3 Changes That Mormons Against Women’s Ordination Ought to Support

By: Andrew S
April 2, 2014

This weekend, Mormons across the world will be tuning in to the 184th annual General Conference. A smaller selection of Mormons, many of whom engage Mormonism daily through blogs in the bloggernacle or Facebook groups like the Mormon Hub, will be paying attention to the actions that Ordain Women will decide to take at General Conference. Ordain Women is understandably a controversial and polarizing group — Priesthood authority is a central aspect of the Latter-day Saint religion, so proposals to change its makeup are fraught. I have noticed that frequently, people opposed to women’s ordination (or Mormon feminism in general) will argue that the proponents of women’s equality incorrectly assume that equality means sameness. For a recent Mormon take on this trope, see this Deseret News post from Linda and Richard Eyre on Women and the Priesthood in Mormon theology. As they write:

But there is one problem that pervades the feminism culture and that is actually working against the ultimate and worthy goal of total equality. It is the notion that equality means sameness. In actuality, striving for sameness will never produce equality, because there will always be small variants and no two people will ever be the same. True equality comes only when we realize that two very different things can be precisely equal in importance, in beauty and in ultimate potential.

Julie M. Smith had a great post at Times & Seasons (not written directly in response to this article, but it reads as if it could have been…that is how common the equality-sameness argument is) on this issue. Stepping around Julie’s comments on the problem with the “separate but equal” conceit (because while it is a great point, it is also worthy of its own discussion), here’s something Julie pointed out through a comparison of young women’s roles vs. young men’s roles in sacrament meetings:

So we are assuming that the Young Women don’t need to be treated the same (that is, ordained to the Aaronic priesthood and given a chance to prepare, bless, and pass the sacrament) to be equal. But they do need something. What recognition are they receiving in sacrament meeting? (The pathology of publicly praising our sons as a community every single week in the context of worship while never doing that for our daughters as a group is a very deep one. Imagine a family where the son was praised weekly and the daughter never mentioned:  no one would think that this is acceptable parenting.) What sense of purpose are they developing? What is motivating them to attend sacrament meeting? What spiritual opportunities are they given? How will they grow?

What struck me from reading Julie’s post and thinking about Ordain Women’s call for women’s equality was the sense that the divide between men and women and the church is wide enough that even if one doesn’t want to risk being accused of advocating sameness, there are still plenty of changes that can be made that will nevertheless recognize the difference of the genders. Here are just three changes in the church that even Mormons against women’s ordination can (and ought) to support.

What Can Mormons Do to Show They Care about Equality Without Advocating Sameness?

I highly recommend that Mormons visit Heather’s “Equality is not a feeling” series at Doves and Serpents, because this post is going to rely heavily on several entries therein.

1) Equalize representation in non-priesthood administrative roles, like the Church Educational System.

Let’s look at a recent edition: the gender division of all of the Commissioners of Education for the Church Educational System since 1888. Equality is Not a Feeling: CES Commissioners   Equality doesn’t have to mean sameness. If one doesn’t agree that women should be ordained just as men are, one can still recognize that the status quo of how the Church Educational System is run is still far off from anything resembling equality. Peggy Fletcher-Stack wrote an article recently about the “rare honor” of a female BYU professor being named to run an Institute of Religion in Cambridge, Ma. How is it that women so rarely oversee Institute at a local or regional level, in addition to having no representation as the top commissioner? This is not an issue that requires priesthood ordination to solve, so the least a Mormon can do is be in favor of shifting this administrative matter in favor of equality.

2) Evaluate roles for young women in the “congregation at large”

For the second item, let’s look at Heather’s “Equality is not a feeling” entry for the roles of young women and young men relating to the congregation at large. This relates to the post I linked earlier from Julie, but speaks about more than just sacrament.

Equality is Not a Feeling - YM and YW duties

Recall the paragraph I quoted from Julie. What sense of purpose are the young women developing? What is motivating them to attend sacrament meeting? What spiritual opportunities are they given? How will they grow? Understandably, if you are against women’s ordination, you might think that many of these items are priesthood only, and thus not on the table for negotiation. However, are all of these items things that require priesthood to perform?

