Who’s afraid of Mormon women and priesthood?

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Photo courtesy of OW/Daniele Vickers

Photo courtesy of OW/Daniele Vickers

Photo courtesy of OW/Daniele Vickers

Photo courtesy of OW/Daniele Vickers

Photo courtesy of OW/Daniele Vickers

I read with sadness this morning that one of the board members of Ordain Women was recently given a choice by her stake president: either quit the board and take down all of her past posts that advocate for Mormon women’s priesthood ordination, or else lose her temple recommend.

“I do not believe that temple recommends should be used as leverage to censor ideas or silence advocacy, but if I hadn’t complied, I would have missed my brother’s recent temple wedding,” wrote April Young Bennett at the Mormon feminist blog The Exponent.

Bennett’s post doesn’t sound angry, just resigned. Her stake president is a good man, she says:

He has told me that during his long career as a lawmaker, he was able to have good relationships with people with whom he disagrees. As a lawmaker, he demonstrated egalitarian ideals, placing women in leadership positions and sponsoring legislation that ensured open, transparent government and freedom of the press. It saddens me to observe that he now feels obligated to censor me for expressing the opinion that women should participate in religious governance.

That last line gets to the heart of what this is all about, doesn’t it? Bennett has publicly expressed an opinion that says that women should share in the leadership of the church. That’s all she has done. And she has been silenced for it.

Photo courtesy of OW/Daniele Vickers

Photo courtesy of OW/Daniele Vickers

Happily, her experience is not the norm; most of the women and men who have come out as publicly supporting female ordination have retained temple recommends and church callings. At least one committee chairperson at Ordain Women is a current Relief Society president.

A post by Debra Jenson today notes that of more than 600 people who have submitted profiles to the Ordain Women website, only about 20 have suffered from formal discipline (excommunication or disfellowshipment, as decided by a church court) or informal discipline (which might include losing a calling or temple recommend, and is at the discretion of a bishop or stake president). That’s only three percent, but even this number makes me grieve.

So much depends on local leadership roulette.

But the fact that such discipline can happen at all reveals an undercurrent of fear. What, exactly, is the Church afraid of?

Yesterday the Huffington Post ran a story about a new initiative by Ordain Women to present photographs of women giving blessings. No words were said when these various tableaux were staged, so they were not “real” blessings, but the images are powerful. (Three of them are used here with permission; click here to see the whole series.)

What’s especially compelling about them is not that they point to some pie-in-the-sky future of Mormon women being able to give priesthood blessings someday, but that they recall an actual flesh-and-blood past in which Mormon women did precisely that.

Photo courtesy of OW/Daniele Vickers

Photo courtesy of OW/Daniele Vickers

I hope the Ordain Women photographs raise awareness that Mormon women did exercise some of the functions of priesthood for many years. An ample historical record attests to women laying hands on one another for healing in Relief Society meetings, blessing each other before labor and delivery, and blessing their children in times of illness or hardship. Joseph Smith, when asked about these practices, replied that “If the sisters should have faith to heal, let all hold their tongues.”

These female blessings continued into the early twentieth century, an inconvenient truth that begs a question: If a strong historical precedent exists for women exercising some of the functions of priesthood, the argument that female priesthood violates not only current policy but timeless doctrine begins to wear thin.

As the issue and its history begin to be more widely discussed, I pray for safety and openness, such as I have experienced with several different bishops as I have raised concerns about women’s roles. As Debra Jenson says, “Most bishops and stake presidents not only welcome the participation of the women in their congregations who are questioning gender inequality in the Church, but they also listen . . . . They have remembered the new commandment, given by the Savior, that we love one another, as He has loved us. When our leaders act out of love, they need not fear us nor we them.”

  • I really desire to cultivate a healthy degree of equanimity about this issue, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult to see managers more concerned with the status quo than leaders willing to actually lead out and do the right thing.

    It is so clearly obvious to me “that women should participate in religious governance” that it’s practically painful to watch the church I love lag behind even our own faith tradition’s history of women being involved in ritual healing and blessings. But more important to me than rituals and ordinances is the place women deserve to occupy in the leadership and governing body of the church. Enshrining patriarchy is a curse on the body of Christ.

    All these years later Justice Ginsburg’s words still ring loud in my head: “Women belong in all places where decisions are being made.” Frankly, there’s no good reason why it must only be men who are given power to act as agents for the Lord in performing ordinances and leading the Church–not one.


    I’ve been a member all my life, returned missionary, leadership callings, and I live in constant frustration because I’m so deeply disappointed in the church I love lagging behind on women’s issues and equality in the church in the name of “tradition”. I want so much better for our church. And in this respect I can relate to Martin Luther King Jr. speaking about the love he had for the church but the fact it was dragging it’s feet against history instead of marching out in front of it: “There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.”

  • Ignorant Beaner

    Never in my widest dreams could I ever imagine the Church of Jesus Christ ever allowing women in the priesthood.Where in the scriptures did it exist? It doesn’t,therefore women need to keep their irrational,satanic thoughts to themselves

  • EE

    I am really hoping that you post is meant to be sarcastic, Ignorant Beaner.

  • Excellent post, Jana. Thanks for bringing more publicity to the rotten treatment April is getting.

    “But the fact that such discipline can happen at all reveals an undercurrent of fear. What, exactly, is the Church afraid of?”

    That’s such an excellent question. This is obviously speculation, but I wonder if Church leaders aren’t afraid of how *reasonable* the OW requests and arguments are. Without any real doctrinal basis for *not* ordaining women (as Ally Isom conceded on Doug Fabrizio’s show), they don’t have any good counterarguments, so their only real hope for containing the dangerous OW ideas is to keep people from even looking at them.

  • There seriously, SERIOUSLY needs to be a clarification of that question for the temple recommend interview. And it needs to happen as soon as possible. The fact that you can be a believing Mormon and live all of the temple standards except publicly support the idea of female ordination — and have that threaten the loss of your recommend based on the opinions of the bishop/SP — this is ridiculous. I met April last summer and my heart goes out to her.

  • Sharee

    To demand that the church begin ordaining women is to tell God He is wrong. If you think you know better than God how to run His church, why would you even want a temple recommend?

  • Stan F.

    I’m sorry but my heart hurts when I read things like this. Carefully worded essays like this can be very misleading to the uninformed. I don’t understand how the author can feel that she is helping strengthen the Church.

    It is intellectually dishonest to imply that women once held offices in the priesthood the same as men. And actively promoting the ordination of women defies the principles of continuing revelation, and sustaining the current first presidency and quorum of twelve as prophets.

