Latter-day Saints for Change

"And he inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile." 2 Nephi 26:33

A Virtual Meeting of the Council

I’ve often thought about how unsustainable it would be if blacks were denied the priesthood today- then again, a subpopulation much larger than African descent is still excluded from ecclesiastic governance: Mormon women.

In other large organizations, patriarchal hierarchies lead to acts of “civil disobedience” (e.g. Catholic bishops that ordain women, resulting in their excommunication but also illicit female Catholic priests). I’ve been talking with a friend of mine- why aren’t these events more frequent in Mormondom? Why aren’t women bloc voting “no” when asked to sustain a male leader, when there are several women in the ward/stake that should be in that position instead? Why aren’t a few progressive Bishops calling female Sunday School presidents, or ordaining women? Why aren’t women holding on to the sacrament tray and passing it to a few pews rather than humbly returning it to their neighbor’s 12 year old son at row’s end? Certainly this type of event wouldn’t be frequent, but with a large enough sample you expect low probability events to occur.

LDS Elders are unique compared to non-lay-ministry denominations. Elders can ordain others to the priesthood! For those who think women should be ordained, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” Why aren’t more LDS women requesting ordination, and connecting with willing Elders that would do the deed? Even though the institution wouldn’t recognize the ordination, that kind of event makes waves in the media, and the practice could catch on, & even precipitate a tipping point. Social change is typically predicated by this kind of jarring boldness, plus a lot of people willing to suffer violence (in this case, ecclesiastic discipline) for the cause. Witness the civil rights movement (sorry Benson).

My friend said: “‘Gentle reform’ is the salt that preserved racism for a century after the abolition of slavery. ‘Gentle reform’ today preserves sexism 90 years after the abolition of men-only voting.”

I acknowledge that most Mormon women do not take issue with the patriarchy. However, there are too many powerful, organizing, educated LDS women activist leaders that do care about governance equality. When that circle gets large enough, a subset of it will lead acts of civil disobedience- I’m gonna pull an Isaac Asimov/Foundation here and predict such events within the decade.

THE RESPONSES:

