Elder Oaks Lights up the Bloggernacle

By: Mormon Heretic
April 7, 2014

Facebook was ablaze with comments about Elder Oaks General Conference talk on Saturday night.  Disappointed that the church website didn’t have a transcript, I created one so that we could better discuss what he actually said.  I decided to let that post stand on its own without any commentary.  But in this post, I will add my own commentary.

It does seem that the conversation regarding female ordination is changing a bit.  It seems that people are trying to legitimize the idea that women already have enough priesthood.  Now we have people like Fiona Givens telling us that men have the authority of the priesthood (and she defends male hegemony) but women have priesthood power.  She references a Conference talk of Elder Packer in 2010 in which he made a distinction between priesthood power versus priesthood authority.  She also believes that non-members can have priesthood power.  While that’s a great idea, it’s a far cry from D&C 13 where John the Baptist gives Joseph and Oliver the power to baptize, which the LDS Church claims is unique.  In the interview, she also admitted that even though women have had the power of the priesthood via the temple endowment for a long time, this isn’t common knowledge among all women.  (It also doesn’t explain how non-LDS get priesthood power.)

With Elder Oaks’ most recent conference address, he tries to go even further than Givens, saying that women actually hold authority AND power of the priesthood via they keys of the presiding authority.  On Saturday night, Oaks quoted President Joseph Fielding Smith:

President Smith explained, “the Lord has given to them this great organization where they have authority to serve under the direction of the bishops of the wards, looking after the interests of our people, both spiritually and temporally.” {emphasis added}

Oaks also said

When a woman, young or old, is set apart to preach the gospel as a full-time missionary, she is given priesthood authority to perform a priesthood function. The same is true when a woman is set apart to function as an officer or teacher in a church organization under the direction of one who holds the keys of the priesthood. Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds priesthood keys, exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties.

To me, Oaks is a stretching a long way to argue this point.  Once again, this is not the same power that was given to Joseph and Oliver in D&C 13.  Someone on Facebook noted,

Under his argument — i.e., that women already have “authority of the priesthood” when they teach and serve in the Church — a 4-year old giving his/her first talk in Primary also has “authority of the priesthood.” Just silly.

I’m sorry, but Oaks is not convincing.  Oaks continues the argument,

Thus, it is truly said that the Relief Society is not just a class for women, but something they belong to, a divinely established appendage to the priesthood.

I disagree, it often is just a class for women.  No woman that I know of has been ordained to the Relief Society by the laying on of hands as it states in the 5th Article of Faith, nor can they administer ordinances:

We believe that a man must be acalled of God, by bprophecy, and by the laying on of chands by those who are in dauthority, to epreach the Gospel and administer in the fordinances thereof.

There are no ordinances associated with the Relief Society.  You’re female and you’re 18, you’re in!  There is no ceremony, or sustaining vote as there are when men and boys obtain the priesthood.  Oaks argument here is without foundation.

Oaks also said two statements telling women to be quiet, yet speak up.

  1. “Whoever exercises priesthood authority should forget about their rights and concentrate on their responsibilities.”  (Isn’t he nicely telling Ordain Women to “shut up” and do their visiting teaching, service, and making casseroles?)
  2. Some years before the family proclamation, President Spencer W. Kimball gave this inspired explanation. “When we speak of marriage as a partnership, let us speak of marriage as a full partnership. We do not want our LDS women to be silent partners, or limited partners in that eternal assignment. Please be a contributing and full partner.”  (Here Oaks is quoting Kimball and telling women that it’s ok to be voice your opinion–and men should listen–but apparently women’s opinions should be limited to their personal family.  Otherwise, they should follow the admonition of Paul:  1 Cor 14:34 “Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak;”)

Then he seemingly makes statements without backing them up.

 The First Presidency, and the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, who preside over the church, are empowered to make many decisions affecting church policy and procedures. Matters such as the location of church buildings, and the ages for missionary service. But even though these presiding hold and exercise all of the keys delegated to men in this dispensation, they are not free to alter the divine decreed pattern that only men will hold offices in the priesthood.

Ok, I get it, you can’t make a change without revelation.  This is very much in line with President McKay’s feelings.  Have you actually sought revelation on the subject?  You didn’t reference a revelation or a scripture.  Have you even tried to seek revelation as President Kimball did?  Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t, but could you at least tell us “yes I have prayed, and God said “no”, or “not yet” or something like that?  Could you reference a scripture?  You are a prophet, seer, and revelator, aren’t you?  I sustained you as such in both my temple recommend interview, as well as when I raised my hand in the sustaining of church officers.  Come on and throw me a bone here.

Another thing that bugged me a little about his talk was right at the beginning.

 I once presided at the release of a young stake president who had given fine service for nine years and was now rejoicing in his release and in the new calling he and his wife had just received. They were called to be the nursery leaders in their ward. Only in this church would that be seen as equally honorable.

