This post is a follow up to Kaimi’s thoughtful post I’m a Mormon, and I believe that women…
For the record, I don’t actually “believe that women should be eligible for Priesthood ordination.” Rather, I think it would be helpful and I see no overriding reason why it shouldn’t happen. Neither do I see scriptural/doctrinal evidence to show that the scriptural “man” means “mankind” most of the time — but only males when it pertains to the priesthood. I do not believe the issue has been addressed completely. Authoritative statements seem to indicate a long-term acceptance of cultural patriarchy rather than any attempt to address how it contrasts with our more inclusive culture or to see if changes can, indeed, be made to include women.
My hope is for divine clarification on the matter of gender in the church as well as eternally.
Below I will address a number of statements I have heard over the years with regard to women and the priesthood. These are actual quotes and most are common. I think they are dumb. That doesn’t mean there aren’t reasons that aren’t dumb. There are. (I think.) But I hope we can move past the dumb objections and start dealing in the realm of the reasonable.
- I don’t want to be the bishop!
Do men get ordained because they want to be the bishop?
- Why would you want the priesthood?
Do you notice that when we teach about men holding the priesthood it’s all about the awesome power of God to be used in humility and meekness, but when we talk about women possibly sharing in it, it becomes a terrible burden that women aspire to so they can beat others into submission?
- Priesthood has been and always will be Patriarchal.
Because things never change in the church. Now go get all your wives and make sure their dresses cover their wrists and ankles.
- I have enough to do!
Do men get ordained because they have too much free time on their hands?
- If God wants women to have the priesthood, he will say so.
How often is revelation poofed out of thin air vs. how often is it given in response to direct questions?
- Women have motherhood.
Men have fatherhood. Your point is?
- God is running the church. Of course he can provide men with the needed insight to serve women.
Proven by the fact that one day Joseph had a brilliant idea about keeping the School of the Prophets sparkling clean and had a revelation about the Word of Wisdom and one day the Quorum of the 12 were internally inspired to ask God how women with breast prostheses could manage garments “next to the skin” and thus changed the rules about underwear.
- The priesthood can be seen as a clever device for sidestepping all this mess by giving almost all husbands a desirable status, one that the wife isn’t going to end up trumping and that doesn’t require her to limit herself to avoid trumping.
The priesthood gives men “status” by putting them as superior to women in a rigged game. This makes the men marriageable, because otherwise men can’t keep up with women. Explain again why this isn’t beyond dumb?
- I have always been a member of the Church and NEVER felt valued less within the Church because of my gender!
Do men get ordained so they can feel valued in the church? If so, how do women feel valued? If not, what’s your point?
- If men weren’t the only game in town, it would probably take about 10 minutes for all of the work in the ward to be done by women.
I’ll still let them put the tables and chairs away. Oh, wait, I did that for our Relief Society birthday party myself. I guess you’re right. Useless creatures, men.
- This has never bothered me, why do you make such a fuss over the priesthood?
Every year from the time I was five, I asked for liver and onions, artichokes, and pistachio marble bundt cake for my birthday dinner because it was my favorite. Any other viewpoint is obviously wrong.
- Boys would have nothing special left for them in sacrament meeting.
Because things are only special if women are excluded. “Tick, tock, the game is locked, and nobody else can play…”
- Would the designations remain the same for both genders or be gender specific?…Would there be a stake patriarch and a stake matriarch? Would the stake matriarch give matriarchal blessings? Would or could she designate the tribal affiliation, like the patriarch?…When missionaries are sent out, does everyone call the sister missionaries Elder so-and-so, like the men?…Would any of this affect the temple ordinance work, at all?…For home teaching, would this allow a male elder and a female elder to be companions? Would mixed gender missionary companionships be allowed?
While I think the logistical questions are interesting, they seem most often used as a way to derail and detract from the actual discussion. As in, “Holy cow, look at the can of worms this would open! We can’t do this! It’s way too complicated!!!!”
Of course having an inclusive priesthood would require some decisions and adjustments. But the church seems fairly adept at figuring things out. Now that 19-year-old girls are able to serve missions, we have to deal with a billion more missionaries in the field! I think we can handle it.
- Would this affect the Boy Scouts?
For the love of pete, I hope so!
- I think most of the comments…are put forth by women who look for a way to point out their hatred for men period.
My husband is my best friend because I hate him. And I generally get along better with men than women also because I hate them. Could it be that most men I know would never accuse me of hating them just because I ask a question?
- The vast majority of LDS women are satisfied with the present state of affairs.
It’s hard to know if this is due to actual satisfaction, lack of vision with regard to possible changes, or fear of being seen as unfaithful or apostate for daring to think about something different. Or could it just be that it’s easier to accept the status quo than to yearn for something over which you have no control?
- Feminist grievance is tedious and stultifying.
Case in point.
P.S. Ordain Women has done a very good job articulating and publicizing this issue. I support them completely. I haven’t created a profile and joined the group only because I do not actually share their goal as stated:
We call for the ordination of women and their full integration into the governance of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
I don’t “call” for that because, ironically, I don’t feel it is my position to make such a demand. I realize the inherent problem in having no women who are in a position to call for such a change — and it bothers me. Still, I feel the most I can do to remain consistent with my beliefs is to ask the questions, address objections, seek clarification, and help bring attention to the issue. That’s what I’m trying to do here.
I love this post so much that I forgive you for quoting me out of context.
(As I explained in further comments on Frank’s post, I don’t think the risks of men’s disengagement in the church justify the priesthood ban; I just think we need to consider how to keep a generation raised on “yours is a sacred duty . . .” rhetoric active after they aren’t unique any more.)
Very nice summary Alison. Thank you.
I find myself loving a post by AMS…this is going to be a weird Friday! Thanks, Alison. :)
Julie, I’ve always understood the “yours is a sacred duty” rhetoric to be more about how we as priesthood holders are different from other men (men outside the church who are not ordained), not that we are different from women. Maybe I’m in the minority. But I don’t think it would really be that big of a shift from saying that men who hold the priesthood are unique to saying that men and women who hold the priesthood are unique.
JKC, when someone makes a comment that divides the world into “priesthood holders” and “non-priesthood holders,” they are most likely putting LDS women into the latter category.
Also, I thought this was interesting:
It’s a fair point, Julie, it’s just one that took me a bit by surprise because that’s never the emphasis that I’ve understood from that kind of talk. They may be putting LDS women in the category of non-priesthood holders without even really meaning to, or they may be thinking (as I always have when hearing such rhetoric) LDS women to be an implicit exception to that division that counts with priesthood holders, even though they are not strictly ordained to the priesthood. Maybe that’s just law school talking.
My point is not to disagree with you that such rhetoric may be problematic, it is only to suggest that LDS guys who can’t motivate themselves to do their priesthood duty because they aren’t special anymore, just because the girls got ordained too, that would be their loss, not ours. Besides, with more priestesses in the picture, we could easily pick up the slack!
I thought that article was insightful.
Honestly most of your counterarguments seem dumb too. Its like you’ve taken some off-the-cuff reactions that don’t have much thought behind them and supplied your own off-the-cuff counter-reactions that also don’t have much thought behind them. Which is interesting for folks who are interested in human psychology, so thanks.
What I haven’t seen is an actual argument for unisex priesthood.
Then you’ve been selectively reading, or dismissing affirmative arguments in favor of expanding priesthood.
Alison, do you mind if I add one more dumb argument?
A list of growing churches without prescribed gender roles in their priesthood: [crickets]
And how are churches with male-only priesthood doing? Not so well (at least in the U.S.).
Julie, thank you for your accommodation. :) Think of it as representative of the thousands of statements that say, more or less, “Men need the priesthood because they are lame, unfaithful, stubs (or maybe armchairs?) and women don’t because they are super-dee-duper awesome sauce!” Or, “You can’t be in our club because you’re just tooooooooo amazing and will make us all feel bad by comparison.”
Chris Henrichsen, I guess some days hell really does freeze over. :)
Alison, I want to know what arguments for an exclusively male priesthood that you believe are not dumb, if any.
Adam G., dear, I would expect nothing less (or more) in response from you. But allow me to clarify.
The arguments above are dumb and made with little thought. Refuting them doesn’t require a great deal of thought. As the OP explicitly states, this post isn’t about thoughtful, reasonable cases for exclusion.
For example, reason #1: “I don’t want to be the bishop.”
There could be a lengthy dissertation on this point, discussing the logical fallacy employed and carefully listing examples showing the problematic nature of the claim. While that might be interesting, it isn’t necessary in order to show the problem (that should be obvious) in the statement.
Pointing out that wanting to be a bishop has exactly zero to do with male ordination is sufficient.
Fantastic post. Also – I really want to try that pistachio marble bundt cake.
How can you “support them completely” and “not actually share their goal”??
You know I think you’re amazing, Alison, but your last paragraph made me feel sad for you. Obviously you share their goal of women being ordained. You’ve just written a beautiful blog post in support of that very goal. Maybe some unconscious fear at play here?
I’m telling you right now the ordination of women will never happen. The baby blessing circles are already too big…
It is rather frustrating to me that no one recognizes or talks about Relief Society in these contexts.
If the arguments are so dumb, it should be sufficient to refute them, which will reveal them as dumb, right? Actually calling them “dumb” is just ad hominem schoolyard taunting. “These people are so dumb! You are too if you agree with them.”
If the counterarguments in this post wouldn’t have their full effect without adding the “dumb” insult, then what does that say about those counterarguments?
How does the fact that some churches with male priesthood are growing and some are shrinking refute my point that every church with full female priesthood is dying on the vine?
Those are dumb reasons. Thanks for the post. I think that many LDS women really just want greater representation in the church. An increasing of them are in the work place and hold positions of power and influence there. Then they go to church and have no say in ward business. I believe that women should be able to have more say in the church, and be this through the avenue of priesthood, so be it.
I don’t think “I don’t want to be the Bishop” is anything more than argument for safety. The real argument is “I don’t want to risk having the chance to be called to be the Bishop.” (A stance that ignores the larger problem in the Church: we overburden our Bishops.) But I can attest, watching my wife, that RS President is just as intense and stressful.
I tested the “women are better nurturers with a gift” argument once by asking the woman who used it whether a non-LDS friend of hers possessed that gift as well. I chose a woman who was apparently complementarian-Christian, married 20 years to her first husband, with one adult child and three apparently sane teenage boys.
My opposite demurred and refused to answer the question, and the last-bastion counter argument crumbled before our eyes, right before she violently and entirely changed the subject.
I think there are some sexual-politics issues to overcome, as well as huge overall attachments to gender role and identity, arguing circuitously that Priesthood is for men because it’s for men. Such stances aren’t responsive to arguments from reason.