  • Interesting. The picture painted in my head of a man happily ordaining his wife in a shared priesthood is quite lovely. This reminds me of how my wasband loved to tell the story of us counting tithing together after church when no other branch leaders were available, and how I used to attend priesthood session of GC with him. He said he figured I’d been through the temple and held the priesthood anyway. And wasn’t it until fairly recently that non-member family members (fathers?) could stand in the circle to bless a baby, but the mothers could not? Makes no sense. I’m all for mothers standing in the circle, priesthood or none.
  • I think your major problem is that there is no clear-cut desire from the feminist crowd in the church. Some of us think that the Priesthood should be extended to women, some think that we should be granted our Priestesshood, still others are just seeking more answers from God about the nature of women and our role in the Big Plan.
  • Interesting thoughts. For me, once I started to acknowledge a lot of issues with the church, including feminist/patriarchy issues, I stopped thinking the church had any real authority, male or female. I would cheerlead anyone ballsy enough to stage stuff like this, but I don’t have the desire to seek much from the church at this point in my faith journey.
    Also, I seem to recall there was more of a feminist movement in the early 1990s that was squashed after the excommunication of the September Six, which I think is so sad.
  • I am way behind. What is September Six?
    Also, non-members can stand in the circle of the baby blessing? We want to have another baby, my husband has gone completely inactive, and it kind of broke my heart that he would not be able to participate in our (non-existant yet but hopeully in the near future) baby’s blessing!
  • I also have always wondered why Women don’t hold the priesthood.
  • I remember from my childhood (late 70′s – 80′s) that non-member fathers could stand in the circle. But that has changed, I’m sure. Anyone else remember this? It made no sense, even to my younger self, that if non-member fathers could stand in why couldn’t the mothers be there?
  • My active (at the time) temple-reccomend holding husband wasn’t allowed to stand in the circle of our own baby boy’s blessing until he borrowed a tie from another member. this was done up front, seconds before the blessing, a scramble from the Stake President, until a tie was produced, while we all waited. My husband never went back after that day. He was so upset that made us leave so quick I never even got a photo of the men who stood in the blessing circle. I begged for just a quick picture, but he was just livid and I decided to not push the issue (it wasn’t me up front participating in the circus show the SP provided, so I can understand his feelings)
    I have that picture for my other 2 children, but I will never have it for […]
  • My father was never able to stand in the circle during any of our baby blessings in the 70′s & 80′s. My husband wasn’t allowed in the circle for our middle child either, he wasn’t in the picture when our oldest was blessed. We haven’t had our youngest blessed yet, she’ll be 1 next month because neither of us can stand in the circle.
  • My father blessed my (oldest) daughter. Her birth father wasn’t really Mormon but I like the Tradition of a baby blessing. I have no memory at all of what he said (other than struggling to remember her name… he was funny that way). I have no idea who was in the circle, since my father lived in Florida and I lived in Utah at the time. With my (youngest) son, I don’t remember for sure who did it. My ex wasn’t Mormon. I think it may have been a fellow air traffic controller but I am not sure; maybe it was the home teacher. But again, I just view it as a fun tradition and not of any significance otherwise. I wonder if my ex was up there when the son got his. Honestly have no clue and I am sure he would’t remember either
  • When it was time for my baby’s blessing, I was thinking hard about the issue of women giving blessings. I prayed about it, struggled with the issue, and it wasn’t too long before I felt a gentle urging, like a hand on my back, of, “Well, why don’t you?” So, that night, holding my sleeping daughter, I prayed a blessing over her, not imitating Priesthood forms, but expecting that it was a blessing and was seen as such by God. A lot of what I said over her that night was then echoed specifically by my father when he gave her the official baby blessing, though I hadn’t told him about it. So, I guess to the OP, there are women thinking and acting on these matters, but quietly and in personal ways.
  • ‎(Oh, and I’m the same one who told about my hubby being allowed to hold our girl for her official blessing, though he’s non-member. So, overall, our baby-blessing experience has been very positive and inclusive.)
  • The September Six were six member that were excommunicated or disfellowshipped in September 1993. Some of them wrote and spoke about feminist issues such as Heavenly Mother or authority. Here’s a short wikipedia article on them: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/September_Six.
  • And if you’re interested in podcasts, there have been a few Mormon Stories podcasts with three of the September Six, Margaret Toscano (episodes 62-65), Paul Toscano (episodes 77-83), and D. Michael Quinn (Bonus: The Story of D. Michael Quinn, in His Own Words). You can find links on this page: http://mormonstories.org/?page_id=102I find the stories fascinating.
  • A few days ago I asked my husband to ordain me. He was all for it! He has always been pretty feminist though. He said he would love for me to also have the priesthood because he wants me to stand in for our baby’s blessing. I almost cried at how optimistic and open he was about it. Your husband will get there too! (PS. I was not ordained for one reason…I want the Priesthood to have feminine hold before being ordained, I honestly feel the Priesthood in its’ current state is inherently sexist. And I want a woman to ordain me.)