    For the sincere believer, it might be helpful to remember that “…the day cometh that they who will not hear the voice of the Lord, neither the voice of his servants, neither give heed to the words of the prophets and apostles, shall be cut off from among the people; for they have strayed from mine ordinances, and have broken mine everlasting covenant; they seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god, whose image is in the likeness of the world….” That sad day appears to have arrived.

  • DanD

    Sounds like she does not listen to the questions asked in the temple recommend interview, or her responses on at least one or two questions were dishonest. . . .

  • Fred M

    It is intellectually dishonest to state that Jana was implying that women once held offices in the priesthood the same as men. Please read the article again. She did nothing of the sort. She merely stated what is accepted historical fact–that even past the turn of the century female members of the church were giving blessings to the sick, an ordinance which is now restricted to male members who hold the priesthood. Do you dispute that that happened? That’s all Jana is pointing out.

    And why does actively promoting the ordination of women defy the principle of continuing revelation and sustaining the prophets? Please explain. We know from the history of the church that revelation often comes when people complain about something, whether it’s the Word of Wisdom or changes in the temple. Are these women saying our leaders don’t receive revelation? That they’re not prophets? I don’t think that’s the message at all. They are simply complaining, which they have every right to do. I’m personally very glad that members in the past complained about the priesthood ban, certain parts of the temple ceremony, the design of temple garments, women not being allowed to pray in sacrament meeting, etc. Those changes have made the church better, don’t you think?

  • I must admit that I read this editorial with a heavy heart and a grieved spirit.

  • Sue

    The comment thread…that’s why I can’t stay active in the Church. You can have so much love and hope for forward thinking leadership in the Church. You can strive to see the glass as half full and remember all the things Church membership gave you, but… There is always this reality of what the Church is presently and what it meant to you and will mean to your children to belong to a misogynistic, patriarchal organization. It was and is incredibly hurtful. I don’t think I know better than God. I think I know God and he’s not racist or sexist or homophobic and any representation to the contrary is not Christ-like or accurately portraying God.

  • JohnnyD

    Why is male domination so eagerly accepted by most mormons? The fact that it’s so consistently passed off as strict adherence to the faith is nothing more than a smokescreen for what it truly is.

    Perhaps more importantly, why does the notion of considering women equal in every way to men scare the shit out of stake presidents like the one in this article? What is he afraid of? What a coward.

    -Yep I’m a dude and glad I’m not in this cornucopia of myopia anymore!

  • Sharon Beesley

    Why are all the links broken?

  • Fred M

    I guess in life we find what we’re looking for.

  • HarryStamper

    Couple things in context…April Bennett herself say’s “her stake president is a good man…”
    Jana says, April…”has publicly expressed an opinion that says that women should share in the leadership of the church. That’s all she has done. And she has been silenced for it.”
    I’m not sure she is silenced; I hear and read about it all the time, even this article is national news. Also, I’m not sure….”that’s all she has done…” According to Jana, “more than 600 people who have submitted profiles to the Ordain Women website, only about 20 have suffered from formal discipline…” That’s less than 4%…96% are not…logic follows April must be doing something more serious than public opinion in support of OW. The hearing for church discipline is about the “doing something other…” not public opinion.

  • Sharon — apparently the Exponent link crashed yesterday because of all the additional traffic to their server. I just tried it again this morning and I guess it is still down. I hope it will be back up and running later today.

  • Harry, you have a history on this blog of hurling judgments at people you have never met, but you do take the cake with this assumption:

    “. . . logic follows April must be doing something more serious than public opinion in support of OW. The hearing for church discipline is about the “doing something other…’”

    Just to be clear (again), her SP said that the only thing standing between April and a temple recommend was her public involvement with Ordain Women. She resigned from the board and took down all of her posts on women’s ordination, AND NOW SHE HAS A TEMPLE RECOMMEND. There is no other hidden sin here such as you suggest. Her SP is not harboring concerns here about her worthiness in any other way than her advocacy for women’s ordination.

    I suppose that at least we should be grateful that you didn’t call her “an agent of Lucifer.” That is a small improvement over past assumptions, at least.

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  • Tina

    My heart hurts when I read comments by people who can’t acknowledge other points of view have both substantiation and validity. It is intellectually dishonest to automatically categorize unorthodox opinions as heresy.

  • Jeanne B Richards

    Religions across the globe have accepted and recognized women as priests, rabbis, lamas, etc. Whether one is experiencing gender prejudice in the Mormon Church, or the Roman Catholic Church, we—men and women alike—must all band together to promote equality and inclusion in today’s church. Gender prejudice is bigotry . . . it is wrong . . . just plain wrong. Thank you for posting this article. I will be sharing it on my author’s page today.
    JB Richards
    Author of “Miriamne the Magdala-The First Chapter in the Yeshua and Miri Novel Series” and Content Creator for The Miriamne Page

  • Hannah

    This is exactly how I feel. Thank you for your comment.

  • HarryStamper

    Thank you for reading my comment. I do not judge, like your article, I was expressing my opinion, a logical opinion based on the facts you presented…96% without church discipline.

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  • Tammy

    In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
    “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
    When those laws are being enforced by a church, one should re-examine voluntary membership.

  • Lis

    Wow. Thank you, Sue. You summed up my feelings beautifully.

  • Laura

    Feminist Mormon Housewives is hosting a repost of April’s blog post until the Exponent can get their technical issues fixed. It’s here: http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2015/01/repost-from-the-exponent-blog-an-announcement-from-april-young-bennett/.

  • EG

    Being female, I am on the fence with Ordain Women.
    In my humble opinion, the stake president should not have used the Temple recommend as ammunition.

    Also, Harry Stamper did make a good observation. We have to remember that we never have all the facts, from both sides, even though we think we do.

  • Cruelest Month

    April’s SP is former Utah House Speaker Marty Stephens. His wife is a counselor in the RS General Presidency. How can a person with so much experience wileding power and access to the highest levels of Church governance demand submission from someone with no power in the organization of the Church? I see political posturing in the action of President Stephens and not a whit of pastoral care.

  • HarryStamper

    Hi Jana, we look at this issue differently, not only differently, but we probably are not talking about the same issue. In this post, OW want conferment of the priesthood, believing this will allow woman to
    –participate in religious governance
    –address concerns for woman’s role in the church
    –equality for woman in the church
    –because there are no doctrinal reasons not to
    –it’s morally responsible thing to do
    Me and all my old friends who have many years of church leadership, missions working in the temple etc. none of us object to the benefits listed above gleaned from your post. The real issue for us is not OW….it’s simple as sustaining, not only with our right hand but actions and words the brethren called and ordained to direct the Lord’s church. The Lord asked us to be one. He asks us to defer our will for the will of His Father. When we publicly demonstrate or publish articles at odds with the announced policy or direction of the church, sadly we are not being one, some may even call it…defiance. So yes, we view this issue as who is a good soldier or not. 15 of the best people on earth help the Lord direct His church, how do you explain OW coming to a different conclusion on the matter than they?