I don’t think that there will be a change unless there is a sense among non-American Church members as well that something isn’t fair. Is the movement localized to US/Canada?
MC, besides (a) that you haven’t provided any evidence that every religion with female priesthood is, as you say, withering, (b) you haven’t shown any causation, and (c) you haven’t even demonstrated correlation?
(#21) This topic is fraught with enough peril. Did you really need to interject correlation too?
If thriving, growing churches with full female priesthood exist, surely they shouldn’t be too hard to find. You can’t think of any? I submitted several examples of growing churches with male clergy in the last thread, but I’ll restate here: Pentecostals, S.D. Adventists, Mormons, JW’s, Hasidic Jews (with Baptists more or less stable). All of the mainline churches that went with female clergy are shrinking and getting more elderly every year.
And no, correlation is not causation. I’m just raising a caution flag to the idea that the only POSSIBLE reason for having a male clergy is to subjugate and denigrate women.
Lindsey, you will not be sorry about the cake. (And I fixed the error in the directions.) :)
My oldest daughter is getting a master’s degree in information systems. I support her completely, even though I don’t share that goal. :) In other words, my approach is different, but I don’t necessarily think they are wrong.
Thank you very much for the very kind words. I’m frustrated that it’s “obvious” that I want women ordained, because I honestly, sincerely don’t — unless it’s right. And I don’t KNOW that it’s right. I THINK it is probably right, I hope it is right. But that’s not the same thing as being God’s will. There are ample examples in my life when what I thought and hoped for were not right.
On this issue, I’m willing to concede that what I want may not be the way things are supposed to be. But, as I said, I do not think this has been addressed. The answer seems to have been, “Well, that’s the way it’s always been. Our women are happy. There’s nothing to address.”
I just think the “burden of proof” should be the other way, I guess.
I also think it’s really hard to get a fair analysis about how women who live in a patriarchal society feel when people (like Jettboy in the other thread) characterize women who are willing to pray — of all horrendous, overbearing things — as just being hyper anxious. Seriously, what the crap is that about?
MC #16, here’s the deal. The word dumb has a meaning. And here it applies. Look it up if you’re unsure.
MC, you know that at least some Pentecostal denominations allow female clergy, right? Moreover, Buddhists and Wiccans both appear to be growing religions, and allow for female clergy. Which is to say, your assertions notwithstanding, at least some religions with female clergy do thrive, while at least some with male-only clergy do not.
Defending your use of an insult like “dumb” by implying that anyone who objects to its use must be too dumb to know what it means is…unenlightening, to say the least.
It must be so hard to explain things to people when the very fact that they disagree with you proves they aren’t very smart.
MC, so why don’t you show us how these arguments aren’t dumb instead of fixating on narrow points of language as misdirection (since that seemed to be your favorite technique on the other post as well)?
This was an excellent post, Alison. I think I’ll be bookmarking it as a good place to link when people trot out these types of knee-jerk reactions to the idea of women being ordained. Like you, I’m not completely wedded to the cause of female ordination. What I am sure of is that there is a fair amount of structural, cultural, and even doctrinal inequality in the church, and including women in the Priesthood is a very good possible partial solution. I’m open to other solutions as well, but like you, I think the burden of proof should be on those who are against female ordination. I am beyond thrilled that we are making this a topic of conversation, because it needs to be talked about!
“you know that at least some Pentecostal denominations allow female clergy, right?”
Not very many. Everything I’ve read about Pentecostalism indicates that it generally fits within the “traditional gender roles” rubric.
“Moreover, Buddhists and Wiccans both appear to be growing religions, and allow for female clergy”
Are they growing? Maybe among American grad students they are. In general I have no idea. The only majority-Buddhist country I can think of where the Church has a large presence is Japan, and Buddhism certainly isn’t growing in Japan (even if you count nearly everyone in Japan as a Buddhist, the country itself is shrinking). Moreover, if you have to reach outside not only the Christian religion but the Abrahamic tradition to find a growing religion with women clergy, you are really reaching for a relevant example. Most LDS do not want to see the Church evolve into anything resembling Wicca.
Again, I’m not saying the examples of other churches are dispositive proof. Just a note of caution.
As a content male who sees every ward member as an equal, and for whom anyone when moved upon by the Spirit feels equal in spite of their position, will not be seeking/praying for this. I’m just not to that level. I have more immediate personal and family concerns that dominate my thoughts. Sins, trials of my own and others I love. But I’m glad we have general leaders and individual members who likely are praying about it as we comment. Until something happens, I will content myself to befriend families and moms who wear pants to sacrament meeting as prompted by the Spirit.
As long as we’re asking for the right reasons, according to the Spirit, and not because of pointed fingers and laughing. I think most on this blog are doing it for the right reasons, but I think another portion that ask just wants to escape mockery, which is impossible as a disciple. If it’s not this, it will be something else. It will probably end up like 3 Nephi 1 before
I know their is cultural inequality, but I wish people would stop equating administrative representation with equality. I don’t. That is the lie of the diversity movement – that I must experience something myself to have empathy. The Spirit provides and catalyzes empathy where we lack it. Insensitive members should be proactively approached in private. If we avoid this one-on-ine effort, we are part of the problem.
“MC, so why don’t you show us how these arguments aren’t dumb instead of fixating on narrow points of language as misdirection (since that seemed to be your favorite technique on the other post as well)?”
First, because I don’t necessarily agree with all of the arguments she attempts to rebut. And second, because I abjure the mode of debate which opens with an insult and thereby tries to cow people into submission. It’s bad for logical thinking, and its unkind.
Wikipedia tells me that Buddhism is growing; Internet Wiccans claim Wicca is growing.
Most members I know also don’t want to see the Church evolve into JW, non-female-clergied Pentecostalism, or any other religion or denomination.
Thank you Rob (in #19) for recognizing the truth. Women in the LDS church serve and work hard doing so.
“But I can attest, watching my wife, that RS President is just as intense and stressful.”
This is one of the main reasons why the talking about that first bullet point in the post is not really a good argument. This issue isn’t lack of service opportunities. It seems to me the issue is that some people aren’t okay with the principle of division of labor.
“Most members I know also don’t want to see the Church evolve into JW, non-female-clergied Pentecostalism, or any other religion or denomination.”
Then it’s a good thing we can just stay ourselves, isn’t it? My point is that there appears to be some correlation between Christian denominations with women clergy that stagnate or shrink, until they are composed mostly of old people who, though lovely people, are not the engine of church growth. There are any number of reasons why that might be. But we should at least consider those examples first before assuming that everything will be fine and dandy if women receive the priesthood.
MC and Adam Greenwood,
1. I do think some Pentecostal churches have female pastors. I have included some info about Assembly of God at he bottom below.
If my choice is pentecostals, adventists, hasidic jews and JW’s or death – I think I’m opting for death.
2. I do think there is a demographic argument that you both make that is important (and politically incorrect to talk about) but I think the Mormon church has already lost that demographic battle by being part of the mainstream developed world and valuing education and hard work.
My version of the argument is as follows. The world over, females with good education and income above 10,000 US dollars per year, have fewer children than those with less education and when that female education includes college, their fertility rate is less than replacement. The problem is compounded for a religious community because not all children will continue as believers.
Adam cites declining birth rates as a major cause of changes in values and religious preferences, but I don’t think he carries the logic back far enough, in that it is education and increasing living standards that drive declining birth rates – they don’t appear from nowhere.
So, we educated, advanced economy citizens find ourselves in a bit of a pickle. We value education and we value economic capability but those things we value appear, the world over, to lead to below replacement fertility rates.
Mormons in the USA have seen the same trend to smaller families although somewhat delayed and less dramatically. However, if you include people leaving the faith, the church in the USA is not self-supporting in terms of membership from births.
I think you both have somewhat of a point that the trend to equality has decreased growth and may be the death of the cultures that support that equality.
But you can’t easily put the genie back in the bottle. Yes, the church may grow in other countries through conversion but as those countries educate their females and improve living standards you will face the same situation again later.
Now, you do have evolution on your side. Those willing to have the most children have the most sway over the culture of the future. But in the shorter run, that evolutionary competition means that people with fewer children have a biological incentive to try to limit the number of children that other people have culturally if not more directly.
Please don’t confuse this with an evolutionary psychology argument or saying that we should hold values that lead to the most number of children. I am just trying to see if there are evolutionary consequences of our choices. (or substitute demographic consequences if evolution is a bad concept in your mind.)
The problem that I don’t think you are facing is that the Church’s values are inherently conflicted and the “separate but equal” or non-unisex arguments are not compelling to more and more people in the church. The church values education – educated females are on average more feminist.
As I try to think through how the argument that women are not hurt under a non-unisex version of the preiesthood goes – the fact that the men pick the female leaders is a major stumbling block. I would be more a believer in separate but equal if the relief society alternated with the bishops in selecting each other. I don’t think in any other context (political, economic, etc.) any of us would think equality is in place if one group maintained control over selecting leaders of another group. The Relief Society in a political context would be considered a puppet regime.
Now I realize that you aren’t advocating equality. But, I think when you argue that most women in the church don’t value equality either, you are looking at a biased sample. The most feminist, equality-minded people have already left the church.
But men have left the church at a higher rate than women in the USA. So, you have a female majority membership that you need to keep where the younger women do not expect to have as many children and do expect to have more control over decisions.
You may be right that its the death knell for religion but they ain’t goin’ back on the farm and anyone that dealt with the generations born before say, 1960, know that they were sexist in a way that a growing number of women will no longer tolerate.
I have to admit, that being an old person and approaching 50, I find it astounding how much change there has been in the church and the women in the church. Even this discussion, as small and biased sample as it is, is eye-opening for me. Astoundingly so.
Now, I doubt I’ve convinced you that you already have demographic problem, but assuming that I have I would turn the question to the feminists both female and male. How does more equality for women in the church keep men in the church? Again, in the USA, the number of children times the percentage that remain in the church is less than replacement.
You’ll have to take my world for it, but I believe that for a significant percentage of men(likely including your sons, if not your spouses), marriage mainly meant reliable access to sex. In a world where reliable access to sex no longer requires the burdens of marriage, children and religion, what is in it for the men? Again, I’m not arguing this as an argument against the priesthood for women. I’m saying assume you have it. What can you do that makes it any more attractive for men to be religious?
A dual-gendered clergy still has the same problems as today in passing along religion to their children. Adam and MC are saying the last thing religion has left is rigid sex roles. Even if this is a bad argument against priesthood for women you have at least 4 people (MC, Adam, Frank and Jettboy) that say its a problem. What will be in it for them?