  • I must confess I have no desire for the priesthood. There are things I want to change in regards to the male/female dynamic at church but I do not think that ordaining women to the priesthood is the answer.I do think that there are some differences in men and women that are not unreasonably addressed by men having the priesthood, though in my opinion this often results in unrighteous dominion and there are policy changes that should/could be made to mitigate this. I do think that often men and women approach things differently and I think that men having the priesthood is a good thing. Reading “Boys Adrift” recently also supported this idea. Also seeing how my husband has positively changed as a result of his priesthood callings has emphasized this to me as well. How would I feel about being given the priesthood? I would be like ” You are going to give me another thing to have to do?” Maybe because I have a young family – but with work/mothering/home/friends/church/community I have enough on my plate. Our family works really well as is. I have three daughters who love their father – but hands down they prefer me in everything.EVERYTHING. And it not because they have always had me do things for them. My husband has spent many summers as the primary care giver – he’s a teacher so he is home in the summers and he does a good job – keeping the house clean, making dinner and doing project with the girls. I am grateful for the equality that has brought to our marriage – it has been a blessing and has helped his relationship with the girls. Even when he is busy with work and church he works to spend time with each girl everyday. But with all he does – the girls -ages 4,7, and 9 – hands down would rather come to me with there problems and their emotional issues. Sometimes this hurts his feelings, because he would love them to come to him, but lots of time he just doesn’t understand. The priesthood gives him a special place in my daugters affections. Our 7 year old wrote a talk while she was sitting in sacrament meeting yesterday about priesthood blessings. In it she said she knew her dad loved her so much because of all the blessings he gives her. This is the daughter who also always cheers when she finds out her dad won’t be home that night because she loves having “girls” nights. I can understand women who desire to be able to show that love and faith to their children through a blessing – but as for me and my house – I am super grateful for the natural place it gives my husband, the happy lone man in a house full of girls Now I realize this post is also about church government and that is a different issue than personal priesthood blessing. Our stake president was recently changed and of course they spoke a lot of how the calling came to him and his wife – and I believe that is true. What I would love to see from a church government perspective is Bishops and their wives actually being called and serving together, stake presidents and their wives serving together. Make the “soft” power official. My husband would love that, in all his priesthood callings I have been the unofficial councilor – it would be convenient for it to be official.
  • I think women are our own biggest downfall in this arena. For me that hill was too big to climb- also it was too obvious once I started looking that God would have set it up like that from the beginning. So I just left.
  • This as brilliant as (I fear) it is impossible! I began my feminist faith crisis in terms of “the patriarchal grip” (wouldn’t that make a great book title about women’s oppression- provocative yet accurate- I think I’ll write it!) very optimistic and hopeful. We are all endowed with a sense of morality and innate conscience. It is obvious and clear that women have been systematically, historically, and cultural neglected from any forms of power. Much like the revelation for blacks and the priesthood, (i.e. there NEVER was a revelation to NOT give it to them AND JS ordained MANY blacks- it was the bigotry and generational failure of discrimination and all of our subsequent “made up” reasons why), there is not a revelation that women CAN NOT have the priesthood, just the “traditions of our fathers”. In fact, it would be very easy to show how women’s power in religious settings have nothing to do with divine truth as much as as it has to do with cultural and historical precedent. There is plenty of leeway “doctrinally” to giving women more power, especially, nay exclusively, in Mormonism because of our very progressive stance on Female Diety. Mormons really could change the world if we made women and men equal. We could be the most revolutionary force in all of religious history! Can you even imagine!!!!!
    The problem stems in how to do it? Why would a patriarchal structure weaken its grip. It’s unheard of. No one gives up power until they are forced. We never had women of religious divinity and the few we did (i.e. Joan of Arc, Pagan “witches”, Asherah in the bible, etc) were all brutally killed and their memories deleted for future generations. So after I have invested so many hours and hours of research into this very topic! How can we create change? (see the latest Mormon Matters podcast)I am now very discouraged of this ever happening. One of the nails in the coffin for me was reading Sonia Johnson’s “From Housewife to Heretic” (fantastic and anyone with an inkling of a feminist spirit should read it NOW) and seeing the ways that THIS CHURCH, including current apostles, systematically squashed any one, especially female, who opposed them. I understand that our current system doesn’t allow for women’s revelation for the whole church or even for anyone but ourselves, calling, kids, etc. But even in the political realm, The CHURCH during ERA the church couldn’t stand for women “disagreeing with the brethren!” So how can we possibly make a difference? Anyone who tries, even in faithful, slight ways, are kicked out, their reputations destroyed, and their voice taken away from them by being labeled “anti or ex.”
    Brad, I LOVE your suggestions. I have tried to do my part in my own little ward (i.e. ask the Bishop if I can hold my baby during the blessing- not be part of the circle, just sit and hold her- and was told no and labeled a heretic for asking, I started wearing pants to church and was called in and reprimanded by my leaders, I talked about the joys of both mothering AND providing and got hate letters in the mail from the RS sisters, I helped create and run lds WAVE and find ways to make small changes from a faithful perspective and I’ve been stalked online and all of that info twisted into something dangerous and provided to the bishop and stake president by angry women and then called in for impromptu temple recommend interviews and meetings to help me “conform” more). Basically what I am saying (sorry so prolonged) is that there are serious and severe consequences to any civil disobedience in the church but even multiplied as a woman with ZERO access to hierarchal power. It’s one thing for a stake president to decide to include women more, its another if a woman asks for or demands it. Plus, we are all separated and any demonstrations in our own wards would just lead to our ostracism and exclusion. We would need a way to stand up ALL together, like at general conference or something and make a HUGE demonstration together so that no one can be targeted and excommunicated and so that we are too large to ignore or get rid of. How can we make that happen? I am there 100%.