3) Close the gap in recognition for women leaders in the church organization

Finally, I’ll post Heather’s “Equality is not a feeling” entry for the male-female breakdown of the top leaders in the church. Equality is Not a Feeling: Men vs Women in Church Leadership Positions I hear many people say that women already have plenty on their plate in the church, so they shouldn’t be burdened with additional meetings. And indeed, women are represented in church leadership in the Relief Society and Young Women’s presidencies, as well as in the Primary presidency (and, accordingly, women throughout the church may serve locally through Young Women’s and Relief Society). And not only this, but we recognize that women do excellent work — how often do people say that the Relief Society and Young Women are far more organized than equivalent priesthood counterparts, especially when it comes to organizing and serving?

Mormon Women Leaders

Yet if women and men are equal, but not the same, then why is it that the church has such a gap in the top leadership roles with women vs those for men? Quorum of the Seventy

* * *

These three changes are just a few things to think about that don’t require any changes or adjustments to priesthood ordination. Even though I have posted just three articles from Heather’s excellent series, the series currently has 22 articles and counting, and several point out gaps and discrepancies by gender that really can’t be fixed without changes to priesthood. Still, even conceding that any changes to the priesthood are off the table, why not at least support changes in these areas?

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46 Responses to 3 Changes That Mormons Against Women’s Ordination Ought to Support

  1. Stephen R. Marsh on April 2, 2014 at 3:07 PM

    Nicely said.

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  2. Jeff Spector on April 2, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    Andrew,

    Heather’s post is designed to maximize the roles of the young men and minimize the role of the Young Women. Since I assume you do not attend Church on a regular basis, nor hold any any callings which deal with the young people, let me add a few things on the Young Women side of the ledger that Heather conveniently missed.

    This would apply to all Young Women

    - Invited to give talks in Sacrament Meeting
    - Presides over and conducts their class meetings, if called to a leadership role
    - Conducts joint YM/YW activities
    - Represents class in annual planning activity
    - Participates in a New Beginnings activity each year.
    - Receives recognition in Sacrament Meeting when moving from up from one class to another ( this happens in our ward, its in the handbook, your mileage may vary)
    - Receives recognition in Sacrament meeting when achieving one of the Young Women’s awards, especially the Young Woman’s Recognition.
    - May be called to represent the Ward on the Stake Youth Committee
    - Can be called as a Youth Leader at Young Women’s Camp.
    - Give service to Ward members throughout the year.

    This is what comes to my mind. I am not saying that it is equivalent to what Young Men are doing, but it is much more than what you’ve put up in the post.

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  3. handlewithcare on April 2, 2014 at 3:57 PM

    My teenage son describes problems like these as ‘first world dilemmas’. But then, he no longer attends church so he can leave it alone.
    I’m personally convinced that as a woman I have been given an equal priesthood through my participation in temple ordinances, but my brethren have been given the responsibility to administer within the church. I see that as a purely temporary situation, probably lasting until my brethren have sufficiently matured to do their duty without the added incentive of feeling indispensible and important. It’s a situation that every family need to find their own accommodation with, but no-one in my household affords anyone special priveleges according to their gender, other than in situations of childbirth and nursing.
    I suspect this is all about protecting the mother and child-making sure that responsibility is taken for their provision and protection, something that the developing world has yet to have an opportunity to embrace, and we belong to a worldwide church. I think that is probably God’s priority, if He will excuse my presumption. The church is beginning to be a little less amerocentric, but OW is very much a Utahn issue.
    I also feel that we will see things change as the old guard die out, there are big changes in Europe that have happened alongside the changes in society, but there are still dinosaurs.The thing is we all know that’s what they are-we know that their behaviour is neither necessary nor sanctioned by scripture. Lots of small changes-not least that many of them have women bosses and work alongside women-things get a little more collegiate. We have more families where the woman has become the main income earner, and most women are economically active.
    Stuff like presiding over the RS conference is a no-brainer. The next generation won’t even think about it. I can be at peace about it because I can see change and it’s all good, and it’s never been a problem in my home. I accept that it may be more pressing for some of my sisters,as it was for my mother, but it’s never been a democratic church.I’ll just keep blessing my children as I have always done, as will my husband. We look forward to being priest and priestess.

