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.