own style of Prophetic leadership.  In this link to the Joseph Smith Papers' archive of the Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes we see that Joseph has said that the Relief Society would "move according to the Priesthood" and that he would make "of this [Relief] Society a kingdom of Priests as in Enoch's day."

Add to that 2 Nephi 26:33 "all are alike unto God" and Acts 10:34 "God is no respecter of persons" one can't help but receive mixed messages.  The only way to solve this dilemma is an appeal to God ourselves, and as a Church body earnestly seeking the will of God.  Won't you join me in that sincere prayer?


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"If not now, when?"

Signature Books has posted an excerpt from Frances Lee Menlove's book 'The Challenge of Honesty'.  The relevant portion of the link is Chapter 4: If Not Now, When?  Mormon Women and the Priesthood. 

It is an excellent essay, thoroughly researched, and makes a spectacular and coherent argument for why women should be ordained to the Priesthood (or rather, re-ordained).

You can find the excerpt here for your reading enjoyment.  Take some time to treat yourself to one of the great LDS writers, and to soak up some knowledge on this important cause.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Ordain Women" interview

I had an opportunity to interview Hannah Wheelwright regarding the Ordain Women panel of Sunstone 2013 on August 1st.

Q: What was the purpose behind the Ordain Women panel at Sunstone 2013?

A: A lot has happened in the sphere of Mormon feminism since Sunstone 2012, most notably Pants Day and the creation of Ordain Women. We, as in the organizers of Ordain Women, always want to make sure that we get our message heard and are represented in discussions of Mormonism, so participating at Sunstone was a no-brainer. But beyond simply making clear our goals and motivations for advocating for female ordination, we wanted the panel to be as interactive as possible to allow the attendees the chance to get their questions answered. Sunstone has a long history of audience participation that has enriched its legacy, and we wanted to honor that by allowing a lot of time for Q&A. As has become the trend for Ordain Women meetings, it turned into somewhat of a testimony meeting that allowed many people to share their personal experiences and beliefs about the power of women, blessings, and ordination to the priesthood. We wanted to make sure as many people as possible were included in the discussion, and I think our panel achieved that. Another purpose was to announce our upcoming actions, the fast for gender justice on August 26th and our plan to attend the priesthood session this October General Conference.

Q: Did you feel that the panel reached some people who were either on the fence or otherwise not “converted” (for lack of a better term) to the cause of Ordaining Women to the LDS Church?

A: I’m not sure how much the panel converted anyone- I do feel like there were people who had thought that Ordain Women was maybe hotheaded or disorganized came away from it with more stock in us as organizers. It also felt like a lot of people voiced their respect for what we are trying to do, even if they disagree with our goals and or tactics. I also think that some people walked away thinking that we are total crackpots for our plan to attend the priesthood session, but there will always be people who think activists are going too far. So in short, it feels to me like not many people went from being unconvinced or on the fence to being converted, but that might be because I felt like I didn’t say anything new, so unless this was their first time hearing about Ordain Women, I don’t know why hearing the same arguments would really change their minds.

Q: What do you feel is the biggest obstacle faced by faithful agitators for Women’s Ordination?

A: I think absolutely the biggest obstacle is being seen as faithful agitators. If people don’t think that we are faithful Mormons on the inside, then no one will take us seriously. We of course always run the risk of church discipline being used to make us look like outsiders.

Q: Will the panel be an annual feature at Sunstone?/Was crowd participation what you expected it would be?

A: There will always be panels on female ordination, as there have been since the dawn of time at Sunstone J I don’t know for sure if there will always be one on Ordain Women, but I think so, especially given that we at Ordain Women plan to continue doing direct actions and initiatives. So long as we’re around, there will be something to talk about. Crowd participation turned into a testimony meeting faster than I was expecting, which was totally fine but I was expecting more antagonism or criticism than there ended up being.

Thank you to Sister Wheelwright  for taking the time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions and provide some much appreciated context and thoughts regarding the panel and the overall goals of Ordain Women.  You can follow them on Twitter @OrdainLDSWomen , and of course if you missed the panel you can view it in its entirety here .