Plan ahead and as the first female prophet brings us a revelation that speaks to men in a way,the males prophets haven’t been able to successfully do.
“1. The Assembly of God’s official position is that ministerial credentials may be granted to anyone who meets the scriptural requirements for ministry and leadership. The AG summarized these in their Constitution and Bylaws. We find that a detailed exegetical study of the Bible does not prohibit women from ministry, rather this is a matter of custom and tradition. Therefore, it is possible for women to be clergy and hold leadership positions though it is rare. Some other pentecostal churches agree with this position while others do not. The basic issue is the view of the role and place of women in society and the Body of Christ. The AG officially believes that women are potentially equal to men.
“If my choice is pentecostals, adventists, hasidic jews and JW’s or death – I think I’m opting for death.”
Your forgetting one religion with male priesthood on that list of choices. It starts with an M.
I didn’t forget. My point is that arguing what the M’s should do based on members of other than the one true church is a non-starter for me.
On crap, you meant Muslims.
Thanks for your thoughtful feedback on my original comment, Alison. I retract my use of the work “obvious” in reference to what you want. Of course I don’t know anything about you beyond what I read into your words.
That said, I think your words do reveal quite a bit about where your heart is.
“My point is that arguing what the M’s should do based on members of other than the one true church is a non-starter for me.”
Not even as a cautionary example? Like we have nothing to learn from the Catholic sex abuse scandals? Or from the negative example of the way women are treated in Wahabi Islam?
Or do you only advocate sticking one’s head in the sand when it is the problems of pro-feminist churches that are under examination?
Thank you for such a refreshing, practical approach to this, Alison!
I’m currently pregnant with my first child and it is HELL. Every time someone brings up this issue, someone invariably says, “But women have their own special things that only they can do!”
Oh, so barfing in my sink full of dirty dishes this morning and trying to rinse it out without barfing again is a blessing? A blessing so great that I should joyfully embrace it instead of ever having the ability to have any authority in my church for my whole life?
Next time a man tells me he’s not blessed enough, I’ll just break his kneecaps and tell him to be grateful for all the pretty signatures he’ll be sure to get on his cast. Way better than having two intact knees, any day.
Fantastic, Alison. I’m smiling all over.
Congrats on the pregnancy. Hopefully your illness only lasts the first trimester…as a man I can’t and won’t say more than that. Although from a Dad’s perspective it does seem like Motherhood is an extremely magnified dualistic experience of excruciating torture and pure joy.
I think dish doing is a separate issue from Motherhood. That is, if your marginal tolerance for a sink of dirty dishes can last until the end of a work day. And your assertion is disingenuous. Everyone with any calling has authority. Heck, even those with no calling have authority. As President Hinckley once said, everyone’s responsibility is equally serious, no matter how administrative or personal the calling may be. If you request that your husband stay on top of dishes, at least during your pregnancy, I think he may need to repent if he said no.
Also, I think your analogy doesn’t really work. One ends with a child, directly related to divine command, and parental joys and suffering. The other is kind of a straw man. I’ll shutup before you come break my knee caps. =)
I granted you the demographic argument. The church with a unisex priesthood is demographically toast. I’m just saying the problem is education not a unisex priesthood. I have made no argument that we should look to the Unitarians or Episcopalians as an example.
I think South Africa is a better cautionary example. You can’t advocate human rights as Anglo countries have always done and still try to protect your minority in power status arguments. You are in impossible conflict. It doesn’t matter if majority rule would be worse for the country, its in conflict with your own political values.
The same here, one set of LDS values leads to a feminism that is in conflict with another set of LDS values. Something has to give.
The Wahabi’s are doing pretty well in terms of numbers by the way.
This is pretty much exactly how I feel about the issue. It makes me sad that there are so many who are so busy jumping to conclusions and defending the status quo.
Cameron, I’m well into my 2nd trimester. I got my hammer. Get your knees exposed. I’mma give you a mother’s blessing.
MC, using the word dumb wasn’t ad hominem, it was accurately descriptive. The mere fact that the descriptive is negative, doesn’t make it ad hominem. And I think you might agree with that, given that you seem fine with using negative descriptives like “unkind.”
If you’re interested in engaging in the actual discussion, I’m all ears. Otherwise, I think the tangents are just…well…dumb.
You are absolutely right that my heart is with female ordination and generally women having an equal voice in the church. I’m just willing to accept the idea that there could be good reasons for it to be otherwise, in spite of my own desire.
If you think the success of Mormonism depends on excluding women from priesthood, you have a weak-ass testimony of Mormonism.
Let me thank so many of you for the kind words and encouragement. Sarah Familia, that was actually my point. I get really tired of addressing the (dumb) “I don’t want to be the bishop” statement. Now I have most of my “favorites” in one place so I’ll just link. (Which means perhaps I’ll add more “dumb” reasons as I recall them.)
Dear nat kelly, oh, I feel your pain! I’m so sorry. Pregnancy sickness can be overwhelming and can seem to go on forever and ever.
I heard someone once say, “If couples took turns having kids, the most kids any family would ever have would be three…and that’s if the woman started first.” :) I’m not a male basher, but I think “nausea” and “morning sickness” just don’t carry enough punch for people who haven’t experienced a serious case, so it’s hard to understand how bad it can be.
Congratulations on your pregnancy. This time will pass (I promise!) and your sweet little baby will be blessed to have you as a momma. And you’ll find it was all worth it. :) Hang in there!
True that. And it doesn’t remotely end with childbirth. ;)
“The church with a unisex priesthood is demographically toast.”
Wow, and this is from someone who favors giving women the priesthood.
“If you think the success of Mormonism depends on ____________, you have a weak-ass testimony of Mormonism.”
Now fill in the blank with:
“better sacrament meeting talks”
“expanding the priesthood to all worthy males”
“better doctrinal teaching in Sunday School”
It’s an argument that proves too much.
Is anyone here arguing that bad sacrament talks or gender inequality will demographically overturn the success of the restoration?
Alison, I stand by my assertion that if your counter-arguments were so strong, and the original arguments so weak (as they are totally unbiasedly restated by you), then you wouldn’t need the schoolyard taunt to give them greater weight.
And I stand by my assertion that the argument that the success of the Restored Church and its ability to fulfill its divine destiny and gather Israel anew and prepare the world for the coming of the Savior critically depend on the conformity of our priesthood to the demographic patterns of other successful false priesthoods evinces rather unimpressive faith in the Truth of Mormonism.
If there are no good arguments FOR a particular point of discrimination or exclusion, that in and of itself is a strong enough argument against it, and in favor of exclusion. I can’t believe that some people can’t see that. Burden of proof is on the people drawing lines of exclusivity, not on those being excluded.
In favor of *inclusion, sorry
Was expanding the priesthood to all worthy men necessary for the survival and growth of the Church? Would I lack faith if I said that it was?
Wilford Woodruff rather explicitly stated that stopping polygamy was necessary for the survival of the Church. Was that just a lack of faith?
“Burden of proof is on the people drawing lines of exclusivity, not on those being excluded.”
Within the Church, I should think that burden of proof would be on those who want to change the Church’s current policy. If you actually believe in that whole “revelation” and “anointed” stuff.
“Was expanding the priesthood to all worthy men necessary for the survival and growth of the Church?”
It may or may not have been, but to even suggest that this was the only or primary or best reason for doing it is to ascribe a cynicism to church leaders (and/or to God) that verges on reasoning in bad faith.
MC, if it really is revelation and God’s will, that’d be a good reason. But you kind of have to be able to talk about it to make that distinction, and all the folk apologetic around the matter doesn’t help.
“It may or may not have been, but to even suggest that this was the only or primary or best reason for doing it is to ascribe a cynicism to church leaders (and/or to God) that verges on reasoning in bad faith.”
Never said “only” or “primary” or “best”. Maybe that was someone else.
That aside, I know that if there’s anything progressives in the Church hate, it’s ascribing improper motives to Church leaders. And by “improper”, I mean, “worrying about the growth and survival of the Church.”
I agree that there are a lot of dumb reasons out there. Alison does a good job of pointing them out. The Ordain Women site itself does a good of answering some of the simpler concerns as well. I think that these are all red-herrings, to be honest.
What I am not seeing on the bloggernacle is an substantive discussion of the doctrinal implications of ordaining women to the priesthood. It is easy — and politically correct — to make the case for the equity-based rational of universal ordination. But, I think that there are a lot possible doctrinal ramifications that we should be discussing, including:
1) If women are allowed to be ordained to the priesthood, would it be necessary from a doctrinal perspective for them to be ordained before they receive the higher temple ordinances? Why or why not?
2) If ordination to the priesthood was made available, would it be considered essential for a women’s salvation for her to be ordained to the priesthood in this life or the next, like it is for men? Why or why not?
3) What about the many women who have not been ordained to the priesthood that have already died? Would vicarious ordinances need to be performed for them? Would additional ordinances need to be performed for those that have already had vicarious work done for them? Why or why not?
4) If women were to be ordained to the priesthood, would changes to the temple ordinances be required? Would women and men receive the same ordinances that they do now? Would women be able to choose to receive the ordinances that are now given to men and visa versa?
5) Once ordained to the priesthood, would women be allowed to officiate in what are now male roles in the endowment ceremony? Would that not change the symbolism and meaning of the endowment ceremony if they were? And, would it not continue a gender division if they were not?
5) Would priesthood be required before women could serve as auxillary presidents, like it now is for men?
6) If ordination to the priesthood was to be considered optional (and not required for salvation) for women, like missionary service, would it then become optional for men too?
7) Would women and men still enter in the the “patriarchal order” when they are sealed in the temple? Or would that be done away with?
Perhaps, these are considered dumb by some as well, but I honestly don’t know the answers to them.
I think that before the brethren and the majority of church members are going to feel like they can importune the Lord on this subject, they are going to need to “study it out” by doing their best to answer questions like these.
Remember: Spencer W. Kimball didn’t just willy-nilly go to the temple one day and ask about blacks and the priesthood. His importuning came after much serious and scholarly work was done both by the brethren and outside scholars on the issue.
Perhaps there are those out there that can help by answering these and similar questions.
‘That aside, I know that if there’s anything progressives in the Church hate, it’s ascribing improper motives to Church leaders. And by “improper”, I mean, “worrying about the growth and survival of the Church.”’
MC: If it were true that the success of Mormonism will never depend on making any change that you can name, then one must believe that it is already fully perfect in every form and function. We have a doctrine of eternal progress and continuing revelation, doors opened to our knocking, not one of holding on to good-enough-as-is because wanting more proves some kind of weakness.
Unknown, the OP did already address your points somewhat. Logistics questions are valid, and will need to be faced and answered in the case of any change, but that’s not a good enough reason to recoil in fear from the prospect and avoid making the change itself.