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  4. Andrew S on April 2, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    re 2,

    Jeff,

    Firstly, notice how many/most of your items do not relate to the congregation as a whole. So, in other words, young men participate in actions that help the congregation as a whole. Women participate in activities that relate to other women.

    Since you mention recognition, I’ll note that Heather had another edition in the series that was about recognition

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  5. hkobeal on April 2, 2014 at 4:16 PM

    Re 2

    Jeff,

    Why is your first reaction to accuse me of not attending church or of never having served in the YW organization? I have actually been in a YW presidency before (although–full disclosure–I have spent more of my adult life serving as a Primary pres. member or as the Primary chorister).

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  6. Andrew S on April 2, 2014 at 4:22 PM

    hkobeal,

    Jeff’s aiming his non-attending comments at me. He will probably respond with a passive aggressive comment about reading comprehension, taking offense when none was intended, etc.,

    I dare him to defy.

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  7. Jeff Spector on April 2, 2014 at 4:25 PM

    I meant Andrew ( in my usual passive-aggressive way of addressing someone who posted as “you”

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  8. Jeff Spector on April 2, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    Andrew,

    “Firstly, notice how many/most of your items do not relate to the congregation as a whole. ”

    I beg to differ. When was the last time you saw a YM act as messenger for the bishop? I can’t remember the last time myself.

    And, we have YW care for the meetinghouse and the grounds multiple times a year. They help clean the building with their families. A week before the fire last year, The YM/YW made a significant effort to remove pine needles and debris from the Church grounds, which likely saved the building from burning down.

    Let’s not forget the cookies. The congregation profoundly recognizes the YW make much better cookies and brownies than the YM.

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  9. Angela C on April 2, 2014 at 4:33 PM

    Heather: yes, I also noted he was talking about Andrew S.

    Andrew: Nicely done. I’ve followed Heather’s excellent posts. I do agree with Jeff’s point that there are other opportunities besides those listed, but it really does vary from ward to ward, and there is more emphasis on women over women and men over everyone. That’s a huge difference, even if it’s subtle.

    When I was in YW (many many years ago), we planned the activities (not the leaders), led the meetings, I taught Sunday School to my peers, I led the music in YW and sacrament meeting. I always wondered why we didn’t do a few simple things that would parallel the boys: 1) home teaching as teens (truth be told, my dad did use me as his partner, but it’s not the norm), 2) missionary splits, and 3) collecting fast offerings. Those seem like no brainers to me, but they aren’t because male leaders don’t think of things from a YW’s perspective.

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  10. Angela C on April 2, 2014 at 4:34 PM

    Jeff: “Let’s not forget the cookies. The congregation profoundly recognizes the YW make much better cookies and brownies than the YM.” For the love of puppies, man, you did NOT just say that! Grrrr.

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  11. Kristine A on April 2, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    Here’s a post I can get behind, I’m all about cultural changes that don’t require revelation:

    -If we have the names of our brethren memorized, we should also memorize the general boards of the women’s leadership positions. Heck, we can barely remember the names of the presidents . . . and yet every time a new mission president is called the Mormon Newsroom shouts his name from the rooftops (I follow them on twitter).

    -Equalize funding per person per organization, no more RS getting more per person, etc. Then each organization doesn’t have to use them the same way — the girls and boys can have different programs, but the programs should be equitable in funding and structure and recognition. (This may require the phasing out of BSA).

    -Give High Priests soft chairs, too!

    -Develop curriculum about teachings of female leaders of the Church

    -If there is a decision making board that makes decisions for all of the church (not YM/YW/RS/PH); both men and women should be represented equally on the board. This is actually in acknowledgement that we are not the same, but we will be strengthened when all voices are considered fairly, because each is unique and individual.

    p.s. I grew up in a ward where the girls in YW scrapbooked and knitted while the boys went water skiing and rappelling. Then when we complained the boys laughed and told us to go make them a sandwich. And all the leaders rolled their eyes and laughed. So I might be a bit more sensitive than others.