You’re kidding right?  Nobody believes what you just said.  I know you’d like to believe that, but nobody believes it, and I think the stake president didn’t believe it either.  But I have no doubt that he was excited to have less responsibility.

Sadly Oaks did go the priesthood/motherhood route.

“The greatest power God has given to His sons cannot be exercised without the companionship of one of his daughters, because only to his daughters has God given the power to be a creator of bodies so that God’s design and the great plan might meet fruition.” Those are the words of J. Reuben Clark. He continued, “This is the place of our wives and of our mothers in the eternal plan. They are not bearers of the priesthood, they are not charged with carrying out the duties and functions of the priesthood, nor are they laden with its responsibilities. They are builders and organizers under its power and partakers of its blessings, possessing the complement of the priesthood powers and possessing a function as divinely called, as eternally important in its place as the priesthood itself.”

I’m sorry.  Any crack whore can get pregnant via a drunk sperm donor.  Neither have the priesthood power, or authority, yet both are a father and a mother.  They don’t even have to be married.  It’s nice when an LDS couple get married in the temple under the power and authority of the priesthood, but this whole “women are mothers, men are priesthood holders” is a silly argument, and I don’t care if J Reuben Clark said it first.  Biology makes us mothers and fathers.  The crack whore and the drunk scum-dad don’t even have to be good parents.  They can abuse and kill the children, and they do.  Worthiness and ordination makes us priesthood holders.  Stop repeating that dumb platitude.  It should have died with J Reuben Clark.

Finally, here is one last thing:

Since these subjects are of equal concern to men and to women, I’m pleased that these proceedings are broadcast and published for all members of the church.

This sounds like making lemonade out of lemons.  If it weren’t for Ordain Women, I suspect this broadcast would still be privately broadcast to men only, and your remarks probably would have dealt with another subject.  Ordain Women seems to have influenced some notable changes  in the past year, but I’m sure some will pu-pu them.

  1. The males-only Priesthood broadcast was broadcast to all people live for the first time last October in reaction to Ordain Women asking for tickets to attend last October.
  2. Last Month, the LDS Church decided to add photos of female church leaders in the Conference Center for the first time.
  3. Women were allowed to pray in General Conference for the first time last year, and continue to do so.

While other groups have advocated for these changes, it’s hard to argue that Ordain Women isn’t making an impact.  The LDS Church is making baby steps in equality for women.  I’m not a member of Ordain Women, but I think they’re moving the conversation in the right direction.

As we look back at what happened in 1969, I fear that President Monson is acting like President McKay, President Packer is like President Lee, and President Uchtdorf seems like President Brown.  It may take a few prophets down the road to get female ordination.  I just hope that the brethren have someone like Kimball among current Quorum of the Twelve.  I eagerly look forward to either Official Declaration 3, or Section 139.  But I don’t have hope that Elder Oaks is the next President Kimball.  I’d probably put him in the Mark E. Peterson category.

One last thought:  In a Radio West interview a few months ago, Russell Stevenson (who also blogs at Rational Faiths) blamed church members as much as church leaders for the black ban.  He reasoned that church members wanted the ban.  It wasn’t removed until enough church members wanted the ban removed.  Well, count me as one of the church members who want the female ban removed.  I hope we can help inspire our leaders to ask if the time is now right to seek revelation on the issue.

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99 Responses to Elder Oaks Lights up the Bloggernacle

  1. Hedgehog on April 7, 2014 at 2:19 AM

    I like the analysis.

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  2. the narrator on April 7, 2014 at 6:04 AM

    Great job, except I don’t think the Oaks-Brown comparison is at all fair. IIRC, Brown was adamant that the ban was a policy that could and should have been removed immediately without revelation.

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  3. MB on April 7, 2014 at 6:43 AM

    once presided at the release of a young stake president who had given fine service for nine years and was now rejoicing in his release and in the new calling he and his wife had just received. They were called to be the nursery leaders in their ward. Only in this church would that be seen as equally honorable.
    You’re kidding right? Nobody believes what you just said. I know you’d like to believe that, but nobody believes it, and I think the stake president didn’t believe it either. “

    This is the crux of the issue. It is one of the main reasons why certain members of the two factions do not understand each other.

    I disagree with your belief that nobody believes this. It is a concept that is clearly taught in the New Testament. So I am convinced that there are thoughtful latter-day saints who believe it and live it.

    But as long as people do not agree on this point about whether or not all callings/responsibilities are equally honorable, their differences between their understanding of the issue will be hard to breach.

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  4. MB on April 7, 2014 at 6:48 AM

    “I once presided…..
    Dropped that first set of quotation marks.

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  5. Mormon Heretic on April 7, 2014 at 7:22 AM

    Narrator, I didn’t compare Oaks to Brown, I compared Oaks to Peterson.