  • Ron Goodman

    As blatant is can be with the Mormons, this attitude toward women seems to infect all the more conservative branches of the three Abrahamic religions. The worst are the conservative Muslims, but there are plenty of stories Orthodox men refusing to sit near or be touched by women, or Protestant evangelicals going on about women being “submissive”. The Catholics, of course, have their own issues with female leadership. Is it something basic to this branch of religious belief, or are they all just carrying on the cultures of the ancient times in which they formed?

  • Roger

    Thanks, Cruelest, for adding some context to this account. It was much more helpful than Harry’s “logical” assumption.

    Folks, one swallows much less bile and there is less gritting if the teeth outside the fold.

  • Ignorant Beaner


    “The Heb. kohen, Gr. hierus, Lat. sacerdos, always denote one who” offers sacrifices. “At first every man was his own priest, and presented his own sacrifices before God. Afterwards that office devolved on the “head of the family, as in the cases of Noah (Gen. 8:20), Abraham” “(12:7; 13:4), Isaac (26:25), Jacob (31:54), and Job (Job 1:5).” “The name first occurs as applied to Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18). Under the Levitical arrangements the office of the priesthood “was limited to the tribe of Levi, and to only one family of that” “tribe, the family of Aaron. Certain laws respecting the” qualifications of priests are given in Lev. 21:16-23. There are ordinances also regarding the priests’ dress (Ex. 28:40-43) and the manner of their consecration to the office (29:1-37). “Their duties were manifold (Ex. 27:20, 21; 29:38-44; Lev. 6:12; 10:11; 24:8; Num. 10:1-10; Deut. 17:8-13; 33:10; Mal. 2:7). They “represented the people before God, and offered the various” sacrifices prescribed in the law. “In the time of David the priests were divided into twenty-four courses or classes (1 Chr. 24:7-18). This number was retained after the Captivity (Ezra 2:36-39; Neh. 7:39-42). “The priests were not distributed over the country, but lived “together in certain cities [forty-eight in number, of which six” “were cities of refuge, q.v.], which had been assigned to their” use. From thence they went up by turns to minister in the temple at Jerusalem. Thus the religious instruction of the people in “the country generally was left to the heads of families, until” “the establishment of synagogues, an event which did not take” “place till the return from the Captivity, and which was the main” source of the freedom from idolatry that became as marked a feature of the Jewish people thenceforward as its practice had “been hitherto their great national sin.” “The whole priestly system of the Jews was typical. It was a shadow of which the body is Christ. The priests all prefigured “the great Priest who offered “one sacrifice for sins” “once for” “all” (Heb. 10:10, 12). There is now no human priesthood. (See” “Epistle to the Hebrews throughout.) The term “priest” is indeed” “applied to believers (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6), but in these cases” it implies no sacerdotal functions. All true believers are now kings and priests unto God. As priests they have free access “into the holiest of all, and offer up the sacrifices of praise” “and thanksgiving, and the sacrifices of grateful service from” day to day.

    I still see no reference to female priests,or the same holding the Holy Priesthood of Heavenly Father

  • Shropshire

    How dare the LDS church deny temple recommends to those who belong to groups that are in noisy opposition to LDS doctrine? How dare they keep heretics out of the temple? It boggles the mind…unless one isn’t a heretic.

  • A Jardine

    I am not a frequent follower of this author’s posts, nor those of Mr. Stamper, but his comment above seems very temperate and reasonable. Since the author in a post above is pretty negative about Mr. Stamper I would like to see her respond, in detail, to this comment of his. As to her assertion that Mr. Stamper hurls judgments at people he has not met, I would point out the comment below of EG: it is simply true that none of us know all the facts of these situations. Mr. Stamper apparently assumes that local leaders generally act in good faith and for good reason and if we knew all the facts we would agree. The author, at least when it comes to OW doesn’t share that point of view, but I don’t see her acknowledging that she starts off with the assumption that what OW is doing is morally correct and anyone who disagrees is wrong, patriarchal, etc.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    As much as I would like to credit Jana Riess with having a sense of fairness and the ability to come to reasonable judgments about matters of faith, it becomes almost impossible to do so. I have in mind that this is the blogger who recently asserted, as a fact, that Hon. Jay Bybee, then Asst. U.S. Attorney General and now a Justice of the U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit, “authorized torture.” Those were Ms. Riess’s words, without any qualification of that flat assertion and utterly without a factual basis for doing so. (For those who lack understanding of the facts, AAG Bybee wrote a legal memorandum in which he set forth a legal analysis in good faith regarding the distinction in law between torture, a defined term, and lesser interrogation techniques not rising in law to that level. It is possible to disagree with anyone’s legal opinion, but for Riess take the position that by providing his legal opinion in good faith as he was required by his office in the Justice Department to do constituted the authorization of torture disregards accuracy and fairness in an effort to defame.) And it was evident from the column that day that the ONLY REASON that Riess chose to single out Bybee for the smear was that he was and is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This is the exact opposite of what a reasonable, sincere, responsible member of the Church should try to do.

    So I have that in context with today’s silly question, “What, exactly, is the Church afraid of?” That question is silly because there is exactly no evidence – as in, “none whatsoever” – that “the Church” is “afraid” of anything in this case. It does not take fear or trepidation of any kind to … uphold standards. One need not and should not resort to fear as the explanation for taking note of public behavior that is inconsistent with the beliefs and principles of this Church, and more than it would be necessary to attribute “fear” to any organization’s effort to consider questions relating to the integrity and fidelity of any of its members to the organization’s stated values.

    Recently, Presbyterian Church (USA) defrocked Joseph B. Rightmyer of his ordination as a teaching elder. You may have seen this in the news. Why did PC USA do this? Well, Elder Rightmyer was found guilty of “advocating and facilitating a process for Highland Park Presbyterian Church to determine whether to remain a member of [PC USA].” In other words, he was working within the organization to promote defection from it.

    So, does that mean that PC USA was “afraid” of anything? No. It just means that it noticed, um, we have someone in our ranks who is acting in a manner inconsistent with his position. PC USA can plausibly feel that anyone holding a position (a calling, you might say) in its church should not be encouraging units to withdraw from its church.

