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 .


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Think Globally, Act Locally

The key to any successful drive for change is to do as the slogan suggests and think globally but act locally.  Now of course, your ward members and Bishop, and Stake President can't do anything about Women's Ordination, however, the more people we speak with and get comfortable with the idea the easier any transition will be.

Another reason to act locally (carefully and faithfully) is that because one of the first rules of Mormonism is that it is a small world.  You will meet a random person, and if they are not outright a relative their mother or father served a mission in the area where your grandmother has lived her whole life and they know each other.  Putting a bug in the right ear and showing that we are not crazy, power-hungry, straw-women can go a very long way in the progress of this issue.

Be a member missionary for women's ordination.  Act like it is not something monumental, because it isn't.  We are merely seeking to reclaim what we have already had and what is ours.  Give it all the weight in conversation of deciding what to have for dinner this evening.  When it is seen as commonplace and not scary (because it isn't) it will be easier for people to understand, and accept.

We all need each other to put forth our best efforts and to make people see that their fears and their imaginations have run away with them; that it is time to approach God as a community in harmony--a Zion family.


Saturday, August 10, 2013


In recent conversations on the Ordination of Women in The Church many (including other women) have indicated that they would actually like to see a Priestesshood for women, rather than ordaining women to the (currently) male only Priesthood.

Separate but equal has never worked, and if a privileged class (in this case men) is presented with an underprivileged class (women) there will more than likely be a hierarchy of whether Priesthood or Priestesshood is better--take a wild guess which will automatically be better?

The Priesthood of God is not the Penishood of God.  There is no male-only requirement, and so I reject that there is such thing as a "male Priesthood" to have a female counterpart of.  My sincere worthy desires place me in the same camp as any human male in the eyes of God.  Men are no better, no worse and so we should not seek for table scraps at the expense of our divine heritage.

Zelophehad's daughters did not seek a "different" inheritance from what they should have been legally entitled to, but were not.  They petitioned Moses to petition the Lord, and the Lord agreed that the daughters were indeed worthy of the inheritance in the same way that any male children would have been.  This feminist gem in the Bible--the Old Testament of all places!--is so oft overlooked that honestly I cannot believe it is a coincidence.

We are denied our birthright, our heritage.  It is time that was no longer the case.  It is time to petition our leaders to petition the Lord.  If I am to be told I am unequal either by action or inaction, I want it on record.  Women are not less than, and we have the ability and the right to wield the power of God in the service of our fellow human beings.


Friday, August 2, 2013

...Part II

You can view the recorded version (if you missed the live stream) of the Ordain Women Sunstone Panel Discussion here.

I will be interviewing one of the panelists, Sister Hannah Wheelwright, and will post the interview here, so watch for that. 

Some really great and historic discussion took place at this panel, so I think even if ordaining women is not something you are necessarily behind it is still worth listening to.


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Ordain Women Sunstone Symposium Event 2013

Go listen, go to it right now!


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

...A deeper theology of women

If you've not already heard the news, Pope Francis had some amazing things to say about non-judgment of gay priests as well as needing a deeper theology of women.  He also indicated that Mary (the mother of Jesus) was more important than the Apostles.  This seemed to be a scandalous revelation for many but I am honestly unsure why.  Jesus needed Mary just as much as he needed God in order to come to this earth to atone for our sins--it makes perfect sense that she would be more important than the Apostles.

What does what Pope Francis says have anything to do with LDS feelings on female theology though?  Catholicism is the major Christian religion, with a worldwide membership of over 1 billion people.  The Pope's words have the potential of shaping Christian thought for some time.  His move toward a more humble and holy servant-ship could lead Christianity as a whole to a higher plane of Christ-like tendencies.  These tendencies could easily crossover into Mormonism and we may see a greater deal of equality along with our own deeper theology of women.  All the pieces are in place for women's ordination in our own Church, it would truly be mind-blowing if Catholicism beat us there.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Motherhood =/= Priesthood....again

A common reason to deny women the Priesthood is the old adage "Women have Motherhood and Men have the Priesthood."  This correlation is false.  Fatherhood is the equivalent of Motherhood, not Priesthood. 

Motherhood does not require one to be "worthy"--there are bad folks who become mothers and there are good folks who cannot.

Fatherhood does not preclude one from being a Priesthood holder, in fact, more often than not fatherhood enhances his rank in The Church.

A woman cannot asexually reproduce, so even if using donor sperm, sperm was still necessary, men can unilaterally exercise the Priesthood.  Since 12 yr olds receive the Priesthood one is never in need of a woman to exercise it.