Women need a meaningful voice in church governance because men do things like “forget” to invite them to pray in General Conference for 182 years or treat their ideas with respect or call them President instead of sister or truly consider or even understand their viewpoint! But the church is governed by those holding the priesthood so women will need priesthood ordination to hold high office and high office will be required to actually be heard and taken seriously by the well meaning but obviously subconsciously chauvinist patriarchy.
Either that, or prove by demonstration that un-ordained women -are- every bit as spiritual, powerful, needed, and capable as priesthood-holding men as we’re constantly told as a placation, and let them get called and set apart for positions that men need the priesthood for without needing to hold it in the first place. Now, wouldn’t that be a “money where your mouth is” move!
I never said I favor giving women the Priesthood. I am interested in someone engaging your arguments and it didn’t seem to me that anyone favoring giving women the priesthood was really engaging your arguments.
That said, I don’t think you are taking seriously, how certain LDS values support giving women the Priesthood.
I don’t have an opinion on women in the Priesthood. I do think feminists are culturally at odds with the Church. The am undecided on how that should play out – feminists to leave or knuckle under, or the church too be more supportive of feminist initiatives.
I guess I am just really dumb so why even bother?
I would never dismiss the pain that is caused to another woman who wants the priesthood. I don’t oppose that effort. I am ambivalent on the topic. Because I’ve served in callings where men report to women (public affairs, Primary, family history), that concern is a non-issue to me.
But I am hurt by the statement “Men have fatherhood. Your point is?”
My point is that motherhood is NOT the equivalent of fatherhood, at least it was not for me, but then maybe I am just dumb. NOTE: I am not claiming that motherhood = priesthood, but I resent very much the idea that motherhood = fatherhood.
My husband never had to drop a college class because of our pregnancies. He didn’t endure months of vomiting and hours of pain. And he hasn’t needed any surgery to fix the damage caused by childbearing (I’ve had two).
He didn’t give up 10 years of his life to physical demands of gestation and lactation. How is motherhood = fatherhood?
Maybe I am just too dumb to figure this out?
I am not complaining about the costs. My patriarchal blessing and church teachings help me to see that as the most important thing I did in life. But my husband had different ways of carrying out his responsibilities, and I am grateful for his providing during all those years that I spent in the bathroom vomiting.
I love the work by Valerie Hudson, Neylan McBaine,Susanna Morrill and others who have posited a complementary system that values the contributions of women. I think their way of looking at gender issues is a radically different paradigm that doesn’t fit into an easy black-white checklist.
Also, I do not think that things will be wonderfully different/better if we suddenly had female bishops. In the workplace, I’ve had some female bosses who were totally unsupportive. I imagine we’ll see the same thing from female leadership.
Oh well, might as well stop since this will just be dismissed as dumb, anyway….
“MC: If it were true that the success of Mormonism will never depend on making any change that you can name, then one must believe that it is already fully perfect in every form and function.”
Not only did I not say that no change will ever need to be made, I specifically cited changes that did have to be made in the past. I am sure there are others. I am, however, skeptical in the extreme that the particular change addressed in this post would be beneficial to the Church.
Obviously you fail to understand that your viewpoint can be pithily summarized in three words and even more pithily refuted in six words. I attribute this to the fact that you are too dumb to know what the word “dumb” means. You should look it up in a dictionary.
Since you are -not- arguing that motherhood is our stand-in for priesthood, I don’t see how the OP is calling you dumb. You’re not in that camp.
These are not “logistics” questions that can be deal with after the fact, but doctrinal ones that will need to be considered before any extension of the priesthood. They strike at the fundamental core of what the Church teaches is and is not necessary for salvation.
Indeed, according to the biographies of David O. McKay and Spencer W. Kimball, its was serious questions about the temple ordinances as they related to individuals with African descent that led the Brethren to start thinking seriously about extending the priesthood to African Americans.
More fundamentally, I think you are missing the point that the doctrinal questions with respect to African Americans had been studied and addressed before President Kimball’s final prayerful effort on the matter.
We would do well to stop addressing red-herrings and start discussing the real meat of the issue.
Wow, MC. Naismith and I rarely see eye-to-eye, but you are just plain and flat-out being contrary and mean. Knock it off. That was rude and uncalled for.
Unknown, I do believe that that is what this push is for, to be able to even start addressing those matters, because right now the conversation itself is something of a third-rail, and gets avoided like the plague rather than even talked about to that degree.
Let’s imagine that God thinks the priesthood is tied to gender, and is something that only men receive. And let’s set aside the debate about the “why” for now.
If that were the case, I’m not sure how God would’ve communicated it to us any differently than he has. Unlike the race-based priesthood ban, it is doctrine and not mere policy, clearly established not just by the words of the prophets, but also by scripture. Unlike polygamy, the commandments on the matter have not changed from time to time.
I wonder whether the problem is that God has spoken, but we don’t like what he said.
I believe the reason women don’t have the priesthood is because men are acting as proxies for Jesus Christ. Women are proxies for women in the temple and men are proxies for men. It really doesn’t have anything to do with who’s better, who has more time, etc.
Travis, could you point me to the scriptures that clearly establish that the Lord intends priesthood to be no-girls-allowed? Maybe I’m just poorly educated, but for all the talking about “doctrine” and “revelation” on the matter, I have a hard time finding anything canonized about it.
In the temple, yes, but why does that extend to life outside of it with such one-sided reach? Who are women “proxy” for outside of the temple, if men are still proxy for Christ?
Rune (#79) I have a different impression of what is going on based on blog posts here and elsewhere over the last few days.
It seems to me like the majority of people advocating to ordain women are already to the stage of “agitating” so that the Brethren will “ask, seek and knock” and that a revelation supposed will be received giving them what they want.
All of the arguments in support of this that I have seen are based on modern, politically correct notions of equality and feminist theory without engaging the actual doctrine of the Church as it has currently been revealed. Not one post on the major blogs has purported to discuss the doctrinal implications or basis for ordaining women. When anyone has questioned what ordaining women would mean to current doctrine and ordinances, the most common response has been to say that these are “logistical matters” that can be answered after a new revelation is received.
“Let’s imagine that God thinks the priesthood is tied to gender, and is something that only men receive. And let’s set aside the debate about the “why” for now…”
Travis, that is a very wise statement. Unfortunately, there is a horde of feminists lining up to spank you for your “insensitivity” for their “suffering.”
“Modern and politically correct” doesn’t mean it’s wordly and off-base, as so many invocations of those terms seem to imply. It can as easily mean it’s a viewpoint benefiting from learning from history.
You want in-depth posts on logistical and doctrinal implications? Have some patience. This is just barely on the table for discussion again after the fear and chill of the Sept. Seven. How can you have discussions on the details when mere mention is likely to get you shut straight down? Let’s give the topic some space before making specific demands of those finally, and bravely discussing it anew.
“Wow, MC. Naismith and I rarely see eye-to-eye, but you are just plain and flat-out being contrary and mean.”
Rune, I think you might need to re-read my earlier comments to see if it was really Naismith I was criticizing there.
Rune, you prove the point MC was trying to make. MC was being ironic. See #25. MC is validating of Naismith’s fear of being labeled ‘dumb’ by referencing the author of the OP’s comment to MC of being too dumb to look up ‘dumb’ in the dictionary.
But, to be fair, MC also doubts Naismith is capable of leadership, since she lacks the integrity and backbone that are the special province of men. As he gingerly set forth the case:
“Must I completely abandon the idea that there is something intrinsic to men that makes them better leaders for the Church? Like willingness to buck societal shaming in favor of standing steadfast in defense of the faith?”
@73– So, because Naismith had particularly difficult pregnancies, we’re not supposed to object to the ways that not just the reality but the mere possibility of motherhood–even for women who never conceive and bear children whether because of infertility, never marrying, or not even wanting kids–is simplistically used as an equivalency for priesthood? Puking for hours, something Naismith invokes to make her point about the specialness of motherhood, is equivalent to presiding?
Men DO have fatherhood. And yeah, it’s LOTS easier than motherhood, Naismith–you made your point. Awesome! One more way where men have it easier than women.
But the fact of men’s fatherhood (with all its easy-peasy glory) is used as proof of their right to preside. Whereas motherhood–which, as Naismith points out, involves considerable sacrifice and an ability to cope with physical trauma–is used as proof that women should be presided over.
Seems to me that someone who can manage motherhood would make an ideal leader.
Precisely who, Naismith, is saying “things will wonderfully different/better if we suddenly have female bishops”? I’ve never once heard anyone say that. I’ve only heard people say that things will be less unjust.
I didn’t say it was. I said you were being rude. She’s at least making points worth reading and considering in good faith.
Rune, let me spell it out. I think Naismith is exactly right. My comment was a sarcastic parody of Alison’s attempt to short-circuit arguments like Naismith’s by calling them “dumb” from the outset. If you read my prior interactions with Alison on this thread, you’ll see what I mean.
Yes, Rune. But she was also expressing fear of how these points will be taken in such a hostile environment. MC didn’t address her points, he addressed her declaimers and tried to validate her concern.
I get what you mean. You’re agreeing with her defensiveness against the post’s use of “dumb.” You’re still being rude.
I’ve read in several places around the bloggernacle over time about how, for you, physically bearing children was extremely difficult and taxing, and for this reason you do not see motherhood and fatherhood as equivalent. I am very sorry for the difficulties you have had and I hope you remind your children often what you went through for them ;) My experience was very different; I’ve born and nursed four children, with relatively no physical difficulties or strain. Quick, easy, unmedicated deliveries and not even one wave of nausea or bout of mastitis the whole way through. I know, it is completely unfair and I am very grateful for the luck and good genes I inherited, I guess. We’re probably the extreme cases; the physical toll on most women lies somewhere between us. I in no way discount the real sacrifice you made in bearing children, but it does not make a lot of sense to me to base a theology/church power structure on it given how different womens’ experiences with childbearing can be. It sounds like your husband was a great support to you through your difficulties, which is wonderful and how I would hope every spouse would respond to a spouse in need. I don’t see how either of you holding the priesthood would change that scenario. Certainly there are some men who have heart attacks or bouts of depression or other physical ailments, and when they are not able to serve as a priesthood holder they don’t and hopefully their ward and family rally around them. I understand you are not equating motherhood and priesthood, but you bring up your difficulties quite often in relationship to this discussion. As I said, while I do not discount them, I just don’t think they are especially representative of many womens’ experience.
Rune – I agree that we should all calm down. That is why I find the talk of “agitating” and imploring the brethren to start “asking, seeking and knocking” to be wildly premature.