    I use this example because it is in the news, not because the analogy is perfect. But the conclusion is apt: Enforcing adherence to core beliefs to the point of inviting someone to leave if he or she is unwilling to adhere to those beliefs will often or typically be a matter of assuring membership integrity, and is not a consequence of a fear that no one can actually identify.

    Riess can’t or won’t see this. What is she afraid of?

  • Interesting

    The nature of the ‘blessings’ that women gave at the time of the restoration has been carefully unexplored and left vague by the OW group. To be clear, the things that I can find imply – but do not make clear one way or the other – that these were prayers of faith.

    Whether you put your hands on someone’s head or keep them folded in your lap a prayer is a prayer and it is said to ‘…availeth much’ when effectual and fervent… (James 5:16). The referent there is to mankind, not to a specific gender.

    The disingenuousness of the cant from OW is that they are implying that there was something that existed but was suppressed by ‘managers’ or administrators.

    There is no evidence for that, the presentation of that idea is pernicious in its use and the repetition in hope of acceptance is about as far as possible from personal honesty as a person can get.

    That disingenuousness and pernicious repetition might cause some problems with the worthiness criteria, and the demands for ‘recognition’, as opposed to humble, quiet pleas for enlightenment might give legitimate cause for questioning of the ‘led by revelation’ criteria.

    The Church of Jesus Christ is either led by Jesus Christ or it is a social club with good aims but no unique authority or value beyond its social footprint. The OW approach is that of people that are demanding personal reinforcement from a social footprint.

    Their methods are straight out of current lobbying groups, the validation for their demands are cryptic references to past practices and ‘justice’.

    The right to voice those claims is absolute. The credibility of their professions of faith while publicly rejecting revelation by those called to lead is what makes the author not credible.

    To mourn with those that have lost their privilege to attend the temple… yes, absolutely. To counsel and encourage those that have been thus found wanting to continue their campaign to use peer pressure to change revelation… not really credible.

    If the OW movement is the will of the Father, then I would expect to see an elaboration of why it it the will of the Father and why it is in harmony with everything else we have been taught. If it is the demand for social recognition and personal validation – achieved by a strangely contrapuntal appeal to authority that is simultaneously being denigrated and invalidated – then I would expect to see more of these public expressions of emotion without substance.

    Time will indeed tell for whom the OW group is speaking. I hope for the best possible outcome.

  • Nobody Important

    It is sad experience that the Ordain Women group has been less than honest regarding disciplinary statements in the past (ie Kate Kelly), knowing and exploiting the fact that the LDS church leadership is restricted from telling their side of the story.

  • Interesting

    What an interesting post. How do you see political posturing in the SP’s counsel? Why are the criteria in your judgement solely those of the worldly activities of the SP? Why do you use ‘submission’ as a term of derogation when it is a clearly understood part of the baptismal covenant?

    We all covenant – commit without reservation – to submit our wills to that of Christ to take part in his atoning sacrifice. You give every impression that you are a subscriber to the cafeteria plan when it comes to believing in Christ and following him.

    I encourage you to step back from that stance, to put aside the world and consider what Christ has asked of us and promised us… not what the world sees as best… before you can’t tell the difference and lose the ability to hear the voice off the spirit.

    Your post speaks to a person consumed by politics and contemptuous of the Spirit. Please be ever so careful as you compare and contrast the outcomes of those polar opposites.

  • Anonymous

    you guys, why are we all sitting at our computers, trying to change something that simply cannot and will not be changed. Who runs this church? It’s not me, any of you, or President Monson. If you have issues with the way things are run in the church, sincerely ask the one who really is in charge: the Lord. We can pray about literally anything and He always answers our prayers in His way and His time. God is no respecter of persons and therefore will not change His will based on some petty complaints. If a man ran the church it would be different. I love the priesthood and my life has been blessed by it. I am so grateful for the men in my life that have been worthy of that sacred call. Us as women have a divine role and if you don’t know what that role is, I suggest you try your best to remember your temple covenants. It is amazing to be a woman in the church at this exciting time. I heard you out on your opinions and I hope and pray that you will hear me out on mine. I know that Jesus Christ lives and that this is His church. He loves ALL of us and He wants us to be happy. He has infinite love for YOU and infinite wisdom to run His church.

  • Nobody Important

    I’m a man in the LDS church with two callings and two other “assignments.” In three of the four I report to a woman, and I have no problem whatsoever with it. I do have serious issues with the OW group and their divisiveness, and so do a majority of women in the LDS church.

  • Nobody Important

    Jana, have you ever considered that “you have a history on this blog of hurling judgments” applies to yourself as well? I mean, look at the title of this very article.

  • Sheryl

    Pres. Stephens’s former job is interesting, but it doesn’t mean he had bad motives in his interactions with OW. If he were simply a bigot who won’t tolerate strong women, that would have shown in his professional life–but, in fact, he worked well with women. April Young Bennett is the one who called him “a good man,” praise she based on his public record.

    Actually, this evidence supports Harry Stamper’s suggestion that in temple recommend interviews, Pres. Stephens is looking for “good soldiers” (read “people who are loyal to the Apostles”).

    It seems harsh to judge Pres. Stephens based on single event, especially since his calling makes it impossible for him to tell his side of the story.

  • Annie

    Holy cow. The comments here just blow my mind completely. it’s as it nobody can even imagine the possibility that women might one day be allowed to hold the priesthood in any way different than they do now. The doctrine does not change. The policies, procedures, and the way the gospel is practiced and/or implemented in the church most definitely does change. In fact, most of the time it changes because of outside pressure. And that’s a GOOD thing. Oh, and Jana, that last podcast you did with Dan Witherspoon? Absolute perfection.

  • Nobody Important

    As a general rule, blog comments are skewed to the extremes of opinions, and don’t represent a representative sample.

    In my view, your comment also fits this bill. Many of us who have serious issues with OW have no problem with women holding the priesthood… if God wants it that way. The questions that OW asked have been answered, in far greater detail than they likely anticipated, yet they have rejected those answers outright and continue campaigning AGAINST the LDS church. They went so far as to tell others not to believe what the LDS church teaches. Kate Kelly called her former bishop an “unchristian coward” based on events she would later admit she made up, and OW has, as far as I can tell, refused to apologize. They’ve lied to the media repeatedly about LDS doctrines and disciplinary councils in particular, which is why I’m a little skeptical about the story above.

    With all this, supporters of OW still spread the idea that OW is being criticized/disciplined/vilified for “asking questions” which is absolutely not true in light of everything else the group has done. We also don’t necessary reject changes to policies and procedures, even if in part due to “outside pressure.” However, I absolutely reject and will push back against dishonest and manipulative lobbying groups. The Church of God has not fared well in history when this becomes the case. If you want any more explanation, feel free to ask.