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  12. Jeff Spector on April 2, 2014 at 5:38 PM

    “For the love of puppies, man, you did NOT just say that! Grrrr.’

    Ang, I thought when I used the word “profoundly” that it would be recognized for what it was….

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  13. rah on April 2, 2014 at 7:16 PM

    Jeff,

    Your list doesn’t really help that much. All the things you added would have to be added to both the boys and girls list. So yes it may look the percentages look a little better but the reality will still be that the YW have far less, especially visable duties than the YM. 14 year girls should be visiting teachers. That is a no brainer. Clearly no priesthood required. Great way to get them introduced to serving in the church and integrating them into RS. Problems we have talked about ad nausea for years.

    The fact is that in most wards there is simply no recognition or attempt to expand the visible roles of YW. There are some wards in some small pockets. The only reason I actually would want to be a bishop (I know heresy) is to proactively find creative ways of expanding the role of women and girls in the ward. It can do nothing but help. I have seen a few bishops try and it has only had positive results. The WAVE list is another good place to start.

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  14. Angela C on April 2, 2014 at 8:45 PM

    Kristine A: “p.s. I grew up in a ward where the girls in YW scrapbooked and knitted while the boys went water skiing and rappelling. Then when we complained the boys laughed and told us to go make them a sandwich. And all the leaders rolled their eyes and laughed. So I might be a bit more sensitive than others.” That is terrible! I was lucky. Our YW did winter camping, car maintenance, self-defense / karate class, basketball, and fitness trails. That’s because the girls were in charge of deciding what our activities were. When I was a senior in high school we got a new leader who came out from Utah and suddenly everyone was working on her “hope chest,” a concept that had to be repeatedly explained to us because we had never heard of one in this day and age.

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  15. TheJenonator on April 2, 2014 at 10:28 PM

    I think YW (and YM) doing home/visiting teaching would be great. Separate but related to that would be them doing it for younger children-that would mean a lot to my kids having their own home teacher.

    Separate from the gender loutish, in my ward I wonder why the following things are not being done:

    There is no babysitting facilitated via leadership in the ward. If LDS wants converts and big families, they should figure out a variety of childcare services that don’t cost money to a young family. Not everyone lives close to relatives and most can’t afford the $10 per hour babysitters currently charge. I babysat 25 hrs a week as a teen. Where are the sitters now?!

    Why isnt there ward organized meal delivery plans for sick members and folks who had surgery or birth? Web technology supports it-just needs a ward to take initiative.

    Ditto with dog walking and lawn mowing during illness or new baby?

    Why is there no ward organized recipe sharing? My old church did a church wife cookbook with submissions from parishioners and then sold it as a fundraiser. When done with family pictures and a kickoff potluck, it really builds community.

    All these things would really help attract new visitors and members-especially if the acts were provided during the first yr of conversion process.

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  16. Kristine A on April 2, 2014 at 10:32 PM

    Well, when we asked the bishop he told us to plan it ourselves. So as Laurels we went back to the YW pres (his MIL) and she was against the idea. We told her we wanted to plan a water skiing activity and she told us she didn’t like the idea so if we wanted to do it we were on our own and she had no idea how to help us. We ran up against a few more walls until – defeated, we accepted our lot. Apparently I wasn’t as passionate back then as I am now . . .

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  17. Mormon Heretic on April 2, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    Who is George? I haven’t seen him comment here on this post (or on any post in the past.)

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  18. Douglas on April 3, 2014 at 12:40 AM

    YW and water-skiing…why not. I’ve raised “tomboys” and they didn’t turn out to be lesbians.

    If the YW are left behind, that’s unfortunate. While “equal” (more properly, “:equivalent”) in stature, teenaged boys ARE different than girls. I went to a recognition activity. Could I have done without it? Sure, but my 13 y.o. daughter (end of the line) couldn’t w/o yours truly to be supportive,and THAT I can’t do without. That’s when I heed “Skipper’s” directive – smile and wave, boys, smile and wave. Before I know it, this one is graduated and off to college, or maybe she does a mission at 19, and it’s “done”.