  • I didn’t think much about the Priesthood until I married someone outside the church and had children. It would’ve been so nice to give my daughters healing and/or blessings of comfort in the middle of the night or whenever the need arose. Instead I only called our HT when I felt it was totally necessary, and it was never when the need was immediate. I always tried to find a time that worked for them so I wouldn’t be putting another family out. I guess I should’ve just married a member and everything would’ve been perfect (sarcasm).
  • There is no reason you can’t lay your hands on your children with your husband when you bless them in your home. Joseph Fielding Smith gave his approval of doing that very thing. So did S Dilworth Young of the 70. I think that Bruce McConkie also mentions it.
    Joseph Fielding Smith’s teaching on this can be found in the book/s “Doctrines of Salvation” (I say book/s because it was originally 3 volumes now it is in one fat volume). It is still in print and available at Deseret Book http://deseretbook.com/Doctrines-Salvation-Vols-1-3-Sermons-Writings-Joseph-Fielding-Smith/i/5020291
  • From Answers to Gospel Questions:
    Q: ‘Does a wife hold the priesthood with her husband? and may she lay hands on the sick with him, with authority?’
    A: A wife does not hold the priesthood in connection with her husband, but she enjoys the benefits thereof with him; and if she is requested to lay hand on the sick with him, or with any other officer holding the Melchizedek priesthood, she may do so with perfect propriety. It is no uncommon thing for a man and wife unitedly to administer to their children, and the husband being mouth, he may properly say out of courtesy, “By authority of the holy priesthood in us vested.”
    (I realize that the first part about not holding the priesthood doesn’t help much) So there you have it, bless your children with your husband, it was approved by one of the most conservative prophets we ever had:). the above quote see: “Answers to Gospel Questions Volume 1 p. 149 It is available and in print at Deseret Book as one large hardback volume or in ebook form.
    Also from President Joseph Fielding Smith, in his book Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3 see pages 176-178:
    If a man and his wife were alone with a sick person, could he anoint with the oil and then seal the anointing with his wife assisting using the priesthood she holds jointly with her husband? President Joseph F. Smith answered this question as follows: “Does a wife hold the priesthood with her husband, and may she lay hands on the sick with him, with authority? A wife does not hold the priesthood with her husband, but she enjoys the benefits thereof with him; and if she is requested to lay hands on the sick with him, or with any other officer holding the Melchizedek Priesthood, she may do so with perfect propriety. It is no uncommon thing for a man and wife unitedly to administer to their children.”
    When this is done the wife is adding her faith to the administration of her husband. The wife would lay on hands just as would a member of the Aaronic Priesthood, or a faithful brother without the priesthood, she in this manner giving support by faith to the ordinance performed by her husband. The Prophet Joseph Smith said, “Respecting females administering for the healing of the sick, . . . there could be no evil in it, if God gave his sanction by healing; that there could be no more sin in any female laying hands on and praying for the sick, than in wetting the face with water; it is no sin for anybody to administer that has faith, or if the sick have faith to be healed by their administration.” Such an administration would not be by virtue of the priesthood, but a manifestation of faith.
  • A good article on Women and the history of their being allowed to give blessings and than having that right taken away is “A Gift Given, A Gift Taken” by Linda King Newell from Sunstone pdf here:
    https://www.sunstonemagazine.com/pdf/115-6-30-43.pdf
  • I have it on pretty good authority that because Romney is running for president and the church is getting so much attention there will be NO excommunications churchwide for the next 9 months. In other words, now is the time to make a fuss and take a stand and speak our piece.
  • I have memory of my seminary teacher (not CES) telling me about women standing up during the beginning of GC to protest women not getting the priesthood. My guess is it was in the 80s or 90s? He said they were kindly told to take their seats, and then after the meeting, were led to a room to discuss their issues with the GAs. (I think they stood up during the sustaining part of the meeting). Anyway, I’m not sure what became of this or the general reaction, maybe its something to look into? Just a thought!
  • It wasn’t about the priesthood, it was about the ERA. They also protested outside the gates of the Seattle Temple during its dedication in 1980.
  • Don’t give up… Sonia Johnson happened during the dark ages. It’s a new era. We can all feel the shift. You and […] are losing your optimism for change, while being among the major catalysts for it. Ironic. Those old men are dropping like flies. They’re too old to change — seriously. I think the COB is going to hire you soon as a consultant to give female perspective on all printed materials — and on all of Sister Beck’s talks.
  • I’m just itching to do something in real life.
  • I think the answer to the question in the OP is that by the time most people get to the point of having decided that the church is wrong on this issue they have already voted with their feet, are in the process of doing so or no longer care. Realizing that a church purporting to have Jesus at its head with personal representatives on on earth is wrong, not about something small, but about something profound sort of robs most people of those reformer urges. They take Sunday hikes instead.
  • It’s not worth it for me to work such and uphill battle. For me it was the path of easier resistance to vote with my feet and work the battle of getting my husband to vote with his feet as well (so I can get my daughters out).
  • Hmm- there is some risk in disclosing candidate strategies, but there is value in evidencing the magnitude of those who want reform (e.g. http://whatwomenknow.org/).
  • […]‘s comments reflect some discussions at SSW. I noted these options and their precedent, but expressed that they don’t solve the problem. Taking authority into one’s own hands (women passing sacrament or elders’ ordaining women) fails in three ways — a) it doesn’t change the policy or system; b) it fails to honor or revive the inherent power in the system; c) it creates a power struggle that escalates into backlash. Activist power grabs fail, but focusing on embedded power within the system and excavating it, works, and is a positive focus. I’ll share ideas during our book discussion on FMH.