There are a great many reasons why Motherhood and Priesthood are not equivalent, yet no matter how many times the theory is debunked it is still used over and over.  Why is that?  Why do thinking people not understand that the correlation falls apart instantly?  Let us be the voice of reason and ever push forward spreading the word that the two are not equal and never will be.


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Accomplishing Goals in a Faithful Context

In petitioning for our leaders to approach our Heavenly Parents with the question of re-instituting the practice of ordaining women to the Priesthood it is important that we keep sight of what we hope to accomplish.  Our goals are dashed if we allow ourselves to become embroiled in contention, or sidetracked by those who would see us fail.  Keeping a level head can be hard to do (especially on the internet) and more than anyone I know it is unfair to be expected to keep my cool while being berated and attacked, but it is the only way forward.  If this initiative fails, those who are against it have lost nothing, but we stand to lose everything and so the onus for correct behavior happens to fall on us.

Some important tips to remember are:

1. Respectful engagement includes plenty of "I" statements.
2. Disagreement is not equal to attack
3. It can be hard sometimes for others to recognize their privilege.
4. When all else fails and respectful engagement is not possible, it is time to walk away.
4a. This can mean leaving the discussion entirely, or taking a break to cool down.

With these tips in mind, we can keep the conversation on track, as well as maintain the goal of faithful agitation.  If we give people a reason to dismiss us, they will.  I hope you find these tips helpful in your future discussions on this topic.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pioneering Day

On this Pioneer Day, I felt that the prayer of my heart is to approach my Heavenly Parents with a prayer for the Priesthood of The Church to be extended to all.  To be a pioneer in my own life, and have my heart's true desire manifest itself in my daily supplication to my makers.  Prayer is another way we call on the power of God, and tap into our Divine Nature.  Prayer to our Heavenly Parents to make things right, and prayer that our leaders will be moved with the spirit of revelation.

As Pioneers put all (both temporal and spiritual health) on the line to do what they felt was right in the eyes of God, so shall we.  This is my prayer for us all today.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

On blessing and blessings

As I mentioned in my previous post, one of the reasons I have seen for being in favor of female ordination (and one that I happen to agree with) is the wanting to bless the lives of others through the laying on of hands.  Oddly enough, a pretty common counter to female ordination is "You can't bless yourself anyway!"  As if the sole reasoning for wanting to have recognized Priesthood Power would be for our own benefit--no wonder people think it is selfish when they apply their own selfish logic to other people's motivations!

As members of The Church we are constantly subject to lessons and talks that praise the Priesthood, and what a blessing it is to serve others by the power and authority of God.  In practically the same breath women are told "but you don't want it, it is so much responsibilityyyy."  Yes, the Priesthood is quite a responsibility.  I daresay many men who find it daunting might be relieved were they able to share duties with women.

In recent discussion on this subject someone brought up an excellent point that I had never really thought about before--when it is convenient for scriptures to have "men" mean "mankind" it is so, and conversely when it is convenient for "men" to mean "male humans" it is so.  It can't be both.  God is no respecter of persons.  He does not love men more than women or vice versa.  Desiring the Priesthood in order to bless others is a righteous desire no matter who says otherwise.  As daughters with a Divine Nature we must make these strides to own our inheritance that has been forgotten by so many.


Monday, July 15, 2013

Faithful Agitation

I know that there are many other wonderful sites that are currently bringing light to the prayer for female ordination to the Priesthood of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  My aim here is to offer my own take on this prayer, as well as to further engage Mormons of every stripe, and allies to this cause so that there is an opportunity for this to be something we see in our lifetime, or the generation of girls coming up now.

As I see it, some of the main reasons women believe they should be ordained to the Priesthood are three-fold; 1. In this dispensation, women were ordained and that practice has been discontinued, 2. Priesthood duties are tied to administrative duties of The Church and so as long as women are denied the Priesthood we will never have a meaningful voice in leadership roles, and 3. Many wish to be able to give blessings of comfort, and joy to their friends, and loved ones in times of great distress.

Many opponents would have us believe that it is a selfish desire to seek to render service to others by wielding the power of God; this argument leaves me in a stunned silence.  How can wanting to serve and uplift others by utilizing God's power here on earth, ever be a selfish desire?  How can wanting a voice in Church government where that voice is denied to more than 50% of the Church membership be selfish?  How can agitating faithfully for the restoration of ALL things be selfish?

In coming posts I will address these issues further, but I wanted to launch this blog officially so all readers/followers can understand where I stand before choosing whether or not to add their voice to my neck of these woods.