    Whatever opportunities arise to help YW, we PH holders gladly shoulder. Soon, once the last storm abates in the Sierra Nevada, it’s off to repair shelters and do other grunt work for girls camp. Would I gladly take a gaggle of Beehives (with one of their mothers to “chaperone”) up there and show them how to fix a roof? Sure, but if our YW ward and/or stake leaders deem it unfit for the girls to wield hammers, then we’ll forgo THAT teaching opportunity. Funny, that’d never be an issue with the Aaronic PH…

    Just as Fred Flinstone wanted the best for his little “Pebbles” (he ended up taking her to see “Bronto Crushrock” at the wrestling match b/c HIS little girl wasn’t going to be ‘discriminated’ against, LoL!), so likewise I want to make sure my youngest is no less adept at practical skills.

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  19. Hedgehog on April 3, 2014 at 1:10 AM

    #15, Perhaps I should cease to be amazed that there are those who think the youth, and especially the YW, should provide some kind of childcare or babysitting service to the ward.
    Firstly, in my own youth nothing would have chased me from the church faster – as the eldest of 7, and not fond of children, the last thing I’d have wanted was to be expected to look after other peoples children. Fine for those who enjoy it, but please don’t make it a requirement.
    Secondly, looking at the youth in Britain today, and my own children, they are overloaded with homework, and from 15/16-18/19 facing important public examinations for necessary qualifications every year. Then there’s seminary, their youth activity, and the part-time jobs some of them have. When are they going to be able to provide the sort of babysitting service you advocate? My son does manage his home teaching, but sometimes misses the youth activity. Believe me, everything has to be carefully calendered.

    Providing meals to the sick etc, recipe sharing are all things I have seen done in RS over the years.

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  20. Hedgehog on April 3, 2014 at 1:25 AM

    I enjoyed the post Andrew.

    Jeff, no doubt mileage varies, but in my current ward I have yet to see YW acknowledged when they ‘move’ classes (and given there is only actually one class anyway…), and the YW awards do not lend themselves to regular every two year acknowledgement – simply the way the programme is set up. Whereas the YM are acknowledged for Priesthood advancement, and every two year certificates for duty to God – if they’ve completed the relevant programme.
    Also – a YM *does* sit on the stand and act as messenger for the Bishop, and has done in the wards I’ve attended for at least 2 decades.

    Also Jeff, I think it does come off as passive aggressive when you insist on addressing Andrew with a name different to that posted on the blog, not to mention confusing for some.

    On the plus side Kristine, everyone in my ward gets padded chairs, and in many of the buildings I’ve visited here, with the recent round of furniture replacement. Very nice chairs they are too.

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  21. Jeff Spector on April 3, 2014 at 6:54 AM

    Hedge,

    Yes, every ward is different and in some cases, it is up to the YW leaders to point out to the Bishopric the importance of recognizing the YW for their achievements just like the YM. In our ward, it is the Bishop who insists on it. And the YM are only recognized for duty to God if they achieve it at the same time as their Priesthood advancement, other wise, their is no separate recognition.

    BTW, George is Andrew’s actual first name and for some reason, I used that in error, not sure why I kept doing that. I’ve been acquainted with him for a few years now. I apologize to him for that and corrected all my post. Nothing intended by it. My mistake.

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  22. Nate on April 3, 2014 at 8:44 AM

    In spite of my previous maligned post, these are all things I could get behind.

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  23. Jeff Spector on April 3, 2014 at 8:55 AM

    Hedge,

    “I have yet to see YW acknowledged when they ‘move’ classes (and given there is only actually one class anyway…), ”

    There is a certificate for it and we present one in Sacrament Meeting to each YW as they have those birthdays that move them to a new class.

    In our Ward, the High Priests hold their meeting in the choir seats, the Elders are in the gym with that plastic “bucket” seats…..