    I compared Uchtdorf to Brown.

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  6. Mormon Heretic on April 7, 2014 at 7:25 AM

    MB, I take your word for it that you believe that way, but whether callings are equally admirable is really a side issue of the post.

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  7. Earl Parsons on April 7, 2014 at 7:47 AM

    Thanks for this analysis and for transcribing the talk!

    I think this talk illustrates how muddled our understanding of the priesthood really is. If Elder Oaks with his legal mind and oratory skills (and I admire both greatly) can’t present a coherent explanation of the priesthood, what hope do the rest of us have?

    My main question after reading his talk is this: Neither my wife or I currently hold any priesthood keys, but we both have priesthood authority (from receiving our endowments and having callings). If that’s the case, how come I can serve as the Sunday School president (or ward mission leader, executive secretary, bishop’s counselor, etc.) and she can’t?

    I also wish he would cite the scripture or revelation that restricts priesthood to men. Anytime the Whitmer boys had a question for Joseph Smith we got a section in the Doctrine and Covenants. This is something that effects millions of Mormon women, and we get nothing?

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  8. geewhiz on April 7, 2014 at 7:50 AM

    OW had nothing to do with women praying. Let Women Pray, a separate group, had everything to do with it. (Although I’m sure some will pu-pu that as well and claim Neylan McBaine or some other ‘moderate’ is responsible.) But OW definitely doesn’t claim they had anything to do with it.

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  9. Howard on April 7, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    Well reasoned and clearly articulated MH!

    It is simultaneously ironic, repressive and insulting that a man explains the place of females at a meeting that they are formally bared from attending and it is announced that their role is biological, mortal and therefore fallen while the male role is religious, spiritual and incharge. Females = mortal body creators! This view is so backward and demeaning it assumes no human growth since Adam! This view is far more fundamentalist than inspired.

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  10. the narrator on April 7, 2014 at 8:07 AM

    I obviously read this too early in the morning.

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  11. Mormon Heretic on April 7, 2014 at 8:08 AM

    Well, I’m glad to know you at least read it. :)

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  12. Kristine A on April 7, 2014 at 8:39 AM

    I like your analysis – there are obviously so many unanswered questions – and this was just a baby step forward (and some movement back). My question is, what can WE do next to move the conversation forward?

    I don’t know.

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  13. Andrew on April 7, 2014 at 8:40 AM

    Excellent summary Mormon Heretic. Many on my Facebook feed have called Elder Oak’s speech a “slam-dunk sermon.” What you’ve written here suggests otherwise.

    My biggest question after this talk: “So what’s the point of the Priesthood Executive Committee?” As we know, the PEC consists of the bishopric, ward clerk, executive secretary, high priests group leader, elders quorum president, ward mission leader, and Young Men president. In other words, all callings held by men.

    According to the church handbook, “The PEC meets regularly to consider priesthood matters.” But if, as Elder Oaks suggests, “Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds Priesthood keys, exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties,” then why is the Relief Society President, who must be called and set-apart specifically by the key-holding Bishop, only invited to attend PEC “as needed”? Isn’t she exercising priesthood authority as it relates to her calling? And why are the Primary and Young Women presidents, who are also called and set-apart specifically by the Bishop, not invited at all? The distinction between PEC and ward council has been blurred by this talk.

    If men are not the priesthood and priesthood authority can be exercised by women in their callings, as Oaks suggests, then why must “priesthood matters” be discussed in a meeting only for men, with just an occasional invite for the Relief Society president? It seems PEC has much more to do with whether a person is a man.

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  14. Ziff on April 7, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    I like your response, MH. Regarding the point about Elder Oaks telling women to shut up and speak up at the same time, your conclusion is entirely consistent with a talk he gave a few years ago where he talked about authority in the family and authority in the Church. On this point, I think he pretty much said that women can have authority in the family in the absence of a man, but they can’t in the Church.

    https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/two-lines-of-communication?lang=eng

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  15. Naismith on April 7, 2014 at 11:07 AM

    “The distinction between PEC and ward council has been blurred by this talk.”

    From what has been explained to me, PEC is a priesthood coordinating meeting for the various quorums of priesthood, who do similar things, and don’t want to step on each other’s toes or duplicate efforts. It’s the only time they get together. I don’t begrudge them that male-only time, as long as they don’t make decisions that affect everyone,in the ward which is what ward council is for. In my ward, Ward Council is twice a month, PEC only once a month.

    If a decision has to be made immediately due to an unforeseen emergency, that is when the RS president and whoever else is invited.

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  16. Pieface on April 7, 2014 at 11:09 AM

    For those who disagree that a stake president is viewed by most members as equally important as a nursery worker, why then when GAs and MPs are listed with their “resumes”, do we never read about any calling “smaller” than a bishop? If we truly believe a nursery worker is just as important, that will be right up there with their former leadership callings.