  • Annie

    And what would have happened if people/groups simply stopped pressuring the church to give blacks the priesthood? Do you think it ever would have changed? I don’t. Progress happens when people start to imagine bigger and better ways to impliment Christ’s teachings. As much as you would like to think that every single decision the church makes is directed by God himself, it just isn’t the truth. This is but one of many of Christ’s churches that is run by men who are influenced by their own life experiences and biases. Do I believe that Christ cares and loves this church? Yes, I do. But I also believe that he lets the leaders of the church run it however they choose to. They are wonderful individuals who are doing the very best they can and so are the rest of us. That’s good enough for me. Progress happens slowly. I’m fine to wait: )

  • I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but your system only works if GAs are infallible communicators of God’s will. It’s fairly obvious to me that this isn’t true, so submitting oneself to the will of GAs is emphatically *not* the same thing as submitting yourself to God’s will.

  • So what you’re saying is, you concede that you’re totally uninformed on the situation (you don’t read Jana’s blog; you haven’t seen HS’s comments before), but you feel you have enough information to barge in and demand that Jana respond to HS to your satisfaction? Can you not see the absurdity in your demand?

  • “What, exactly, is the Church afraid of?”

    In becoming emergent, the Mormon religion has had to deal with the truth.


  • Roger

    Obviously, those critical of Ms. Riess and Ms. Bennett wish to convey that they believe they soon will be better off without those of us who share some of the aforementioned ladies’ concerns. Perhaps they are correct.

    I just wish they didn’t seem so gratified at the prospect.

  • Nobody Important

    False dilemma logical fallacy.

  • Nobody Important

    “And what would have happened if people/groups simply stopped pressuring the church to give blacks the priesthood? Do you think it ever would have changed?”
    Answer: Absolutely

    While I believe external pressure certainly played a role, it certainly wasn’t the only factor. Modern prophets long predating Kimball stated that the priesthood would be expanded to all races, and from a purely logical point of view, it was necessary for church existence/growth in many parts of the world.

    “As much as you would like to think that every single decision the church makes is directed by God himself, it just isn’t the truth.”
    This is a false dilemma fallacy, and I’d prefer if you wouldn’t try project false beliefs onto me.

    I also believe that God lets the leaders of the church run it as they choose… but certainly within limits. I also believe revelation can and does influence many of their decisions. I do not think that outside groups like OW should be given special consideration when their tactics and goals are dishonest and divisive.

  • HarryStamper

    No detailed reply necessary, my comments are rhetorical, hopefully people think about.
    A. Jardine…you say….I assume ” local leaders generally act in good faith and for good reason and if we knew all the facts we would agree.” Yes, absolutely.

  • Fred M

    Again, significant change has happened in the church in the past because first people complained. There were many complaints about the violent vows in the temple ceremony–these complaints did not in any way reject the revelation that created the ceremony. They were merely seeking a change. The leadership of the church went to the Lord, got confirmation that a change needed to be made, and changes were made. The same is true of complaints about the design of temple garments, women being allowed to give prayers in meetings, etc.

    Some of the methods of OW are too extreme for my taste. But to publicly express the opinion that a change should be made isn’t a sign of heresy or apostasy, and to label it as such shows a lack of understanding of the history of change in the church.

  • HarryStamper

    Hey Ziff, I enjoyed your comment regarding my comments..thank you…you put a smile on my face. As usual, a couple things…you assume incorrectly the church teaches the general authorities are infallible…they are not…the church and scriptures have many stories and lessons about church leaders being human…especially some of Joseph Smith’s. That said, when the apostles act unitedly we accept that as infallible. The brethren conduct the business of the church in a united fashion, if they are not united on anything important it is put on the shelf. Also you said it was “fairly obvious’…anything fairly obvious is by definition….not obvious…:)

  • So you concede that there are influences on Church leaders *other* than revelation, but you don’t want OW to be one of those influences because . . . why? Labeling them “dishonest and divisive” doesn’t really tell me anything other than maybe you’re invested in the status quo.

  • So you’re saying you want to avoid the label “infallible,” but you still want to treat them as infallible? Thanks for clarifying.

  • If you’re so sure that God’s will is 100% reflected in the Church’s every move, why not just worship the Church instead of God?

    It makes perfect sense to want to be part of the Church, but still acknowledge that Church leaders are wrong lots of the time. Sure, it’s not how they frame things–they generally prefer the black-and-white “it’s all true or it’s all false” approach–but that doesn’t mean we as members have to accept their framing. They can be inspired but still make plenty of errors.

  • Tryto

    Who wishes to convey that? I wished to convey strong objections to, in one case, an unwarranted smear of an honorable man, who was smeared by the author because of his religious beliefs. Maybe you think that’s an OK thing to do, but I dont. My objection in the other case is that this same writer then proceeds without justification to contextualize Church discipline policies as grounded in fear. I explained why that was unjustified – almost any organization and especially faith- based ones recognizes to one degree or another that there are actions or ideologies that are inconsistent with membership. You “obviously” don’t want to consider those objections on the merits, so you make up some motive that you attribute to me hoping to distract attention from them. Pathetic, really.

  • Trytoseeitmyway

    On the other hand, adherence to valid laws – even when one happens to disagree – is a hallmark of virtue in civil society.

  • Nobody Important


    You really, really, need to study false dilemma fallacies a bit more, because you make the same illogical arguments over and over and over again in your responses to me and everyone else on this thread. Simply put, you have been wrong about what I believe every single time because of your logical fallacies.

  • Nobody Important

    Well said

  • Ben in oakland

    The real question is why you would want to belong to a church that endorses patriarchy as a model becuase someone did it 2000 years ago, or that has determined that 1/2 of humanity is spiritually inferior to the other half?

  • Ben in oakland

    It infects the entire world, every place where religion is given some sort of primacy as “god’s word.” It doesn’t matter whether God is abrahamic, a Buddhist, a Hindu, or anything else.

  • captain_dg

    An excellent comment. It would be nice if Jana responded to it. While definitely not claiming that the priesthood was held by women, she does seem to claim women engaged in certain activities that are now prohibited. Your comment demands an answer- Jana is either lamenting something truly lost or she isn’t, which would leave her disingenuous.

  • Trytoseeitmyway

    I predicate these expressions of live for the Church, but am concerned by complaints about “lagging behind.” I don’t have any sense that the doctrines, policies or practices of the Church somehow have to maintain a degree of currency with developments in the popular culture, let alone with so-called “progressive” ideology. If your sense for the proper directions and principles of the Gospel are more heavily influenced by Justice Ginsburg that someone whom you presumably sustain as the Prophet of God, then I think we can identify where the problem is. This viewpoint, by the way, has exactly nothing to do with “tradition,” as you seem to claim, and everything to do with faith.