I think that it would have been better to have looked at the doctrinal and ordinance implications of ordaining women and to be prepared to address these issues BEFORE starting to agitate for change. Perhaps, that review will render the desired outcome untenable and unnecessary for many. Perhaps not. But, we should have the doctrinal issues clear in mind before telling the Brethren to ask God whether we want to change things. A doctrinal basis for ordaining women to the priesthood would carry much more weight with the Brethren and the average Church member than appeals to feminist theory. And, again, this is how it worked prior to the 1978 revelation.
I fear, the apparent reluctance of those pushing women’s ordination to address the doctrinal issues in the early days of the campaign makes it seem that they are asking for something the implications of which they don’t really understand. If you can’t talk about how the changes will work, then how do you know that they are good?
Unknown, I understand that viewpoint. To me, the stated end goal, for some at least to come out and say, “this is what we’re shooting for,” is necessary for the discussion to happen with any sort of seriousness. Otherwise any discussion is just so much unnecessary academics as far as many would-be-key participants are concerned. It has to be real, to be real.
The “agitation” language has been grabbed a hold of specifically in reference to Gordon B. Hinkley’s interview with Larry King.
One more comment: Unlike the extension of the priesthood to those of African descent, which merely involved letting them partake of the ordinances and doctrinal structure already in place, extending priesthood to women could potentially implicate a large number of ordinances and doctrines. In other words, giving the priesthood to women would be much more complicated.
I hear you and respect your position. I just fail to see how people can rationally decide “what their shoot for” without first considering the possible impacts of their objectives.
And I would welcome that extension of further light and truth, especially for me and my sisters. It would be a welcome clearing of a dark and obscuring cloud that hangs over so many questions of what women’s ultimate divine place really looks like, and what our promise really is.
I confess that I do think men are generally better at ignoring the shaming of the media and other secular authorities. Among my acquaintances, I find far more women than men who actively flout the Church leadership when it doesn’t accord with the latest intellectual fad. But maybe that’s not a representative sample. It’s hard to say.
Then there is the fact that male leadership arises in so many varied forms and institutions that have nothing to with revelation or even religion, that one does wonder if there isn’t something about men that makes them natural leaders (if one permits oneself to think such thoughts).
(insert obviously sexist disclaimer that women have qualities superior to men as well, etc.)
“I just fail to see how people can rationally decide “what their shoot for” without first considering the possible impacts of their objectives.”
By being willing to actually have the discussion about it, and take good and compelling reasons into consideration in changing or correcting the specifics of the aim, as necessary. If you’re sitting in the bottom of a gulf and feel the need to get out, sometimes you just have to start climbing rather than worry about the fact that you can’t see out of it perfectly well first.
I don’t have a problem with women holding the Priesthood.
I do wonder how one can hold the opinion that women should hold the Priesthood AND hold the opinion that a just God has been pretty unconcerned with the matter. (or maybe that’s what the flood was all about…the original rainbow coalition)
Again, this is not an argument against women holding the Priesthood, I just don’t see how you can think like, Chris Z., that it is unjust for women not to and also believe that God is just.
I mean from the 10 commandments to the restored Gospel, it just doesn’t seem to have been high on his to do list. Why did he wait so long to inspire some feminists to get this thing fixed? Or do you think its only unjust now, in our present circumstances, but it wasn’t unjust in earlier times with different circumstances.
I mean we all have our own Theodicy, but it does seem like someone has some serious splainin’ to do about this whole sexism thing.
Good point, Mtnmarty. But I often think the exact same thing about the racial priesthood ban… It seems like someone has some serious ‘splainin’ to do there, too.
The world history is full of women being treated horribly, as property and chattel, brood-mares, heir-factories, bargaining chips, sex objects, and goods for barter that may or may not have souls. Believe me, I do want an accounting for all of the horribleness. Taken all together, it’s pretty obvious to me why it -would- take until such a time as we have such “politically-correct” ideas as that women are human beings too, and we’re -still- not all there on that concept in so many ways. It takes a long time to peel off the dead layers of dark history.
Rune, but what about the city of Enoch, is that the last step to translation -treating women fairly – or does God translate “on a curve”?
I can’t imagine a translated civilization that didn’t get there by treating each and every individual among them with full fairness, dignity, and consideration as one of God’s children who Jesus said are “alike unto me.” Whether it was the last step to get around to realizing women as full participants or if they figured that bit out sooner, I rather hope that we figure it out sooner rather than later.
Rune, you said I do want an accounting for all of the horribleness.
On reading your post I got a certain ill feeling that “beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks” is a masculine bodily metaphor for what you have in mind.
“It wasn’t me…it wasn’t me.”
Why on earth would you think that? I’m just saying, I would like to know what the darn good reason and recompense for all the ugly is going to be, once I’m on the other side. Let the menfolk have their heaven, I just want mine to be worth it, too.
Rune asked Why on earth would you think that?
Guilty conscience, of course. :)
Don’t listen to Shaggy much I take it.
An issue perhaps needs to be first answered by our Father in Heaven. Where is Mother in Heaven? As an older child (I’m nearly 65), I think I have the right to ask and to get whatever information is available on that question.
Of course, meanwhile since we’re on the topic, I hope women and girls are ordained like men and boys. I’m fully for that. I agree that many reasons given not to do so seem quite silly, as is well elucidated in the postings and the discussion here.
I think knowing about our Mother in Heaven is overdue. But we are probably all at fault for not being the type of inquisitive kids who ask and ask and ask. The idea to inquire never occured to me until this past year or so.
So, my “logistical questions are interesting” but dumb “and made with little thought” (per #11).
I wasn’t aware Times and Seasons had mind readers as contributors.
Mtnmarty, heh, nope, sorry.
wreddyornot, I do think that whatever we find about women in general will involve more light and knowledge about Her. I don’t think you can possibly have one without the other, in our theology.
Well, we don’t have a Saviorette, so we aren’t proxies for one, but we are angels. :)
In reply to Euthyphronics (#82):
First, there’s the fact that the masculine pronoun is always used in reference to priesthood holders and that all named priesthood holders are male, and not once in the scriptures is there any reference to women being ordained or holding the priesthood. (AofF 5; D&C 131; D&C 107:29; Heb. 5:1; etc. etc. etc.)
I don’t think one can argue with any credibility that it was just coincidental that every priesthood holder in the scriptures is male. But here are a few more explicit indications:
2 Nephi 13:12; Isaiah 3:12: Women holding men’s positions is prophesied as a sign that the people are in error.
1 Tim. 2:11-12 and 1 Cor. 14:35: You might dispute my use of these verses, since we allow women to speak in church, and thus argue that we can ignore these verses altogether. But that’s a separate issue with its own explanations and reconciliations. We don’t get to just strike the offending verses, as if they were no longer canonized. They say that women in the church are not to hold positions of authority over men.
You didn’t ask for any evidence that the prophets have clearly stated that the priesthood is restricted to males, but I thought I ought to provide at least one quote to demonstrate that, too:
“Women do not hold the priesthood because the Lord has put it that way. It is part of His program. Women have a very prominent place in this Church. Men hold the priesthood offices of the Church.” -Gordon B. Hinckley
Reading this comment, it comes off as a little blunt. That is partially because Paul’s verbiage that I quote is blunt. I don’t mean to offend. I appreciate the attempt at an honest engagement of this issue. My main point here is that while it’s good to be honest in confronting the issue, we also need to make sure that we’re reading the scriptures honestly. Too often it seems that people squeeze through any interpretive loophole to suit their views, rather than acknowledge the plain and intuitive meaning.
“Must I completely abandon the idea that there is something intrinsic to men that makes them better leaders for the Church? Like willingness to buck societal shaming in favor of standing steadfast in defense of the faith?”
“I confess that I do think men are generally better at ignoring the shaming of the media and other secular authorities. Among my acquaintances, I find far more women than men who actively flout the Church leadership when it doesn’t accord with the latest intellectual fad. But maybe that’s not a representative sample. It’s hard to say.
Then there is the fact that male leadership arises in so many varied forms and institutions that have nothing to with revelation or even religion, that one does wonder if there isn’t something about men that makes them natural leaders (if one permits oneself to think such thoughts).”
If Alison wrote a post trotting out this argument, calling it dumb, and presenting a quick dismissive counter-argument, people would be making comments about how cheap and disingenuous it is to choose really outlandish and self-evidently dumb arguments from your opponents and hold them up and dismiss them as representative of the other side.
“not once in the scriptures is there any reference to women being ordained or holding the priesthood.”
Except for Phoebe and Junia, who are references as deacons and apostles in the New Testament.
And with all the rewriting that has happened to scripture, which was almost always originally written by a man in a patriarchal culture to begin with, I hardly think we should reject the possibility of new light and knowledge because these references are scarce.
If you use male pronouns and male language in the scriptures as a reason for exclusion from the Priesthood, women might as well just assume exclusion from the eternities as well, because the canon taken literally (as far as pronouns are concerned) really doesn’t paint a pretty picture.
I agree Rune, what we could learn about women, including what we might learn from them as leaders with priesthood authority, could help shed light on MinH.
Ahh, Travis, shall we not humbly look prospectively, not retrospectively? We want to improve not perpetuate.
LOL, maybe, maybe not. I’m just exploring the studio space…
Fabulous! I think you’ve covered every objection to women holding the priesthood I’ve ever heard. Can’t think of any others. Where does that leave us?
Exactly where we began… lacking understanding and waiting for further light and knowledge.
If one does permit oneself to think such thoughts, one probably ought to then point out to oneself how ridiculous such a thought is and how roundly it will be condemned by sensible people if one expresses it in public, in just the same way an argument that white people are natural leaders in ways other races are not on the basis that so many leaders of the past have been white.
MC, are you doing some sort of Poe’s law art project? Comments like that are such a caricature of what a self-interested defender of misogyny would say that it’s hard to believe anyone would actually avow them.
In reply to wreddyornot (#119):
Yes, we want to look prospectively. But do those words sweep away our commitment to the scriptures? And are the scriptures not progressive? We call them “prophets” precisely because they look forward to the future.* If we declare ourselves at liberty to scuttle anything that has become difficult, then we have no anchor.
*Etymologically speaking, that is. I’m aware that prophesying of the future is only one of a prophet’s roles.
Who knows, maybe MS is really a Nietzsche-school subversive and is really secretly on our side.
What prophet said that in our day, or any day, it would be forbidden for women to act with power in the name of God?
AMS, I love this post! It stands with Orwell’s classic “Women Praying in General Conference: Responding to the Top Four Objections” as a great reference for going back to when the same dumb arguments are brought up repeatedly.