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  17. […] The assumption, of course, is that the Brethren haven’t taken the matter to the Lord in prayer. In finding fault with Elder Oak’s masterful sermon on the priesthood, one blogger going under the pseudonym “Mormon Heretic” questioned the apostle: […]

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  18. Ken on April 7, 2014 at 12:06 PM

    MH,

    I think Elder Oakes talk was excellent and take issue with you on several points:

    I too went from a leadership position to a primary worker and agree with his assessment. I think you are reinforcing his point, but don’t realize that you are. In the 121st section of the D&C, my favorite passage from any scripture was ‘as soon as men get a little authority AS THEY SUPPOSE….” In other words, they really aren’t in charge, GOD is, they are just a vessel.

    People are going after Oakes for his comments because they were direct, but really Nelson and Uchtdorf gave the most relevant messages on the subject. Do what you are asked to do with a happy heart (obey) and be grateful for the calling you are given and do it to the best of your ability.

    We are looking at this organization too much as a corporation rather than a church. I totally disagree with your assessment that OW are making an impact. I think the talks mentioned were a response to the movement and other entitlement attitudes that are plaguing our society – be grateful for the calling you have and do what you are asked without complaining or coveting others.

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  19. pieface on April 7, 2014 at 12:31 PM

    Surely OW can’t have made any difference with so many people talking about it and a talk about priesthood that goes into more detail on women’s part in it than any other talk ever given in the last 50 years.

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  20. MB on April 7, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    Pieface, #16.

    Not everyone believes that their “bigger callings” are equally important to their “smaller” ones. Nor does everyone believe that those more “ranked” callings are not the most interesting to readers.

    When someone is called to a “bigger” calling, they get sent a form to fill out for the Church media organization. Some newly called people list just those bigger callings. Others list all the callings and the writer chooses just to put in the “big” ones. Others just list “little” callings but the writer of the article or column in the rag ferrets the big ones out and puts them in anyway because that’s what they think readers want to know.

    I think your observation is very good. I also don’t think that the Lord particularly likes every article in the Church News or in the Ensign.

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  21. Fiona on April 7, 2014 at 2:18 PM

    Dear Mormon Heretic, As you have pulled me into this conversation, I do feel it incumbent upon me to comment on the allegation you have made concerning my “defense of male hegemony.” It is clear that you did not catch my drift in the John Dehlin podcast. I was merely saying that as the LDS church attempts to make inroads in male hegemonic social and political structures, it might behoove those championing male priesthood for women to re-examine their cause in light of the fact that the greatest service we can offer women around the globe is access to the endowment of priesthood power in the temple (in my opinion). It is hardly likely that women waving the banner of male priesthood authority will further that enterprise given the strength of male hegemony in many countries around the world. I would very much appreciate it if you could accurately disseminate my views on women and the priesthood and I, therefore, encourage you to read the following post I wrote recently: http://difficultrun.nathanielgivens.com/2014/01/20/a-companion-meet-for-male-priesthood/. I would be happy to answer questions or provide further clarification once you have read the post. Thank you:)

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  22. DavidH on April 7, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    I agree with Elder Oaks, and have thought for many years that if priesthood = God’s power and authority, then women have it and always have. What men have is a particular office in the church called a “priesthood office”. Many of the listed duties of those offices are already delegated to or performed by women–preaching, teaching, expounding, exhorting. I don’t see why there cannot be further delegation to women of any or all other thiings that are traditionally or historically assigned to the offices listed as priesthood offices. Why not a Council of 12 with 6 men who are ordained as “apostles” and 6 women who are not ordained as apostles, but have the same powers and authority as an apostle. Or change the name of the presiding officer of a ward to “presiding officer”, and require that if a man serves as the presiding officer, he must be ordained a bishop, but if a woman serves no such ordination is required, and she has all the same powers and authority.

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  23. hawkgrrrl on April 7, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    As pointed out in another excellent article, E. Oaks’ version of how women use the priesthood is somewhat consistent with the women-as-subservient-to-their-husband-gods model dished up in the temple. As her article posits, women in the church are likely to hear the “Adam” version of events as we sit in the endowment, generously overlooking the fact that women are not actually promised anything resembling exaltation (her article gives more hope than reality does). If that’s what is meant by women using the power of the priesthood through their husband’s priesthood, well, it doesn’t square neatly with the above talk, which refers to using priesthood authority other than one’s husband’s, and it also doesn’t make me want to go to the celestial kingdom which sounds a whole lot like nothing to crow about. Talk about relying on the arm of flesh and God being a respecter of persons. If this is how God sees women, God doesn’t see women. Daughters of God are nothing compared to Sons in the temple model. We are of an entirely different (and lower) class. http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2014/04/the-mormon-priestess-the-short-version/

    So, keep your priesthood ordination. Let’s get some clarity on theology that doesn’t bar me from exaltation by virtue of my sex. How about that for starters? If we can’t hope for equality and power based on our worthiness in the eternities, then why endure inequality and powerlessness now?