  • Trytoseeitmyway

    * I appreciate.

  • Trytoseeitmyway

    After a cheating scandal at one of the service academies many years ago, a wag (I think it was Chevy Chase on the original SNL, which I grant you dates me badly) proposed a solution to the problem. Simply change the Cadet Honor Code from, “A cadet will not lie, steal or cheat,” to read, “A cadet will not lie or steal.” Problem solved.

    Your solution of changing the recommend interview, so that the candidate will no longer be asked if he or she affiliates with an organization whose principles are contrary to those of the Church, has the same quality.

  • EG

    Well said

  • Pacumeni

    You use sleight of hand in this statement: “What’s especially compelling about them is not that they point to some pie-in-the-sky future of Mormon women being able to give priesthood blessings someday, but that they recall an actual flesh-and-blood past in which Mormon women did precisely that.” It is true that women gave blessings. It is not true that they gave priesthood blessings. They did not state that the blessings were given by the power of the Melchizedek priesthood. I would like to see the tradition of women giving blessings restored. I don’t want women to have the male priesthood, though I would be pleased to see an exclusively female priesthood with its own, alternative saving ordinances. The temple underscores the complimentarity of the sexes in various ways. Man cannot be saved without woman nor woman without man. That complimentarity is at risk in the push for women to be ordained to the same priesthood as men.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Tina, you write: “It is intellectually dishonest to automatically categorize unorthodox opinions as heresy.”

    I agree completely. It is not, on the other hand, intellectually or any other kind of dishonest to believe that pressure-group tactics such as employed by the Ordain Women organization can fall short of consistency with temple worthiness or even membership for those who participate in those tactics. The vice here is not, in my view, whether there is doctrinal or other legitimacy in proposing priesthood for women. For those who listen during the endowment, the idea of priestesses in the Church is far from unfamiliar. No, the vice here is in adopting political/PR tactics, strategies and methods which (1) are intended (let’s be honest, please?) to embarrass further the Church in the view of left-of-center ideologues, and thereby create pressure on Church leaders; and (2) imply that the doctrines, policies and practices of the Church are shaped by grass-roots opinion rather than by the Savior, Jesus Christ, by revelation to His apostles and prophets. Both concerns are serious, and #2 goes to the heart of what it means to have a testimony of the Restored Gospel.

    I have no disagreement with disagreement, if that phrase makes sense. I am seriously concerned about the honesty of anyone who claims to have a testimony while engaged in a PR campaign against prophets and apostles of Christ. Presumably you can recognize that view as intellectually honest. If not, the problem isn’t mine.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    No, that’s not the real question because those are not real facts.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    I notice you feel you have to use words like “misogynistic” and “homophobic.” It so often happens that those who make weak arguments feel that they have to exaggerate or mischaracterize facts in order to make their arguments seem stronger than they in fact are. For example, if you think that the Family Proclamation is either misogynistic or homophobic, I can understand why you don’t remain a faithful member of the Church … but I have to tell you in candor that your judgments on those subjects are not fair or valid. The same response can be given to the sisters who have echoed your words.

  • I lost my temple recommend because I won’t give the Church money when I know it will be used to fight God and give power to the devil. As long as the Church keeps fighting American churches’ right to preform legal same sex marriages, we reject our own religion and our own past. I cannot support this and if my relationship with the Lord is less important to the Church than where my money goes, then they loose a person preforming temple ordinances. I do not feel bad about this, nor should anyone else following their conscience.


  • Fred M

    Have a sister in your ward ask your bishop or stake president if she can lay her hands on another sister’s head and ask for her to be healed, and see what the response is. If he has no problem with it, Jana is clearly in the wrong. If he says no, then clearly something has changed.

  • Fred M

    HarryStamper–“when the apostles act unitedly we accept that as infallible”–could you cite doctrinal evidence for this please? I do not believe that is doctrinally correct.

  • Roger

    To: Mr. Try to see it my way or take the highway–

    You are absolutely correct. And Ms. Riess and the rest of us owe you a debt of gratitude as you take on the role as spokesperson the Great Sifting. No one disputes the right of the LDS Church or any other similarly constituted institution to take actions deemed necessary to preserve its doctrinal integrity. And if the Church has decided to not include those on the “borderlands” in its activities (attending temple weddings), that is its prerogative; apparently this is to be a tactic in winnowing the wheat from the chaff.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    How interesting that you feel you need to resort to this kind of rhetoric. The comment to which you replied concerned the tendency by some to exaggerate and mischaracterize through use of terms like “homophobic” and “misogynistic,” both of which imply a state of mind (hatred or fear) which isn’t actually present in the context under discussion.

    The first thing you say about that is, “You are absolutely correct.” So, good, we agree. But the reset of your reply is just nonsense. I’m no spokesman – dude, I just express opinions like everyone else – and there is no Great Sifting, whatever that is supposed to mean. There is and always has been a concept in the Church that membership means adherence to specific matters of faith and principle, and that temple worthiness represents even a higher standard. If you can’t accept that, it’s not my problem.

  • cwandrews

    Ziff, you’ve mischaracterized Sharee’s comment, presumably in an effort to demean her. She never even implied that the Church’s teachings reflect God’s will 100% of the time, and she aptly questions why someone would want to continue with a church that seems so sadly deficient compared to expectation.

  • cwandrews

    Ben – Agreed. What church are you talking about?

  • cwandrews

    Excellent comment. I was going to most many of the same points, but I’ll just stand with yours.

  • No degree of faith or sustainment of apostles before 1978 would have made the temple and correct or right. We were flat out wrong – spectacularly so.

    “Today, the Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects unrighteous actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else. Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form.”

    I suspect one day will have a similar statement disavowing all kinds of institutional sexism. Frankly the answers and theories and reasons currently given about why women cannot hold the priesthood are as speculative is not even more so than those given by our well intended leaders about blacks and the priesthood.

  • If you do not believe in the mission of the LDS Church and think that it misallocates its monies, do not donate to it. I hapen to think it uses its funds to better mankind better than almost anything out there.

    Jana, possible other titles for reflection and writing:

    “Who is Afraid of the Judgments of God?”
    “Who fears Mammon more than the Divine?”
    “Who Believes Women are Specially Ordained to be Mothers and Nurturers?”
    “Who Think that Men Need Help at Being More Service Oriented?
    “Who Believes in the Scriptures?”
    “Who Believes that Jesus Has a Plan for Humanity?”
    “Who Believes that Jesus’ 12 Apostles Were not a Mistake?”
    “Who Fears Political Correctness to the Point We do not Know who We Are?”
    “Who Believes that the LDS Apostles are Imposters?”
    “Who believes the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith to be Fraudulent?”