Travis, sometimes things become difficult because they are wrong and false, and increased scrutiny reveals this with greater clarity.
Travis, I don’t think the criteria is simply scuttling difficulties; no one is advocating wholesale abandonment of core commandments or anything like it. To the contrary. But to question the meaning of the metaphorical (e.g., a rib from Adam’s side, the Garden of Eden, etc.), to explore the significance of the evolution from Old to New Testament faith, to question blind obedience in various scriptural scenarios, and yes, to do away, as we clearly have, with such as the obviously onerous ownership of girls and women and the bigotries of race and the like is our responsibility whether the prophet leads or not. We are answerable to the Holy Spirit, not to a man (or a woman), no matter their position or place, and not to the scriptures. Why do you think those caveats about the weaknesses of man in them exist?
Ziff, I’m flattered that you consider a post which is barely over two months old to be classic.
Re: turning to the scriptures to answer questions about women & ordination, etc.: An “argument from silence” (e.g., “women don’t hold priesthood because there aren’t any [or many] scriptures that say that they do”) is particularly unfortunate in a church claiming continuing revelation, per this essay (the last section in particular): http://www.dialoguejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/sbi/articles/Dialogue_V27N02_197.pdf
wreddyornot, whether ordaining women to the priesthood would be scuttling “core values” is a matter of opinion. What exactly are our “core values”? I think many Mormons, maybe most, would disagree with you on that–the complementary roles of men and women are pretty central to our conception of family, God, and exaltation, and most believe that priesthood is directly related to all of that.
I bet most would also disagree about the idea that the Garden of Eden was metaphorical, that religion “evolved” from the OT to the NT, as opposed to NT religion being a revealed fulfillment of the Mosaic Law, which was also divinely revealed. We are answerable to God, yes, but isn’t the point of having a prophet that he is God’s authorized representative, and that God reveals to him what God wants to change? Isn’t it pretty clear that when some revelation needs to be given to the whole church, that God is a god of order, and that He reveals it through the established leadership? Would the Holy Ghost encourage individual church members to defy church leadership on a central point of established church doctrine?
I guess that brings us full circle. Those who believe women should be ordained to the priesthood generally deny that there’s any established doctrine on the matter.
(Along those lines, a P.S. to nat kelly: I don’t think that the word “deacon” means a priesthood office in that context. The word means a servant, but also came to be associated with a particular priesthood office. Likewise, the word “apostle” means “one who is sent,” and the word is used both to refer generally to those sent out in Christ’s name, like Paul himself, and more specifically to those particular twelve apostles who held the priesthood office called “apostle.” I can’t imagine how we can read Paul’s very clear feelings about women in the church and then think that he was telling us that Phoebe and Junia were ordained. They were “deacons” and “apostles” in the sense that they were missionaries, much like female missionaries today.)
(In reply to Travis’ paranthesis: There is a great deal of evidence that Paul did not write the more sexist books attributed to him. I think we can look at references to female deacons and apostles point blank and take them at their word….. or we can choose to go through a bunch of mental and linguistic gymnastics to make it look like it doesn’t say what it says, even though we would never think to go through such a process when it came to the word being applied to a man in scripture. The same word for deacon is used in 1 Tim 3:8 and Phil. 1:1, and nobody disputes that those seem to be references to Priesthood offices.)
Travis, I didn’t speak of core values, but of core commandments. This interchange is beyond the scope of me setting forth what I see as core commandments. Aso, my faith is not a matter of aligning my beliefs with many or most Mormons. I don’t care whether a majority don’t see the Garden of Eden as metaphorical or an evolution between Old Testament and New Testament faith, It is a matter of aligning it with the will of God and my conscience. Tell me just what you are talking about when you speak of “the complementary roles of men and women” that are central to family. Nowhere have I suggested that the president of the church is not God’s authorized representative or that changes for the church are not revealed through him. That does not mean you or I or anyone else, member or nonmember, cannot outside the order things be inspired to suggest changes. This is not a matter of defiance. It is a matter of honest, deliberate, heartfelt questioning and seeking. I recommend it for anyone, including you.
Read Numbers 12:1-11 (http://www.lds.org/scriptures/ot/num/12.1-11?lang=eng#0), then consider the following from the Institute manual for the Old Testament (http://www.lds.org/manual/old-testament-student-manual-genesis-2-samuel/numbers-1-12?lang=eng):
According to Josephus, when Moses was a general of the Egyptian army in the attack against the Ethiopians, he married an Ethiopian woman as a political alliance to end the war (see Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, bk. 2, chap. 10, par. 1).
The ostensible reason for Miriam’s and Aaron’s complaining was that the Ethiopians were non-Israelite descendants of Cush. The real reason for the complaint, however, seems to have been jealousy motivated by Moses’ position as spiritual leader and prophet of Israel.
“This elevation of Moses excited envy on the part of his brother and sister, whom God had also richly endowed and placed so high, that Miriam was distinguished as a prophetess above all the women of Israel, whilst Aaron had been raised by his investiture with the high-priesthood into the spiritual head of the whole nation. But the pride of the natural heart was not satisfied with this. They would dispute with their brother Moses the pre-eminence of his special calling and his exclusive position, which they might possibly regard themselves as entitled to contest with him not only as his brother and sister, but also as the nearest supporters of his vocation. Miriam was the instigator of the open rebellion, as we may see both from the fact that her name stands before that of Aaron, and also from the use of the feminine verb.” (Keil and Delitzsch, Commentary, 1:3:75.)
Today some members of the Church fall into a similar trap. Because the Lord blesses them with the gifts of the Spirit, they think that they have equal or superior status to the presiding priesthood authority. Soon they are led into apostasy if they do not humble themselves and submit to the Lord’s servants called to preside. Even if Moses’ wish had been granted and every soul in Israel had received the gift of prophecy (see Numbers 11:29), Moses would still have been the one chosen by the Lord to preside. One question that arises is, Why was only Miriam, and not Aaron, punished with leprosy when both had participated in the opposition? There are two possible reasons. First, as Keil and Delitzsch pointed out, Miriam was the instigator of the attack on Moses’ right to preside. Thus, her sin was the more grievous. Second, for Aaron to seek priesthood leadership demonstrated pride and self-aggrandizement. He aspired to a position to which he had not been called. When Miriam sought that position, she not only demonstrated pride but also sought to set up an order contrary to God’s system of government. From the beginning, the priesthood callings and the right to preside were given to men. Miriam’s attempt to achieve equality with Moses was a serious breach of that divinely instituted system of order.
Travis, thanks for your response (#116), and sorry for a slow reply (my internet has been down all day).
Nat Kelly has pretty much said exactly what I would have said about your first point. On the scriptures you point out: none are unequivocal, and the Timothy/Corinthans scriptures are too close to similar slavery-supporting statements (I Cor 7:21) for me to be super-comfortable basing a whole lot of current practice on them. Finally, I didn’t ask for quotes from latter-day prophets because, while I do sustain latter-day prophets as prophets, seers, and revelators, I also believe they are (as Joseph said) only prophets when “acting as such”. We have too much history with sustained prophets, seers, and revelators saying things about how the Lord feels about priesthood and race that later turned out to be wrong for me to take those types of statements as applied to gender the definitive word and will of the Lord.
To be clear, I’m not trying to ignore or wrest these scriptures. Nor am I saying that somehow the balance of evidence suggests the Lord wants the priesthood extended to women. Rather I’m suggesting the existing evidence doesn’t make the sort of clear-cut, unequivocal case you seem to think it makes, and as such we shouldn’t balk at asking the Lord for further clarification. You essentially asked (in #80) how the Lord could have been clearer that he only wants the priesthood to be extended to men. How about a section of the Doctrine and Covenants where the Lord says, “Verily, listen to He who is your redeemer: My priesthood is to be extended to the men of the church only, as a standing law for now and forever, for I have other works for my daughters to do”? In the early days of the church, friends could stroll down to Joseph’s house and ask him what the Lord wanted them to do and get their own section of the Doctrine and Covenants. It amazes and disturbs me that so many in the Church today insist that a group of women who are hurt and confused about the relationship between gender and priesthood shouldn’t ask their prophet, seer, and revelator to gain, from the Lord, unambiguous direction and revelation about his will in this matter.
I don’t think God has any problem with us calling a prophet a prophet instead of a Prophet.
I shared that for what is in the last paragraph:
“When Miriam sought [Moses’] position, she not only demonstrated pride but also sought to set up an order contrary to God’s system of government. From the beginning, the priesthood callings and the right to preside were given to men. Miriam’s attempt to achieve equality with Moses was a serious breach of that divinely instituted system of order.”
In reply to Euthyphronics:
I have no problem with people asking for clarification, and although the scriptures seem clear to me, maybe it doesn’t seem so clear to others. What I don’t like as much is when people affirm that they know the Church’s current position is wrong, and what it ought to do (see, for example, Ziff’s comment #128)(apologies if I misread you, Ziff).
What if we asked and the Lord DID give a revelation like your example? Would the people who are currently hurt and confused be satisfied? If God said that priesthood is for men only just like Y chromosomes are for men only, and it has nothing to do with superiority and everything to do with psychology and human nature and the need for religion to meet both men’s and women’s needs, and that the genders are complementary and interdependent and must remain interdependent for the good of both …would the women (and men) who are currently offended not be offended any more?
There are some places where God explains his reasoning, but he usually doesn’t. I suspect that if he didn’t, then those who currently think it a patriarchal (a word which has acquired a negative connotation) and sexist system would feel even more frustrated. But if he explained his reasoning, even if it were perfect and wise and omniscient reasoning, it might very well not seem so to us in our limited understanding, and many would still be unsatisfied.
I would welcome a clarification on the matter, but I can imagine several reasons why God would not want to give one. However, whether or not the prophet ever seeks or God ever gives such a revelation, I do believe that the Holy Ghost can reveal the truth on this or any other question to any individual (1 Cor. 2:10-11).
There seems to be a lot of talk lately about ordaining women to the priesthood. I’m not sure who, if anyone, might read this comment–I certainly haven’t read all of the 139 comments above mine–but I thought I might take a moment to explain and mention some points of doctrine that perhaps ought to be emphasized.
Just by way of background, I am a 37-year-old, never-married, male, lifelong Church member. That may or may not have bearing on what I’m about to say. Additionally, it should go without saying, but it never hurts to include the disclaimer that anything I say should not be interpreted as official statements of Church doctrine, and that I alone am responsible for what I say here.
The principle is a basic one, taught by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:11, “Neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord.” In this world, we see a man and a woman as single, separate entities. Thus, for example, Hillary Clinton can run for President of the United States even though her husband has already served the two-term Constitutional limit. Hillary wasn’t the President during 1993-2001 (jokes aside), thus, people don’t have a problem with her running for President on that basis.