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  24. Mormon Heretic on April 7, 2014 at 4:02 PM

    Fiona, welcome!!! It’s great to have your input here–you have many valuable insights that I admire greatly.

    I read your link, but I don’t think it addressed “male hegemony.” Perhaps my paragraph synopsis above did not fully “catch the drift” of your previous comments with John Dehlin, but I think I did “catch your drift.” You said to John (and feel free to check the transcript at http://www.wheatandtares.org/13989/defending-male-hegemony/

    Many of the countries in which we hope to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ have a very fixed social and political male hegemony, and I’m not sure how successful our ability to aid women in those countries priesthood power which I found in the temple, which is accessible to all. If sister missionaries are coming into those countries, most of them are primarily Muslim, waving the banner of priesthood authority, and right now I understand there are a lot of African men joining the church because of this hierarchical power, and I think if we were to come in and destabilize that then we would prevent out sisters around the glove from accessing the ordinances and the power, the priesthood power that is only to be found int he temple. I would hesitate now. For me the most important thing for our women around the world is to be able to access priesthood power, and that may be through the paradigm, ironically enough, or male hegemony. If their husbands join the church, it is likely that they will also receive the ordinance of baptism and then be able to go further and receive the priesthood power in the temple. So that’s where I am, this is where I am on the issue.”

    As I said on that previous link, I think you have an interesting point of view, and it is an interesting paradox, but I have some problems with your reasoning. For one, it privileges “male hegemony” as God-sanctioned, and while I think that God does work in mysterious ways, I think there are some ethical problems with this.

    If we look at a parallel example of blacks and the priesthood, Church leaders had a similar problem. Missionary work was going well in apartheid South Africa. The reasoning went that if we allowed blacks to hold the priesthood, then missionary work in South Africa would suffer. While I have no doubt that such reasoning is correct, this type of reasoning seems to ignore the fact that missionary work in the rest of Africa would accelerate. In the 1960s, blacks in Nigeria asked President McKay for missionaries. There were black congregations introduced to the Book of Mormon and wanted to join. Pres McKay didn’t want to offend the South Africans, and it turns out that a civil war in Nigeria would have caused problems in Nigeria anyway, so the misguided restrictions remained in place. Now that the ban has been rescinded, baptisms in Africa have ballooned, and we now have temples there. Not only that, but apartheid has been abolished in South Africa. So, catering to the racists in South Africa actually weakened the spread of the gospel. It is for this reason that I find your reasoning about catering to “male hegemony” questionable.

    On the one hand, I do agree with you that perhaps there is an unintended consequence of getting Mormonism into Muslim countries that could be less open to the Mormon message. But such catering to sexist Muslim societies seems to ignore that many feminists of Europe, the United States, and elsewhere would be more open to the Church. In essence, we’re privileging sexist societies over non-sexist societies. It could very well be the case that the current crop of millennials are abandoning Mormonism (and religion in general) for atheism precisely because they find male hegemony a problem. (They’re abandoning the temple as well, and I know you think that temple worship is a very important aspect of female priesthood.)

    So that’s why I said that you are “defending male hegemony”. At first glance, I can see why you might not like that characterization, but if you read my other post, I hope you can see that I did catch your drift. Male hegemony is the ticket to bringing the gospel to sexist societies.

    I find huge ethical problems with what you are saying here. Yes, there are always opportunity costs, but perhaps if Mormons had embraced female priesthood as the CoC did 30 years ago, then perhaps we wouldn’t be having the exodus to atheism today.

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  25. Ken on April 7, 2014 at 4:58 PM

    There is cleary a lot of emotion on this issue from some of the female bloggers and it is definitely a situation where I would rather be kind than right. Personally, if women were in a position of leadership over me in the church, I would have absolutely no problem with that. I can think of several women in my ward that would make awesome bishops. If that revelation comes, I would welcome it with glee. For now, I accept the status quo with gratitude.

     Along with what Elder Oakes was saying, I think (I Know) leadership in the church is WAY over rated. Think about it — It pays nothing. It takes you away from your family (at least 20 hours per week) and golf and working out at the gym, etc.. You are dealing with gut wrenching challenges of OTHER people – divorce, child abuse, drug and pornography addiction, emotional abuse, mental abuse, unemployment, gossip and a whole host of other challenges. And, you get calls in the middle of the night because someone needs a key to the library (seriously).

    I guess I am of the adage, be careful what you ask for as you just might get it…

     

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  26. Mormon Heretic on April 7, 2014 at 5:02 PM

    I think there are some great questions here.

