A prior thread examined rationales for extending priesthood eligibility to women. This thread will examine the opposite question: If you believe that women should not receive priesthood eligibility, why not? There are again a few potential responses, which are not exclusive.
The first potential response is based on feminine gender characteristics — perhaps women are by nature less suited for priesthood office. Under this rationale, due to some feature in womenâ€™s or menâ€™s identity, priesthood is less appropriate for women — they simply would not handle it as well as men do. Statements such as “women are more nurturing” and such probably fall within this category.
A second potential response relies on masculine gender characteristics. In particular, perhaps priesthood exclusivity is an important tool of male socialization (a few prior threads have discussed this idea). Perhaps men are more inclined to drink and carouse and break things, so they require some sort of divine â€œextra time with teacher.â€? Removing male exclusivity would remove that prop, with resulting negative consequences.
(Both of these rationales probably rely on the idea that inter-gender differences tend to be greater than intra-gender differences, but versions of them could be constructed without that feature.)
A third potential rationale relies on the primacy of motherhood. Perhaps priesthood eligibility would serve as a distraction from womenâ€™s primary roles as mothers. Under this rationale, womenâ€™s role as mothers is more important than menâ€™s role as priesthood holders. Giving women the priesthood would result in an undesirable time-splitting; women would be dividing time between their kids and their bishopric calling. The children are more important, and so women should not be given the priesthood because it would be a temptation to spend too little time mothering.
A fourth potential rationale depends on social acceptability. Perhaps current social conditions mandate continued exclusivity. Perhaps women would be less effective priesthood leaders than men, not because of inherent gender differences but because society has trained people to undervalue women. Priesthood depends on a group of users who can command attention, and in todayâ€™s social atmosphere women cannot do this as well as men; therefore, continued male exclusivity is appropriate.
There are probably other potential rationales for continued male exclusivity that I am missing or have missed. And any of these rationales could be combined with others. So, the question for readers — to the extent that you believe the priesthood ought to remain male-exclusive, which of these rationales (if any) contribute to your understanding?
Thread Rules. Um, yeah, those worked real well last time. Iâ€™ll reiterate them here, just in case. This is intended as a narrowly-focused thread, focusing on why male-exclusivity proponents hold their views. General flame-wars, threadjacks, ax-grinding, calls-to-repentance, and so forth will be deleted. (If youâ€™d like to explain why you hold the opposite view on male exclusivity, go here.)
[Also reiterated from last thread: I understand that this is a sensitive topic, and one where readers may feel uncomfortable commenting onymously. Feel free to comment pseudonymously or anonymously if appropriate; if commenting anonymously, please use markers as appropriate so that readers can tell anon-in-comment-14 apart from anon-in-comment 20 and such.]
[Finally, I should note that Iâ€™m aware that neither of the threads thus far has allowed for extended discussion of a set of beliefs which I think many folks around here hold, which is that we should just stop fussing about it and let God decide. For the moment, Iâ€™m focusing on proponents of active positions on either side. A future thread will focus on the question of what our role as mortals (if any) ought to be in the debate.]