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  24. Jettboy on April 3, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    An ex-Mormon giving advice on how Mormons should do things? Please. That right there is why so many don’t trust the so-called OW movement. They claim “insider” status, but talk like and have the leadership of outsiders. I hear that the Community of Christ (formerly RLDS) has a great equality organization.

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  25. Howard on April 3, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Yes of course only the orthodox re permitted to have an opinion.

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  26. Andrew S on April 3, 2014 at 10:53 AM

    So, this is really happening.

    Look, I don’t care what members or the church say or do. I do not claim to be associated with Ordain Women precisely because I am not an active, believing member, and I think OW is best reserved for those who are.

    What I do think is this: if believing Mormons want to claim that their religion treats women and men equally (even if they believe that equality doesn’t equal sameness), then there is still work to be done to address inequalities without making everyone the same.

    Mormons can ultimately decide whether they actually care about equality or not. I know many religious traditions and religious adherents who openly recognize they don’t believe equality is what God is going for and that men should be considered superior to women. If Mormons want to be such a group, that’s fine, as long as people are open about that.

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  27. Ziff on April 3, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    “What I do think is this: if believing Mormons want to claim that their religion treats women and men equally (even if they believe that equality doesn’t equal sameness), then there is still work to be done to address inequalities without making everyone the same.”

    Well said, Andrew. I think there are probably a lot of people (Jettboy perhaps among them, but he can correct me if I’m wrong) who are perfectly happy not claiming that women and men are equal in the Church. The old school patriarchs rather than the new-fangled chicken patriarchs.

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  28. Jeff Spector on April 3, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    Here’s where I think the problem lies. Each side has its reasons for believing the way it does.Obviously, feeling pretty legitimate that it is standing on solid ground. In doing so, it dismisses, not as much with rational argument, but with name-calling, the beliefs of the other side, no matter how sincerely held and documented its beliefs are. And neither side is willing to give up an inch of its position when confronted by the other side’s “evidence.”

    More than likely, some example from the past will be used to malign one side or the other and the back and forth will continue. Never resolved, but with hard feelings on both sides.

    In all, contention is the fruit of the devil and he is more than happy to sponsor the result.

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  29. Angela C on April 3, 2014 at 12:57 PM

    People who benefit from the status quo fight to keep it. People who don’t benefit push to change it. Andrew S is a diplomatic outsider who sees both sides and proposes middle ground solutions. Those insiders who lurve the status quo may not like it, but I see it as a valuable part of the discussion.

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  30. Jeff Spector on April 3, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    Ang,

    You know I am not in the least arguing Andrew’s participation no matter his or anyone’s else status with Church. Some may have make that crack, but i am not one of those.

    “People who benefit from the status quo fight to keep it. ”

    It’s a pretty easy throwaway line to use and the opposite of that is also true. Those who want change seek to benefit from it. So, it is not a very helpful argument, IMO.

    There is no reason why each side cannot peaceably acknowledge the other’s held beliefs without belittlement, name-calling or throw up past acts as equivalents..

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  31. Andrew S on April 3, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    I don’t know who is throwing names or who is belittling. I will say this: if the church is a patriarchal or chauvinist organization and members believe this to be divinely inspired, then this is just a description of the divine order of things. Any sense of “belittlement” would be invalid as it comes from an “outsider” perspective.

    I just am wondering whether an inside Mormon perspective is necessarily patriarchal and chauvinist. I thought that even if one says, “OK, priesthood is off limits. Don’t want “sameness”,” one could still say, “But let’s address cultural, non-doctrinal, etc., issues.”

    But it seems that many folks disagree.

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  32. Howard on April 3, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    contention is the fruit of the devil This is a stupid saying. It really means you’ve lost control and gone emotional, irrational or personal with your argument, it doesn’t mean these things shouldn’t be discussed, debated or opposed!

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  33. Jeff Spector on April 3, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    Andrew,

    “one could still say, “But let’s address cultural, non-doctrinal, etc., issues.”

    Actually, that is wholly acceptable in my book because it does imply value judgement made on terminology that has a negative connotation when used like Patriarchal or chauvinistic.