    #7, Anytime the Whitmer boys had a question for Joseph Smith we got a section in the Doctrine and Covenants. This is something that effects millions of Mormon women, and we get nothing?

    I think this is a huge problem. As has been mentioned in previous posts, David O. McKay was the first to request being called “prophet” rather than “president.” If we sustain the Twelve as “prophets, seers, and revelators”, then they should prophesy, see, and revelate. In the last 124 years we’ve had OD1 and OD2. Why should I sustain the Twelve as prophets, seers, and revelators when they’ve produced (a measly 2 revelations, neither fully canonized, in more than a century. As Earl said, it didn’t take nearly as much for the Whitmers to get a revelation out of Joseph.

    Today, we get a bunch of status quo messages “God made it that way.” Revelate. Prophesy. See. Your people are praying for guidance, and you’re not giving it. You tell us that the people weren’t righteous enough, but we’re praying for more revelation and guidance. Joseph got a tongue-lashing with some of his revelations when he asked. Give us a God-induced tongue lashing if we’re asking for the wrong thing. “Thus saith the Lord. I am displeased with my people for having women seek the priesthood. It is not ordained of God. And if my people persist in their evil ways, they will be visited with plagues, whirlwinds, and destructions.” At least we would know.

    #12, “what can WE do next to move the conversation forward?”

    I think we should not only petition God to reveal his will to the Twelve, but petition the Brethren to seek his will. I’d be much happier with OD3 that said, “God says that women should not have the priesthood” than they mysterious logic that has been applied so far. I know that they Brethren don’t like to be pushed, but the Parable of the Unjust Judge comes to mind. Even the Unjust Judge gives in if badgered enough. God gave in to Abraham to find 10 righteous souls. God gave in to the Israelites seeking a king. God gave in to the Brother of Jared that he saw his finger.

    But maybe I’m wrong. I’ve never claimed that God speaks to me on behalf of the church.

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  27. Nate on April 7, 2014 at 5:32 PM

    MH, why should the brethren trouble the Lord about whether they should give women the priesthood, when our women by and large, don’t seem at all interested in it?

    Samuel in the Bible only asked God if the people could have a king after the people cried out with one voice that they wanted a king. Then God granted their request. Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find.

    The policy with regards to blacks could be interpreted the same way. It wasn’t until large majorities of membership, including leadership were for it, that it became something that was deemed necessary to take to the Lord.

    The Lord can be somewhat democratic in this way. He grants us according to our desires. He grants the church according to their desires, their needs, their cultural understandings.

    Perhaps if women are going to get the priesthood, I think they first must desire it. But they don’t, apart from a small minority.

    OW women understands this in a way, because they want to try and start proselytizing their view to the general membership. That is really the only way forward for them.

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  28. Rigel Hawthorne on April 7, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    I came away from the Oaks talk even wondering why the Priesthood Session should be called the Priesthood session. As the Women’s General Meeting is all about women exercising priesthood power, it is also a Priesthood Session. So lets call the meetings what they are: either Men’s General Meeting and Women’s General Meeting or Men’s Priesthood Session and Women’s Priesthood Session. Most mission and zone conferences are mixed Elder and Sister business and are not split into a “zone conference” for the men and a “women’s missionary meeting” for the women. It is a zone conference for all of the missionaries–male and female. I’m not saying there is not a value for having gender specific meetings because I do feel touched in Priesthood meeting to improve my life and do better in a way that is focused and unique. I have never been to a General Women’s meeting, so I can’t say whether there is a value that women take away from those meetings that is comparable to the value that I take away from the Men’s meeting.

    Here is a quote I found interesting: “such as the work that our sisters do in the House of the Lord. They have authority given unto them to do some great and wonderful things, sacred unto the Lord, and binding just as thoroughly as are the blessings that are given by men who hold the priesthood.”

    This almost speaks directly to a question I raised on a BCC post that took place before conference. I just would like a little more detail on the theology of that authority binding those great and wonderful things. Would then the blessing administered by Nauvoo era sisters be binding just as thoroughly as the blessings given by men because the Joseph Smith, as the presiding High Priest vouched for that authority with the Lord?

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  29. Howard on April 7, 2014 at 5:51 PM

    Indeed we have 15 living prophets, seers, and revelators who DON’T! But the gospel and the priesthood was restored by one who did! Today it’s apparently an honorary title. The (so called) faithful try to defend this by implying or spinning that it goes on today we just don’t know about it. But by definition that’s impossible because the job of a revelator is to reveal so if it were going on we would know it!

    Both OD1 & 2 fall far short of “thus saith the Lord revelation qualifying as group inspiration at best. Group inspiration isn’t dialog. It basically amounts to the brethren conceiving of and asking a yes or no question so it is largely limited to their creativity rather than God’s! While Joseph’s dialogs with God amount to a conversation providing soooo much more information. Revelation is more God than man, inspiration is more man than God and group inspiration is more men than God!