But God’s ways are higher than man’s ways. What constitutes the “fulness of the priesthood?” Is it not those keys which are exercised in Holy Temples, whereby man and woman, husband and wife, might be sealed eternally in heaven and in earth? So, recognizing that man and woman are not without each other in the Lord, is not the fulness of the priesthood which was conferred upon the man only realized through the sealing of the man and his wife?
Until that station has been reached, men and women may hold callings of approximate equivalence in their spheres. An Elders’ Quorum President and a Relief Society President are roughly analogous. Young Men’s Presidencies and Young Women’s Presidencies likewise perform similar functions. A person from either gender may be called as a Sunday School teacher, a ward or full-time missionary, or a family history consultant.
However, certain callings require that the individual be married–Bishops, Stake Presidents, Temple Presidents, Mission Presidents, General Authorities. Why? Why does an individual need to be sealed to a wife before they can receive these callings? These higher callings are reserved for those who have received the fulness of the priesthood. And their wives serve with them. The role may be more defined for a Mission President’s wife or a Temple Matron, with others functioning more in a supportive capacity, but they are needed, and are a part of the interviewing process.
Perhaps this principle also illustrates how women are able to serve in Temples as they do, or why my father would often invite my mother into the room when giving a father’s blessing, or how, 75 years ago, as with other similar examples of the era, my great-grandmother was able to give a blessing to my grandfather at a time of extremity.
The priesthood is bestowed upon men, but it is not intended for it to be held singly. It is intended for it to be held jointly, though in different roles, so that both the man and the woman, sealed together as husband and wife, may be exalted as a single unit.
The Lord has his purposes in having created two genders. This was not done by accident, but rather by design. Some practices in gender roles may have arisen because of doctrinal misinterpretations and false traditions (the historical subjugation of women, for example), but some do have holy and vital and eternal principles at their core.
Again, I speak only for myself, not on any Church authority, nor even that of a married man myself.
Travis, I would love clarification, too. But I’m not asking for that. Rather, it seems clear to me that various individuals understand the same passages of scripture so differently on this issue so as to destroy all confidence in settling the question by an appeal to extant revelation. I’m just asking for a definitive statement from The Lord, whether he “explains” it or not.
Would everyone “agitating” now be happy if a revelation were recieved and The Lord said priesthood was make-only? Of course not, but so what? Nothing will make everyone happy. For my part, though, while I would love to see the priesthood extended to my sisters on Christ, if its not going to be I would much prefer that to happen thanks to an unambiguous statement from on high than thanks to flimsy prooftexting and shaky leaps of logic.
If god said that, he would cease to be god, because that’s a lie. Religion does not currently meet women’s needs. This is what so many women are saying. It would be about superiority, because it privileges men’s needs over women’s, and the only reason to do that is if men’s needs are somehow intrinsically more important than women’s.
btw, there is the occasional woman born with a Y chromosome, so both god and everyone else will have to come up with a better comparison than that.
To be clear: I wasn’t bringing up my own pregnancy challenges as a reason for why women should not have the priesthood. I was bringing it up as a protest of the idea in the OP that motherhood = fatherhood.
The extent to which those differences should be a factor in assignments, I leave to others. But that the differences exist is at least worth considering.
Obviously from my screen name, I am into science fiction. So I have read/seen stories about species in which there are multiple genders, or more than one gender, or in which medical technology has eliminated the need for in-body pregnancy/lactation. I can imagine how our lives would be so different. With all those possibilities to choose from, what kind of a God would choose to make us like this? Was s/he dumb, misogynist, or is there something we can learn from the experience?
I guess I have decided the latter has some value.
Also, I can envision how my life would be different without the church’s emphasis on motherhood, because I live in a mostly non-LDS area, and most of my friends are non-LDS. The year that my fourth child was born, there were no other babies in our ward, so I organized a playgroup of all non-LDS moms. As I talked about the church’s value of motherhood, they listened with hunger.
And of course those women all had one, at most two children. One of the women who wanted a second child did not have the baby because her husband would not support the idea. He resented having her out of the workforce longer, and saw no reason, with no vision of spirits who needed to come to earth or the importance of family as the basic unit of the church.
While I don’t dismiss Rune’s accurate and excellent point in #105, that is not the full story, either. A lot of women have benefitted from husbands who took the “protect and provide” role seriously, allowing the woman to fulfill her role as mother. I appreciate that not every woman is a mother, but sociobiology theory suggests that perhaps we all have a vested interest in the next generation, and in LDS thinking this is especially true. As I personally am less affected by those issues, I don’t resent the emphasis on mothers raising children.
Also, my experience outside the church is that the drive for “gender equality” often becomes male-normative, dismissing the work and contributions of women. So while I will accept and support the change to female priesthood whenever that happens, I was personally hoping that first we would get to a point where women’s contributions were seen as being equal but different.
I am not sure that female priesthood is the only remedy for some of the reasons given for that change. I agree that decisions should not be made without women at the table, but having women in meetings, which can and does often happen now, is another solution. Indeed, on more than one occasion when I disagreed with something that was being done, I complained to the bishop–and learned that women were actually there, and lobbied for the choice that was taken, with which I disagreed. (Embarrassing but informative).
“We’re probably the extreme cases; the physical toll on most women lies somewhere between us.”
Not sure that is accurate. While I probably am in the worst 10% for nausea & vomiting, that is just one challenge. I never was put on bed rest or had gestational diabetes, eclampsia, hemoraghing, or the numerous other ways that women might be affected by pregnancy. Please let’s not forget that childbirth is still the most common reason from women to die in many places around the globe, and was through history.
Perhaps modern medicine has taken us beyond all that, and there is no longer a need for husbands to play the provide and protector role. But for me, that time over the toilet bowl was my “unfeminist awakening.” All that stupid stuff about men providing for their wifey-poo as if she was a helpless child….suddenly made a great deal of sense to me.
That’s quite the blanket statement Chris Z (142). Currently religion meets a lot of women’s needs, and God would meet a lot more if they asked God what their needs were, just as he would with men.
As long as women are seen as creatures who are somehow inappropriate for roles of presiding and leading, as long as they are expected to be subordinate–and make no mistake; all the rhetoric in the universe about how “men and women are equal in god’s plan blah blah blah” won’t change the fact that if women can’t lead, they ARE subordinate and expected to remain so–their contributions will always be seen as inferior. The contributions of an inferior ARE INFERIOR to the contributions of a superior.
For women’s contributions to be seen as equal, WOMEN MUST BE EQUAL.
Out of curiosity, Naismith, how old were you when you got married? Did you live alone as an adult for any length of time? Did you ever have a really bad bout of stomach flu or food poisoning all by yourself? I remember getting food poisoning in France as a college student in a youth hostel. It was miserable, puking in a communal toilet and having to plead for them to let me stay in bed since normally they kick everyone out of the hostel during the day.
Modern medicine most definitely has not taken us beyond all that. Because here’s the thing, Naismith: it’s not just pregnancy that makes people puke. And having married the guy who knocked you up (four times!) doesn’t guarantee that he won’t die or get drafted in a war or get transferred out of state while you have to stick around to sell the old house or any number of things sometime in the first trimester and leave you to puke on your own.
What matters is not that a woman has a man around to take help her when she is pregnant, but that PEOPLE have OTHER PEOPLE around to help us all when we are ill.
Oh good grief. Now women aren’t even allowed to determine our own needs. We have to ask god what our needs are, as if we can’t tell by ourselves. Certainly there are plenty of old men in Utah trying to tell us what our needs are–and we’re supposed to shut up and listen. We don’t tell them what our needs are; they tell us.
fyi, Cameron: women are leaving the church at somewhere around 75% (slightly higher for younger women, slightly lower for older). A good chunk of the remaining 25% of women who stay take antidepressants and get plastic surgery at a rate higher than the rest of the country. That’s a pretty strong indication that their needs are not being met.
But maybe if you keep telling them that their needs are being met, they’ll eventually believe you.
Or maybe they’ll hear men imply that they’re just begging for some leprosy for having needs and desires at all and decide that, whether or not God is in it, and in spite of their almost desperate attempts to stay and make it all work, there is way too much thinly-veiled hatred for women to abide, and follow the 75% out.
Seriously, if you read that bit about Miriam and your first conclusion is that she’s being punished extra for being a woman, that says an awful lot more about how you view women than anything else. Maybe Miriam as an individual was such a persuasive, capable, and powerful leader that it took physical maiming and a fearful infectious disease to sever her connection with the people. Or maybe she just GOT leprosy because she was moving from slavery to rather rough living conditions with a huge mass of people doing the same and someone mistook coincidence with causation in the long telephone-game of passing on story traditions.
My speculation is as good as yours, and you don’t have to jump to the idea that she was extra smited for being female, and you certainly don’t have to jump to the conclusion that it would have especial relevance now, particularly in light of the other female leaders and prophetesses that are, in fact, mentioned in the Bible. (Even if they do get conveniently omitted or reduced to the role of “special friend” in your Sunday School classes.)
Maybe try to imagine what the world would look like if you -didn’t- automatically believe that being female was an extra-special, extra-punishable case, and that personal attributes and individual circumstances mattered more than what chromosomes or genitals one was sporting.
the circularity of Cameron’s basic position is worth calling attention to:
Religion tells you what your needs are, then tells you that it meets those needs.
If you still think you have needs that are unmet, the problem is with you. You have deceived yourself about what your needs are, and you need to seek correction through religion, because religion tells you what your real needs are, and they are more important than the fake needs you imagine you have.
In other words, don’t trust yourself. You are not inherently capable of identifying or understanding your needs. Trust old men, trust old books, but NEVER trust your own voice–unless it parrots what the old men and the old books say.
Thank you, Jeremiah, for demonstrating how damaging scripture can be when read through the most virulently misogynistic lens possible.
Go get ’em, tiger.
Thanks also, Jeremiah, for showing that you at least do not think women are or should be equal to men.
How about a new post by one of you bright young minds? Something like “Dumb Reasons for LDS Men and Women to Lose Sight of the Eternities and Fixate on Things None of Us Fully Understand?”
Or how about “Dumb Reasons for a People Blessed with so Much to Revile each other?”
Come on people, we are all better than this…
How exactly is wanting to know more about our eternal place and nature, and learn and grow towards that goal in this life as we are taught this mortal probation is for, losing sight of the eternities?
How is it reviling anything, let alone anyone, to ask to actually sit at the feast the gospel promises, rather than at the ‘kiddie table?’ (And how is it not reviling the seekers of the repast to condemn them roundly for doing so?)