    It does open the door to a rational discussion on what is cultural versus what may be doctrinal and part of the Gospel as given by Christ.

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  34. Jeff Spector on April 3, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    “This is a stupid saying.” Seriously, Howard is this the best you can add to the conversation?

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  35. hawkgrrrl on April 3, 2014 at 4:19 PM

    Jeff, I was actually directing my comment at Jettboy’s remark in #24 where he scoffs at Andrew S writing a post because he is no longer attending church.

    “It’s a pretty easy throwaway line to use and the opposite of that is also true. Those who want change seek to benefit from it. So, it is not a very helpful argument, IMO.” It’s not an argument. Just an observation. People seeking change should be aware of their bias as should people trying to retrench and maintain the status quo. We should know our biases. Those seeking change should be aware of the expense to those who are currently entitled by the existing system, and those who seek to retain their privileged status should be willing to bend to accommodate those who are currently hurt by the system. This is how we find common ground and actually solve problems. People who don’t bend at all are the extremes: those who demand whole-scale change that ends up throwing out the baby with the bathwater (I don’t see OW as doing that, personally) and those who say you should get out if you don’t like it exactly as it is now. Both those types of people are in the wrong, equally so IMO.

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  36. Andrew S. on April 3, 2014 at 4:28 PM

    Jeff,

    Patriarchal or chauvinistic only have a negative connotation from a framework that values equality. If your framework does not do this (for example, men ruling over women is theologically inspired), then it is not a negative.

    However, some folks don’t seem to want to have a discussion on what is doctrinal vs cultural. They would rather say I’m a faithless apostate and thus, the points I raise are faithless and apostate.

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  37. Jeff Spector on April 3, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    Andrew,

    “Patriarchal or chauvinistic only have a negative connotation from a framework that values equality. ”

    Please let’s not engage in word games here. Equality is as loaded a word as they others and is wide open to one’s interpretation. Those seek change, whether it is called equality or not, use those words in a negative way so, it becomes hard to engage in a conversation about them.

    “However, some folks don’t seem to want to have a discussion on what is doctrinal vs cultural. ”

    If they are it is out of fear. If you think your position is right or strong, then you should be willing to defend it.

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  38. Andrew S on April 3, 2014 at 5:24 PM

    re 37

    Jeff,

    Your statement is congruent with mine — equality also comes with a framework, and whether it is good or bad depends on your framework.

    Anyway, I’ll put off on word games if you will — you were the one who brought up connotations though. I agree with your final sentence. I thought the discussion would have some people pointing out why these changes can’t be made other than just saying that they are apostate changes from an apostate.

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  39. Kristine A on April 3, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    Here is where OW makes this conversation hard, because there is such blowback from their actions that everyone runs around yelling “this is just a few hundred women out of 15 million, who the freak cares? There aren’t any issues, just ignore them!”

    But here’s the thing, there are quite a lot of people in favor of female ordination who are NOT a part of OW (1,000+), there are also quite a lot of non-OW mofems who advocate for policy changes (10,000+), and there are quite a lot of non-mofems (100,000+) who would like cultural and policy changes made . . . then, you take the fact that 40% of members of record are active / self-identify as mormon, and even fewer % of those who attend the temple (what is it something like 20%?) and all of a sudden, the percentage of active temple attending members with issues or questions skyrockets. Especially if you want to consider the numbers of members of the 60% who left over any of these issues . . . .

    As a blogging moderate mormon feminist, this is my approach: to seek for respectful conversations that we can have about policy and cultural changes. I say over and over, I don’t have to have equality – we don’t have to have the same things, but we should be treated equitably.

    The issues start at age 8. My daughter goes to doll museums, paints rocks, and makes cookies. The boys have weekly meetings, monthly recognition time where whole families gather and room fulls of people come to clap over them learning to tie knots, and are prepared for their future (I’m serious, my husband does Webelos – the do a pretty good job of teaching the kids how to be good citizens, career exploration, learning how the community works, etc.). So give the guys and girls similar funding and structure of programs. Prepare them for the same future.