  • You bring up a well-reasoned point, supported by strong reasons and appeals to relevant events in the past. Certainly your long experience in this area grants your arguments substantial weight.
    The “success,” “failure,” and whether it “works,” however, depend entirely on how you frame the problem. If the problem is that women aren’t ordained, then at that level ordaining them is clearly the simplest remedy.
    You point out that activist power grabs “fail,” and that excavating power”works.” What do you mean by the terms “fail” and “works?” Looking to comparable movements, women suffrage activists made a power grab and did not fail; they obtained the right to vote. Civil rights leaders engaged a power struggle that escalated into backlash, but they ultimately won the day. Joseph didn’t focus on embedded power within a system and excavate it; he also took authority into his own hands.
    Mormon feminists have been focusing on embedded power for over a century now, and though in many ways their efforts have been fruitful, we still observe the anachronism of a governance equality gap the size of the Grand Canyon in contemporary Mormonism.
    Taking authority into one’s own hands suggests that the authority did not reside there previously. Empowered people _discover_ their power; they don’t create it. Mormon men already have the authority to ordain LDS women. Mormon women already have the authority to govern the LDS church. Once Mormon feminists (male and female) awaken to this reality, the governance equality movement will, like the civil rights and suffrage movements before it, become inevitable. The patriarchy has no more authority than we grant it.
  • I think we should all go to General Conference and stand during a the Prophets talk. They couldn’t ignore us then. Or excommunicate us.
  • This article by Kristine Wright and Jonathan Stapley “Female Ritual Healing in Mormonism” is also very good, I prefer Linda King Newell’s article that I linked above, but this is good too. It was published in the Journal of Mormon History 37 (Winter 2011): 1-85 and can be downloaded here for free:
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1754069
  • I was making this exact point to my wife the other day. Why are the women so accepting of the discrimination? Why not stand up and demand change? I really don’t get it. I think the leadership has to come from the women–there has to be a Rosa Parks who stays I will sit at the back of the bus no longer. Then there are many of us men who would join you and support you. But you have to want it.
  • I agree with (…) that now is the time–the Church really doesn’t want the bad press of smashing down those advocating for change during Romney’s election.
  • The low-hanging fruit is not Priesthood, but having women Sunday school presidents/clerks and having girls pass the sacrament and having women say prayers in General Conference. These are things that they would have no defense to, no response that would not sound absurd.
  • I’m not sure how to make public a loud cry for change here. I’m also not opposed to more revolutionary actions, like ordaining women without authorization. Either the Chruch will accept that the time has come, or a Reformation movement will break away from the Church. Too many of us love our Mormonism and won’t just leave our heritage, but we can’t abide the archaic traditions of our fathers either.
    With amazing women like (…) and many others, we have to find away.
    I ask myself what I would have done in the Church prior to 1978 and I tell myself, I would have not left, walked away. But I would not have sit silent either, accepting the racism and supporting it with my silent presence. I am tired of doing that with sexism in the Church today. I agree that the time has come to stop supporting sexism with my silence.
  • I feel like I have reached that point. However I would like to do what I can for my family (especially my nieces) who are going to grow up in the church. I do still believe spirituality is important for healthy development, and I greatly desire to make it the most positive experience possible.
  • I’m not sure how to make public a loud cry for change here. I’m also not opposed to more revolutionary actions, like ordaining women without authorization. Either the Chruch will accept that the time has come, or a Reformation movement will break away from the Church. Too many of us love our Mormonism and won’t just leave our heritage, but we can’t abide the archaic traditions of our fathers either.
    With amazing women like (…) and many others, we have to find away.
    I ask myself what I would have done in the Church prior to 1978 and I tell myself, I would have not left, walked away. But I would not have sit silent either, accepting the racism and supporting it with my silent presence. I am tired of doing that with sexism in the Church today. I agree that the time has come to stop supporting sexism with my silence.
  • I think the answer to the question in the OP is that by the time most people get to the point of having decided that the church is wrong on this issue they have already voted with their feet, are in the process of doing so or no longer care. Realizing that a church purporting to have Jesus at its head with personal representatives on on earth is wrong, not about something small, but about something profound sort of robs most people of those reformer urges. They take Sunday hikes instead.
  • It’s not worth it for me to work such and uphill battle. For me it was the path of easier resistance to vote with my feet and work the battle of getting my husband to vote with his feet as well (so I can get my daughters out).
  • Hmm- there is some risk in disclosing candidate strategies, but there is value in evidencing the magnitude of those who want reform (e.g. http://whatwomenknow.org/).
  • […]‘s comments reflect some discussions at SSW. I noted these options and their precedent, but expressed that they don’t solve the problem. Taking authority into one’s own hands (women passing sacrament or elders’ ordaining women) fails in three ways — a) it doesn’t change the policy or system; b) it fails to honor or revive the inherent power in the system; c) it creates a power struggle that escalates into backlash. Activist power grabs fail, but focusing on embedded power within the system and excavating it, works, and is a positive focus. I’ll share ideas during our book discussion on FMH.
  • I feel like I have reached that point. However I would like to do what I can for my family (especially my nieces) who are going to grow up in the church. I do still believe spirituality is important for healthy development, and I greatly desire to make it the most positive experience possible.