Dumb Reasons for LDS Men and Women to Lose Sight of the Eternities and Fixate on Things None of Us Fully Understand –
Doctrine and Covenants 78:6-7
“6 For if ye are not equal in earthly things ye cannot be equal in obtaining heavenly things;
7 For if you will that I give unto you a place in the celestial world, you must prepare yourselves by doing the things which I have commanded you and required of you.”
Dumb Reasons for a People Blessed with so Much to Revile Each Other
Brothers, the entire structure and institution of the church is organized from your perspective, to meet your needs, to help you serve and meet each others needs, and to train up Godly men. You need not revile women who seek that kind of support to truly participate and practice themselves as Godly women, and to grow and achieve in such a way that glorifies our Heavenly Parents. Extending such blessings in kind to the sisters will not diminish what you have been given, and will only increase and edify the whole. Do not revile them for that righteous desire.
@151 Dumb Reasons for a People Blessed with so Much to Revile Each Other
Because no discussion of women’s disenfranchisement is complete until it intrudes so vigorously on some old man’s attention that he has to make a comment informing everyone that the matter is not worth attending to or commenting on.
(oh, the irony)
But given that he thinks so little of the matter and has so little to say about it most of the time, why on earth should anyone else think it matters? Why should anyone else have something to say? We all deserve to be chastised, rebuked and reviled for caring about and discussing things that don’t matter all that much to him!
nat kelly @149
“Thank you, Jeremiah, for demonstrating how damaging scripture can be when read through the most virulently misogynistic lens possible.”
How is sharing from the Institute manual published by the church demonstrating this?
Chris Z @150
“Thanks also, Jeremiah, for showing that you at least do not think women are or should be equal to men.”
With respect to the Priesthood, this is correct. What I shared from the Institute manual plainly states that God’s system of governance from the beginning has been men holding the Priesthood.
CES, apart from its virtues, has also often been the distribution hub for all kinds of folk doctrine and folk apologetic, including all the curse of Cain crap. It’s a manual, not canonized scripture. That you’re not the only one to latch onto that particularly misogynistic idea doesn’t mean it’s not misogynistic. That you gravitate to that one item on the manual to confirm your own bias still speaks to what your bias is.
Jeremiah @156: Great, so you’ve got a source you can quote for your own repugnant misogyny. Doesn’t make it any less repugnant or misogynist.
If male domination and female subordination is really god’s system of governance, you have a bigger problem than any institute manual can solve, and that’s the fact that you worship an immoral god, and doing so makes you more and more immoral every day.
and if marriage is required in the celestial kingdom, you’ll have a problem there, because women will not stick around for what you’re offering.
Chris Z @158
How does following the Lord’s established system count as misogyny?
Jeremiah Walgren @159:
In the OT, God announces all the time that he hates people. Clearly, the god you worship hates women far more than he “loves” them. He’s a cruel, abusive parent, and he relies on lackeys like you to explain why his misogyny and meanness are the order we must all accept.
The misogynist decrees of a misogynist god are examples of misogyny.
Eternity in the presence of such an immoral being would be hell, not heaven. Good thing we can reject him. He deserves to be rejected.
And best of all is the fact that he’s a complete construct, someone men like you have created in their own misogynist image. I await faithfully the day when people like you are no longer so hard-hearted and blind that the more loving gods we’ve been promised cannot fully reveal himself and herself to us.
I bear testimony of the truthfulness of what I’ve said and invite you to prayerfully consider it, so that you might awaken to the truth.
Because right now you languish in idolatry and error, and it’s unpleasant to watch.
Unlike the burning of heretics, which for generations was pleasant to watch.
In other words, what’s the point of being of being enlightened, using that light to shine on the error of others and then not even enjoying it.
Chris Z @160
I believe The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the only true and living church on the earth today. I believe Jesus Christ Himself is at the head of this church and leads us through His servant Thomas S. Monson, a true and living prophet of God. I believe Jesus Christ restored and organized His church – this church, the LDS Church – through His servant Joseph Smith, also a true prophet of God.
I believe the Jesus Christ that leads this church is the same Jesus Christ who atoned for our sins as recorded in the New Testament. I also believe He is the God of the Old Testament, as He Himself says so in the New Testament.
The God I believe in and worship loves each and every woman and has great interest in each of their lives as they are His daughters. The Plan of Salvation provides a way for each of His beloved daughters to return to Him again one day.
From the beginning, God has given the Priesthood to men. It is by His design that it is this way. It is His Priesthood, it is His church, it is His system of governance. The scriptures plainly show this is true.
“The Family: A Proclamation to the World” is the word of God reveled through the leaders of His church. It clearly explains the family as God designed and intended it to be.
Anyway, thank you for your time and patience in answering my questions.
@162: Exactly! We all have to be missionaries for the real gospel. Once you know the truth, you’re obligated to share it–as Bruce Springsteen said, “that’s where the fun is”! Mormons know better than anyone how to call people to repentance. It’s nice to see how easily standard LDS rhetoric can be turned against misogyny instead of just defending it.
I have so many thoughts, but you’re doing so well without me! :) I’ll try to respond to a few things later, but much to do this weekend!
Thanks for the continued input.
@Chris Z (146)
“Oh good grief. Now women aren’t even allowed to determine our own needs. We have to ask god what our needs are, as if we can’t tell by ourselves. Certainly there are plenty of old men in Utah trying to tell us what our needs are–and we’re supposed to shut up and listen. We don’t tell them what our needs are; they tell us.”
Chris, my statement was a general one referring to spiritual myopia that any individual, male or female, can develop about their own needs. From my own personal experience, and experience of hundreds of others, and I would submit, anyone honest about their relationship with the Lord–including last general conference (‘Where is the Pavilion?’) that we often are mistaken about our own needs, in spite of our spiritual knowledge and guidance. I was touched by the story in that talk. Notice I didn’t imply that old men in Utah would tell women their needs, but that the Lord could tell each person their needs if they were willing to fully commit to His answer.
Would you be willing to accept if those who feel their needs are not being met -have- been taking their matters to the Lord, and feel guided to ask these questions?
Your argument against presupposes that is not the case.
That is unfortunate for you and the people you know, Cameron, but it is not adequate justification for me to accept that because you do not know yourself, I should deny what I have learned about myself and what I need.
It is, however, reason for me to maintain my belief that religion makes it harder for people to know themselves and to recognize and articulate their needs.
All are alike unto God.
We learn that men are to be Kings and Priests and women are to be Queens and Priestesses.
The church may explain why women’s progress has been stunted, or it can be quiet and just reverse the policy that improperly stopped the progress of one gender.
@ Chris Z, Religion has nothing to do with people confusing wants and needs. It happens since birth and continues well into adulthood, independent of world view. Tangible interactions with the Spirit of God bring things back into focus and help us better understand what paths can make us the happiest. I think for now we can only agree to disagree.
@mungagungadin – I respectfully find your comment #169 a bit contradictory.
Actually, it does. For instance, people think the fact that their church wants them to marry super young means that they need to marry super young. In reality, there is no such need. Women feel a deep need to develop their intellectual potential and have a meaningful career; the church tells them this is only a selfish desire, not a need.
It goes on and on. If you were trained to find truth rather than orthodoxy, you could come up with all sorts of examples yourself.
Long discussion but when we begin to discuss sources for whether God has revealed anything regarding women and priesthood I am suprised to see so few references to the endownment ceremony with is unambigous nod to priestesshood and women acting with authority during an ordinance. Also, how about the newly available Nauvoo Relief Society Minutes where our restoring prophet organized the relief society after the order of the priesthood, called the sisters “priests” even as in “Enoch’s day” etc.
In my mind, the rest of scripture set aside it seems that during the restoration there is ample evidence to at very least raise the substantive question about whether we have successfully finished Josepth’s work when it comes to restoring a divine feminine. Gien the struggle over polygamy, Emma and the RS being disbanded and Brigham’s track record in developing canonizable doctrince and priesthood boundardies (Adam-God theory is now called a deadly heresy and teh church has officially rejected his belief that black men would never hold the priesthood before the millenium and refuses to acknowledge any of the “folk-doctrine” taught to support his policy shift), there is a read-made reason to believe we may have stalled out on this aspect of the restoration. For me at least, it is more than enough to seriously reopen the question of whether we fully understand the relationship between women and the priesthood and whether our exclusion of women from the priesthood may indeed be more a product of our own cultural beliefs than God’s divine wish.
ergh…phones. sorry for the typos.
I happen to be one who would not be bothered by women being ordained to THE priesthood or to A priesthood. I also don’t mind people asking, as long as it is respectful to the Church leadership and the Church itself.
That said, I agree there are many dumb reasons given on why women should not get the priesthood. There are also dumb reasons to give them the priesthood, and sometimes those reasons jump out front in the discussion – so it becomes a battle to see who can be dumber in advancing their goals.
There are good reasons for women to be ordained. History is suggestive of the power women had in the Nauvoo Relief Society, almost as a form of priesthood independent of the male priesthood. Tradition since Brigham Young has placed women firmly in a secondary role for much of the Church’s history (at least, that’s what I get from John Turner’s bio).
Perhaps, as a Church, we need to revisit many issues of practice and tradition, to determine if it is really mandated by God, or if God just allows the tradition until we are ready to move forward (see OD2).
Personally, I would welcome a stronger Relief Society and YW’s program. Yes, there would be technical issues to resolve: presidencies or bishoprics with both male and female in them, for instance. But those issues could be worked out intelligently, as men and women now work closely together on projects and in organizations(Ward Council, for instance).
I would hope that our Church leadership will calmly and sincerely seek the Lord’s desires on these issues. Then, I would hope they would tell us what the Lord says on the issue: yes, no, not now, etc.
That’s never been the issue. The question is whether the priesthood has been established as it has for divine reasons throughout both Biblical (e.g., 1 Tim 3:2,10-12; Titus 1:5-6) and modern history (for one aspect of the priesthood, see Abr 1:2-4,25 regarding the patriarchal order, though I think it also tends to be misunderstood [or only partially understood] by many).
Given the Standard Works are the rule by which the Church is governed, it seems clear that the priesthood has been limited to males (for whatever reason). Too many comments here seem to suggest it’s just a matter of inadequately inspired leaders (or “if only they’d ask hard enough”). The clear precedent set by the Savior (i.e., the apostles), the early Christian church (including the Bible and earliest post-Biblical Christian writings), the long history of teachings in the Church regarding priesthood (all orders) vs other roles, etc., seem to militate against the idea that it is merely an accident of history.
Too many seem far to eager to steady the Ark.
I should clarify that the above should read “… it seems clear that the priesthood that operates in the Church has been….” The distinction is important.