    This is the single biggest problem the church faces!!! And it accounts for the church having been led astray with the ban on blacks and given that it took place it strongly suggests that we may have been led astray on other issues as well. So why not this issue?

    Is Elder Oaks claiming revelation with this explanation? No. Is Is Elder Oaks authorized to receive revelation on this issue for the church? No.

    Jesus Christ was progressive and inclusive and he was not pleased with the Pharisees so how is it possible for today’s church to be led by Jesus Christ yet it is a pharisaical conservative organization that excludes? Did Jesus reverse his politics postmortem?

    Moses was a great Prophet, Seer, and Revelator who made himself available to listen and provide revelatory services for the daughters of Zelophehad without taking offense or pushing back with his Public Relations or Security Departments. He simply asked God and reported back with God’s answer. I think part of the problem here is that it isn’t so simple for TSM (and Co.) to ask and the rest of the problem is they don’t want to!

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  30. Howard on April 7, 2014 at 6:02 PM

    …why should the brethren trouble the Lord about whether they should give women the priesthood, when our women by and large, don’t seem at all interested in it? …He grants us according to our desires…Perhaps if women are going to get the priesthood, I think they first must desire it. But they don’t, apart from a small minority.

    I think this can be solved rather easily, women like choices, make female ordination voluntary. Isn’t it time we moved beyond one-size -fits-all rules?

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  31. hawkgrrrl on April 7, 2014 at 6:18 PM

    Nate: “MH, why should the brethren trouble the Lord about whether they should give women the priesthood, when our women by and large, don’t seem at all interested in it?” Our grown women mostly aren’t, but our young women are asking why they don’t get to do all the cool things the boys do. They aren’t restricted in these ways in school, higher education or the workplace. Not anymore. It’s fine. Let’s not ask. They will simply quit the church when they turn 18. I suppose that’s what’s wanted.

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  32. Ms. Jack on April 7, 2014 at 8:19 PM

    The latest reason why “men have priesthood, women have childbirth” annoys me:

    Because men DO participate in childbirth. Quite intimately. And I’m not just talking about conceiving the damn kid.

    Mormon women tell me often enough that they would never want the priesthood because they feel like that would detract from something special that belongs to the men. They don’t even want to participate in ancillary ways, like holding their babies while they’re blessed and named or witnessing at baptisms. We have childbirth, they tell me, so let the men have something.

    Following that logic, my husband should not have been allowed to cut the umbilical cord at my son’s birth in September, because his male participation detracted from my feminine experience of the birth.

    And I shouldn’t have selected a male doctor to administer my prenatal care and deliver my baby, because his male participation detracted from my feminine experience of the birth.

    I shouldn’t have consented to a Pitocin induction on account of my pre-eclampsia, because Pitocin was discovered and developed by men, and their male participation detracted from my feminine experience of the birth.

    I shouldn’t have allowed for continuous electronic fetal monitoring, because the electronic fetal monitor was invented by and developed by men, and their male participation detracted from my feminine experience of the birth.

    I shouldn’t have consented to a vacuum extraction when my macrosomic, posterior baby had non-reassuring heart tones, because the ventouse was invented and developed by male doctors, and their male participation detracted from my feminine experience of the birth.

    The doctors told the cesarean team to get ready when I was hovering on a “failed vacuum” diagnosis. Cesareans: also developed by and made safe by male doctors.

    Almost every part of my prenatal care, labor, and delivery was saturated by the participation of men. So if you aren’t going to likewise saturate priesthood activity with the participation of women, then it’s time to dispose of the ill-fated abortion of logic that is “priesthood-motherhood” and move on to the next lame excuse for not ordaining women.

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  33. Kristine A on April 7, 2014 at 8:48 PM

    MH, I believe in continuing to ask questions and agitating. I guess I’m just concerned about the long term view . . . I want to see revelations in theology, as hawkgrrrl requested, as well as small and simple low hanging fruit.

    I think that our emotional response to what happened this weekend will prove if our culture and fellow members are willing to listen to us or if they further alienate us. Regardless if we didn’t like the answer or messages we received — there were a LOT of messages given this weekend that have great advice for dealing with this issue if it is our trial. I think we should also publicly be grateful for the words of our leaders that were shared that helped us – I know I had prayers answered and promptings I received that will help me share my message of Mormon Feminism . . .

    It is going a long way for them to hear my gratitude for messages shared . . . .

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  34. Emily U on April 7, 2014 at 9:27 PM

    I was very troubled by Fiona’s comments in the podcast quoted above. She seemed to be saying that men in developing countries join the church *because* they are attracted to the all-male hierarchy of the Church. Which I find hard to believe. I think men, wherever they live, would join because of the gospel of Christ, not because it provides an opportunity to dominate women. And anyone who would join because it provided that opportunity, well, I wouldn’t want to be in their ward.