    I can think of many more. But, in the end, we have to live with what we truly believe is right. I believe that God has a plan, and it includes us but it is ultimately bigger than us. Good luck or God bless in finding those answers. I don’t have them all but they are worth discussing.

  • Ben in oakland

    Mormons, catholics, and Baptists– for starters.

    You can claim that god ordained he roles, not the church, and that it doesn’t mean what it so clearly means.

    either women are equal to men in all ways, or they are not.

  • Ben in oakland

    “I notice you feel you have to use words like “misogynistic” and “homophobic.” It so often happens that those who make weak arguments feel that they have to exaggerate or mischaracterize facts in order to make their arguments seem stronger than they in fact are. ”

    “The comment to which you replied concerned the tendency by some to exaggerate and mischaracterize through use of terms like “homophobic” and “misogynistic,” both of which imply a state of mind (hatred or fear) which isn’t actually present in the context under discussion. ”

    Not all bigotry is hate or fear. a good deal of it is the always present, always assumed, and completely unwarranted belief in ones own wholly imaginary superiority as a man, as a Christian, as a moral person, as a heterosexual, and as a human being.

    We have thousands of years of patriarchal assumptions about the inherent superiority of men and the inherent inferiority, if not danger to male purity, that is women. you have Paul stating it baldly.

  • WI_Member

    Can anyone tell me what it means to be a priestess to my husband? Doesn’t that involve some sort of priestly authority or office?

  • trytoseeitmyway

    I appreciate that you may have that suspicion. But you’ll agree with me that it remains to be seen. Although it occurred well before my time as a member of the Church, I am pleased that the Savior revealed to His prophets the error of the former practice. It reassures me that the Brethren really won’t lead us astray, because if mistakes made of men arise, they will have the spiritual guidance and sensitivity to correct them.

    Whether the issue is the ordination of women, same-sex “marriage” or other proposals driven by contemporary popular culture or political views, there is a strong tendency – just as you’ve shown here – to refer back to the priesthood revelation of 1978. But unlike you and many others, I don’t assume the cases to be parallel. Maybe they are – but I don’t make that assumption. In the case of the priesthood policy, it is easy to see how it was a mistake not well grounded in doctrine or revelation. After all, we know that Joseph Smith ordained African-American men to the priesthood and that there was never a canonized revelation disqualifying them on the basis of race. To the contrary, the Book of Mormon firmly declares that “all are alike unto God.” (2 Neph. 26:33.) The contrary policies and practices of a later time came not by revelation but by teaching (yes, from prophets and apostles) that reflected the religious and cultural assumptions of their time. In other words, THEY were influenced by popular culture and that influence remained until the Brethren could unanimously declare that they had received unequivocal revelation to the contrary. When that happened, the Church as a whole embraced and implemented the restoration of the policy and practice of the earliest days.

    I can imagine that something along the same lines could occur with the ordination of women. As I wrote elsewhere in comments here, the idea of women as priestesses is not unfamiliar to those who have participated in the endowment. Ordinance workers in the temple directly exercise priesthood regardless of gender. As Elder Oaks observed last April, sisters exercise priesthood authority in the Church even today. It is possible to imagine an evolution of doctrine and practice in that direction.

    What I DON’T imagine is that this evolution, if it occurs, would be the result of drum-beating propaganda efforts or pressure-group tactics. If anything, they make such changes more difficult and less likely in the near future. I DON’T imagine that change will be, can be or should be a response to the ideologies of the popular culture. And I would expect that any change would be consistent with, and not contrary to, the revelations in the Family Proclamation.

    At the end of the day, your speculation or mine is just that – speculation. We (both of us) need to rest assured that the growth, progress, directions and governance of the Church are in the Lord’s hands, and that those hand are careful and sure. The difficulty, where there is one, with Ordain Women is not in speculating, discussing or even hoping for a change in policy, practice or revealed truth. The difficulty lies in demanding change or insisting on it as a means to allay adverse public opinion, which the group happily cultivates. That entirely misunderstands the governance of the Lord’s Church.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    First of all, my earlier comment was specific to the words “misogynistic” and “homophobic,” which do in fact imply hate or fear. You’ve avoided use of those words and substituted “bigotry” instead.

    But of course that term isn’t warranted either. Bigotry, too, implies an animus which you apparently recognize can’t be shown to exist here. It is well established, for example, that the vast majority of LDS women (or of Catholic women, to take another example) are perfectly well satisfied with differences in gender roles being reflected in ecclesiastical practice. They obviously don’t regard themselves as victims of bigotry, nor does any reasonable definition of the term support that view.

    In essence, then, you’ve illustrated my point: you folks are unable to make your case without leveling accusations that lack a factual basis.

  • Sheryl

    Excellent question! This has actually been a topic of vigorous conversation in the Church for decades as different people (usually lay members) have speculated about what the phrase might mean. Some wonder if it describes a married woman’s current status,others believe it refers to her future status in the resurrection, and other understand it to refer to some official position all women will occupy during the Millennium–and I’m sure there are many other opinions out there that I haven’t described!

    The difficulty with OW is NOT that they are considering unusual answers to this question, or even that they have publicly committed to a particular, unconventional interpretation. The problem is that they use public pressure techniques try to enforce their interpretation on millions of other people without our consent.

  • WI_Member

    It would certainly help if the church would actually address this question. Then we wouldn’t have to speculate and be made to feel like apostates for asking the question. To your knowledge, have there been any ‘official’ explanations offered?

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Yes, it does. I make that point in somewhat different terms elsewhere on this page. Even though that particular phrase (I won’t quote it, because it would be improper to do so) is future oriented, it clearly asserts that women have the God-given potential, and even the right when worthy, to hold royalty and priesthood in the Kingdom hereafter. Elder Oaks added last April that women and men both exercise delegated priesthood authority and are entitled to the inspiration associated with their callings. There is even a thread of theological thought running through a series of Conference talks that it is unnecessary to confer priesthood on women because they innately hold their own delegated power and authority from God, whereas men have to earn it and can have it withdrawn.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Read Elder Oaks’ talk from priesthood session last April.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Well done. With humor too. Thanks.

  • Sheryl

    I haven’t seen an official answer, and I personally don’t feel a “need” to speculate about what the truth might be. When I’ve speculated about other questions (symbolism in Daniel or Revelation, for instance), I’ve been totally wrong.