    I’d like the church to institute a church-wide policy of training on body image, modesty, consent, and sexual assault. I told my bishop the other week our culture is pretty messed up when getting a boob job is more acceptable than wearing a second pair of earrings.

    My bishop is a pretty open guy but he still thanks “the priesthood and excuses them to go back to their families” after the sacrament.

    Can we all agree that we never want to see this again in sacrament meeting: “I was told if I was obedient on my mission, I’d get a really hot wife when I got home — and it came true, I’m so lucky.” and then hear my congregation all laugh and see the wife beam with pride in all hew hawt glory . . .

    And seriously, why can’t I be a stake auditor? Financial clerk? In the Sunday School Presidency?

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  40. hawkgrrrl on April 3, 2014 at 6:21 PM

    “we don’t have to have the same things, but we should be treated equitably.” And I’ll add to it – make me feel like anybody actually gives a crap about the desires and interests of women like me who don’t fit the stereotype (and many of those who do fit it are faking, I swear). When every talk is aimed at some woman I am not and don’t want to be, it creates disengagement. Eventually, I’ll have to tune out and seek my own spiritual stuff. I’ll probably never leave because I prefer to go, but I’ll become one of the ones who stays in the seat but is mentally not there 90% of the time. Don’t we have enough walking dead in our wards?

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  41. Howard on April 3, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    …our culture is pretty messed up when getting a boob job is more acceptable than wearing a second pair of earrings…Don’t we have enough walking dead in our wards?

    Nice to hear the ladies revving up with a little truthful irony that make one both laugh and cry. How the hell did we get here if Jesus Christ manages this mess through TSM?

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  42. TheJenonator on April 3, 2014 at 9:42 PM

    Hedge thanks for the perspective on babysitting and teens busy schedules. My kids are very young and times have changed. I’d still like to see it made an option facilitated by the ward for people (not specifically YW).

    Everyone, while I am against OW, I now recognize many valid ideas for recognizing women more in wards.

    Thanks for all your comments and the discussion.

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  43. Douglas on April 4, 2014 at 1:48 AM

    #42 (and previous) Probably the objection is EXPECTING services like babysitting as an ENTITLEMENT…our YM and YW can find many ways to serve and both ought to be equivalently provided opportunity to do so.
    I’ve been putting in a fair amount of housework in between blog rants and in no way feel demeaned or put upon. If it eat (my dinner goes to “waist”), then I”m perfectly capable of cooking before and washing the dishes afterwards. The Kirby vac careth not whether my calloused hands or the softer, lithe hands of the lady of the house guides it.
    I’ve long taught my daughters practical mechanical skills same as their brothers, and just like mine Pop did to me, I taught my boys that it’s not unmanly to swing a mop or swab a commode. I’m no stranger to diaper changing, even with my latest granddaughter (nine days old and counting!) and another coming soon…
    One does find joy in serving, even if at times it seems like drudgery. It’s AFTER all that drudgery that you see (hopefully) the good fruits of your service.

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  44. […] week, I published my article, 3 Changes that Mormons Against Women’s Ordination Ought to Support. Now that General Conference has come and passed, I wanted to post a few responses to the post that […]

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  45. Stargazer on May 5, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    The YW participate in bldg maintenance, trash duty, chair putting away. My girls do it. There was some noise about “shouldn’t be doing that in Sunday dress” and that was quashed down promptly. My daughter is a 4th year for girls camp this year. She is doing some zip line and white water rafting thing which she is trying to get excited about. Honestly she would much rather tour an ancient history museum. They are all also rafting at regular camp, camping, and horseback riding. They have acknowledged every advancement by the girls, reorganization of class presidencies, and not only awards but acknowledging that they are moving from Beehive to Miamaid etc. My ward has done all these things for the almost 10 years we have been here, third bishop.

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  46. Jenonator on June 25, 2014 at 11:21 PM

    Julie m smith comment about how we praise boys each week for passing sacrament is silly to me. We don’t yell “good job” to them, we say “thank you”. It’s not praise. There’s a difference.

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