 

 I agree that many of the protests we make will just make people resist us, especially at a ward level where we will be largely outnumbered. I also don’t think that “stand up and pass it on” is the best route to change (although I like the idea and the name) because it will justify other’s opposition to change and us- it will put an awkward and unfair brunt of the protest on 12-16 yr old boys and not the leadership. Kids will be confused and feel bad and associate those feelings with feminism and equality, Mothers and fathers will be outraged at the son’s awkwardness and feel it improper and associate those feelings with feminism, etc. However, we still want to DO SOMETHING and shine the light on inequality rather than engender ill will toward those who promote it. But I hate when people critique rather than build and so here are a few of my ideas:
1) We strike. We politely strike. Each fast Sunday we refuse to do our callings (we can do this politely by tell the person over us we won’t do them in protest and they should find someone else). Think about it. If every woman (and man) in the ward who was on our side refused to do their callings things would come to a standstill. As part of that strike, we can all send a letter to our bishop, stake pres, and general authorities (it goes to all three anyway) letting them know why- we can have it be a form letter so no individual person is targeted. In the letter we base our actions on our prayerful answers from the Lord and love of the gospel and wanting to make it better. We can also distribute this letter to all who want to know more. At first it might just be a few of us, but eventually it will become problematic. We still show up and are kind and communicative so they can’t associate it with laziness and ill-will. Also, it allows people who are less likely to protest, those who are scared or afraid, to do so anonymously. They can just miss church that week. If they are questioned by leaders, they just say they had somewhere else to be or were sick. If we REALLY want to make a splash- hopefully when there are a ton of us or in summer time- we just sit outside the building once a month. By grounding it in spirituality and personal revelation we can add legitimacy and reach the embedded power within us all, by acting first before leaders we can avoid the “follow the brethren” trump card (yes, they may come out and say something against it, but they will have to hear from TONS of stake pres before then and we will have been able to read a ton of people before then). By continuing to go and serve all of the other days of the week we can still be seen as “loyal” and people can’t just write us off as crazy. If enough people/families do this it could be a big deal. Obviously we would need to work on a good letter, one that has a clear stance- we strike until X happens, but that can be brainstormed later. We really do need to decide what X is. Hopefully something that MANY people can get behind. Something obvious and simple. Some ideas: i.e. Women deserve equal rights under the law ERA, women should have the priesthood, women should be on disciplinary counsels, women should be present in bishops confessions, women should pray at General conference, Relief Society should be autonomous, we should get rid of Boy scouts, women should be in baby blessings, women should be more than “general authority wives” and should have leadership callings, women should have more decision making power and representation at the general church level, Mission President’s wives should also be called Mission Presidents, not just missionaries or MP’s, Women in leadership positions should not be called sister _____, but president _____, etc.etc.etc. There are SO many things we can strike. What are some of your contributions to this list?
I think ultimately we can (and probably should) go about this in different ways. What are our goals: To garner support, to unite all of us activists or to send a message to the leaders? Each one of these goals would have a different response. One of the reasons why I like the idea of correlating this with ERA is that it is in the political realm, a realm that the church continues to choose to engage in, one in which MEN and WOMEN are EQUAL under the law and where they can’t limit our ability to speak. When the church comes into the political arena it is different than us going in to the church’s arena where they can just claim prophetic authority and we are done. In the political realm we have voices, all of us do. And I think that scares and frightens the brethren. It levels all of us. It means that they aren’t just listened to “because they said so.” It is unnerving to not have total subservience and obedience. They are not used to it. They are not used to being held responsible for their actions and how they affect women. Phew, I am sorry for being SO loquacious, but I feel really inspired by this conversation. Ultimately, the strongest impression I have is that WE HAVE TO BEGIN ACTING BEFORE THEY DO! We have to lay the groundwork and start the conversation couched in terms that make the church look good (i.e. Mormons love equality) so that their hands are somewhat tied before they even have time to make a statement. They don’t want to oppose something that makes them look good, even if it means they give us some legitimacy. Are you with me?