    For comparison, before Christ was born, many very learned people speculated about what the Messiah would do. Their speculations weren’t mistaken–these individuals carefully read the scriptures and correctly recognized that He would come to overthrow the kingdoms of the world and rule the earth. But their preconceived ideas kept them from recognizing the real Messiah when He was in their midst because He ignored politics to focus on a life of service. Their incomplete answers kept them from seeing the truth.

    I would rather wait for the Head of the Church–Jesus Christ–to reveal the real answer to the question than to commit myself to an interpretation that might be wrong.

  • WI_Member

    But why the caveat of ‘to my husband’ rather than to God, like my husband? My husband is not designated a priest ‘to his wife’.

  • Sheryl

    Haha! Notice that Trytoseeitmyway and I have completely different answers and approaches to your question (he seems to prefer a definite answer while I am willing to tolerate considerable uncertainty–probably personality differences 🙂 ), but we both agree that the Apostles are the only source we trust to answer it. The Apostles are the leaders of the Church whom we have freely consented to follow–not members of OW or any other public pressure group.

    I think this proves (again) that the Church is open to discussion and differences of opinion–OW’s strong-arm tactics are the problem, not questions.

  • WI_Member

    Do you mean the meeting where women were told they couldn’t attend because priesthood is for men and boys, and then were told that women exercise priesthood authority?

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Oh dear. Here I thought you were asking a sincere question and that I was being helpful. Turns out you just wanted to … gripe. Oh well.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    Not sure we’re all that different, but I agree with this comment in any case. Thank you.

  • Ben in Oakland

    Nope, I haven’t merely substituted the word bigotry, I have stated that not all bigotry is hate or fear. Animus isn’t required either. Often, it’s simply a belief in your own superiority and entitlement as a human being.

    Witness the move, “The Help.” Those white women didn’t hate or fear their black servants. They merely knew that if a black person used their toilet, it would get black cooties on it. Animus simply was not required, though I believe you usually don’t have to dig too deeply to find it.

    with gay people, you find it right here. “Civil unions are good enough for YOU.” But the person saying it would never accept one for himself. It’s a recognition that our claim is valid, and an assertion that under no circumstance will a gay person be considered equal to a heterosexual.

  • WI_Member

    Yes, there was definitely some snark in my last comment, but can we agree that the church is sending mixed messages that cause people to question what is going on? These issues have real consequences for me and my family as we try to navigate our way through this.

  • Roger

    Not to worry, Mr. Try to see it my way or take the highway. You have helped many of us see things much more clearly.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    I don’t know what cooties are, nor do I obtain my understanding of the world from cinema or other fiction. No one thinks that women are inferior to men, least of all the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Different, obviously, but not inferior. Read, The Family: A Proclamation to the World. You’re wrong to claim otherwise and, again, exaggerating because it would not serve your purpose to be accurate or fair. Too bad, really.

  • trytoseeitmyway

    WI, you ask, “Can we agree that the church is sending mixed messages that cause people to question what is going on?”

    No, sorry, that’s a little vague for me. It would be hard for me to know what exactly I’m agreeing to. I can agree that the Church continues to work out its theology and practices by, among other things, the statements of its leaders in General Conference and similar fora, which I generally take to be a good thing. I like the idea that revelation and inspiration can be an ongoing thing, and that not all of the Brethren approach the same issues in quite the same way. There’s an analogy to the development of law through decisions by judges including those on the Supreme Court, if it helps to think of it that way.

    Roger compliments me by saying that I have helped others see things more clearly. That’s gratifying of course. But I think I just help them articulate for themselves what they know and understand intuitively.

    (Yes, yes, I know. He was being unpleasant and sarcastic. I just thought it would be courteous to take his words at face value.)

  • HarryStamper

    To: Fred M
    Jan 19, 2015 at 11:19 am “”HarryStamper–“when the apostles act unitedly we accept that as infallible”–could you cite doctrinal evidence for this please? I do not believe that is doctrinally correct.””

    Fred…I used the word “infallible” because Ziff did responding to my comment. Normally, I would never use it…. I would use…”shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the mind of the Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and the power of God unto salvation.” D&C 68:4….or ….” whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same. D&C 1:38

    If we accept anything from the brethren as coming from the Lord, surely signed unanimous statements from the 1st Presidency and the Quorum of 12 Apostles would qualify? If they don’t what does..??

    Unity is a theme and doctrine in scripture and church governance…..note “unanimous voice of the same”

    D&C 107:27
    27 And every decision made by either of these quorums must be by the unanimous voice of the same; that is, every member in each quorum must be agreed to its decisions, in order to make their decisions of the same power or validity one with the other—
    John 17:21-23
    “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.”
    D&C 38:27
    27 Behold, this I have given unto you as a parable, and it is even as I am. I say unto you, be one; and if ye are not one ye are not mine

  • Scott Roskelley

    The compelling photographs published by OW have historical precedent. Women in the past gave healing blessings by anointing oil, participated in the laying on of hands jointly with their husbands in administering to the sick, and would also give blessings to those preparing for childbirth. Currently all 3 of these blessing which are historical facts (see Stapley and Wright’s JMH 2011 paper) and were performed outside the temple have been removed by according to Oaks “presiding authorities [who] hold and exercise all of the keys delegated to men in this dispensation” Oaks and Quinn were in a bit of a debate on these same topics in 1992, when Oaks gave his 92′ talk entitled Relief Society and the Church, he gleans the Nauvoo RS minutes for proofs to support his position. He declares a reason why women don’t give healing blessings anymore. “During the century that followed, as temples became accessible to most members, “proper order” required that these and other sacred practices be confined within those temples”. So there we are. By redefining what the keys meant to the relief society and boldly declaring that only men hold priesthood keys, he was then able to justify the exercise of restrictions and “proper order”. Oaks exegesis on the “proper order” context of women conducting healing blessings from the 28 Apr. 1842, p. 36 Minutes books is riddled with anachronisms. Joseph would look at these photographs and smile, Oaks would cringe, and whine.

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  • Jana, I think you should add a clarification to your article about the so-called historical precedent of women asked to do healings via the laying on of hands. In reality, these women were doing a prayer of faith for the healings. It was not a priesthood ordinance.

    In these historical cases, the women’s prayer of faith just happened to be done by laying on of hands. Laying on of hands is not automatically equal to exercising the priesthood or an implication women had priesthood conferred upon them.

    The Book of Mormon teaches that healings can be a gift of the spirit and are through faith in Christ. Church members today should not be confused by the historical use of laying on of hands by women since it was a non-priesthood way of offering a prayer of faith.

    I am glad church leaders eventually stopped the practice of women using the laying on of hands for the prayer of faith since it apparently causes much confusion with priesthood ordinances.