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One thought on “A Virtual Meeting of the Council

  1. The Good Ol Boys club, of which every male church leader is a part of, except a rare few, will never be willing to acknowledge or honor women’s divine right to have an equal voice & position & power & authority as men in the Church & home, until women expect & force them to do what is right. Women have always held the power to control men & force them to respect them, but sadly, women seldom use their divine God given power over men.

    Unfortunately, as has been the case throughout history, most women do not have the self-respect & high self-worth to realize or care much when they are being abused, subordinated & treated disrespectfully by men & leaders in the Church or even usually when their own husbands do it.

    Only when women wake up & realize their divine equal rights & privileges & positions & power & authority, that God intended for them to have & use, will they ever receive it.

    Heavenly Father can’t give women something or help them achieve something that they don’t want or expect for themselves. He want’s women to realize their potential as women & come to desire all that the Father hath, including his power. Which he already gave to women in the Pre-Existence, yet few women realize they already possess far more Priesthood power & authority than few men have ever had. There have been far more Prophetesses to walk the earth then there have ever been Prophets. And God is not the one who silenced all those Prophetesses. The Prophetesses deserved & were intended to have just as much leadership position as Prophets, if not more.

    There is no position in the Church which women are not equally entitled to hold, if men would repent & respect women’s true & total equality. But only righteous men can & will do that.

    Most all men have refused to share power & authority with women throughout all the history of the earth. For as Joseph Smith warned us in D&C 121, it is the disposition of nearly all men to immediately use unrighteous dominion, especially over women, as soon as they get a little supposed authority, whether in the Church, home or in society.

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