    Fiona, if you are still reading, is that what you are saying? Because I can’t think of what else to conclude from your words. And frankly, they sounded patronizing toward men in developing countries.

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  35. hawkgrrrl on April 7, 2014 at 10:15 PM

    Emily U: I can’t speak for Fiona, but in my experience in Spain as a missionary, I would agree with the assessment that men who are used to a machismo culture would struggle if there is not a male dominated culture within the church. The church has to somehow “replace” the secular version of that they have with a more service-oriented leadership model. When they convert, they leave their secular version which is usually hanging out in a bar all evening every evening playing games and drinking with their male friends as non-Mormons. The church’s version is infinitely superior at creating human being who don’t suck (or beat their wives or gamble), but it’s certainly not ideal.

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  36. Mormon Heretic on April 7, 2014 at 10:25 PM

    “I think we should also publicly be grateful for the words of our leaders that were shared that helped us.”

    You’re right Kristine. There were many words to be grateful for. I’ll leave this as an open invitation to you, Ken, MB, Frank, or anyone else to write a guest post on a positive topic from General Conference to provide balance to my post. If you have an idea, just email me at mormon heretic at gmail dot com. I’d be glad to give you a platform. Certainly there were many good things said this weekend, and we can all use these words of encouragement.

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  37. Emily U on April 7, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    Hmmm. There are a lot of things people may struggle with when joining the church, would a lack of male domination be so challenging as to be the deal breaker for so many men? Also, I’d like to know if baptism rates for men are lower in areas where the level of sexism in the church (if that could be measured) is less than that of the dominant culture.

    I hope we don’t have to wait for the whole world to turn from male hegemony before the Church will reconsider its culture and doctrine of male privilege. Can the church for once lead, rather than trail the moral arc of the universe?

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  38. hawkgrrrl on April 8, 2014 at 12:35 AM

    Emily U: There was a lot of recidivism in Spain due to this issue – not measured but anecdotal. It’s definitely hard for men to give up all their male friendships for domesticated versions. But yes, that’s a better model. I don’t think we should stoop to conquer either. But I did observe that issue.

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  39. Kristine A on April 8, 2014 at 8:13 AM

    also: if stake president and nursery callings are equally honorable, in theory – but in practice why does only one of the callings get published and honored and publicized in the Church News? Obviously it’s not practical to do so with nursery, it would be ridiculous. So why do they do it for the other callings and give the short bios? Why is it more important? They could choose just not to announce it church-wide, and it wouldn’t make a difference in the Gospel. There IS a reason why they do it. Why are new mission president callings released from the Church News (shouted from the newstops)? There most certainly is a higher level of honor given to the “higher” callings in the church; and at times I feel it borderline GA worship . . . so there’s that.

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  40. We're Listening on April 8, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    New mission president callings: because there are hundreds of family members of missionaries and thousands of local members who are really interested in finding out about. who they are going to be working with for the next three years. We just got a new one out here last July and getting some information about him and his wife ahead of time was helpful.

    Why they do the list of previous callings: see #20.

    And yeah, there is borderline GA worship in our church which is not healthy for us and unhelpful for them. It is another version of the celebrity worship that permeates our culture.

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  41. MB on April 8, 2014 at 8:46 AM

    Mormon Heretic,
    I’ll consider the invitation. I’ve got deadlines for other projects looming that will preclude a quick response so it may be a while.

    And of course it’s a challenge. Writing about what’s good is always harder for me than criticizing what needs fixing.

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  42. Howard on April 8, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    And yeah, there is borderline GA worship in our church… What’s borderline about it?

    When I visited the Conference Center I made a point of getting as close to the podium as possible and I got pretty close! I was directly in front of it. From that POV it becomes apparent that the entire building was designed around one main goal – to facilitate 21,000 pair of eyes being focused on the person standing there live and to carry the broadcast to millions!

    These guys are private jeted, body guarded (Mormon) celebrities and they do little to downplay it. The image is subtly but carefully and deliberately crafted. Even as they “humbly” compare their callings to the nursery calling held by sweet sister Smith, supreme court attorney Prophet, Seer, and Revelator Elder Oaks is laying out with authority and certitude for the church in a televised conference viewed by millions that they (Q15) are the deciders, not you! And women are for making bodies while men run the show so stop worrying about your rights and take care of your responsibilities instead. And the TBM heads nod in agreement grateful to hear God will on this matter.

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  43. KT on April 8, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    “I’m sorry. Any crack whore can get pregnant via a drunk sperm donor. Neither have the priesthood power, or authority, yet both are a father and a mother. They don’t even have to be married . . . Biology makes us mothers and fathers.”
    Hahahaha! Yes, exactly! Biology and procreation make fathers and mothers of us – the rest is called PARENTING, and both fathers and mothers are equally capable, and most would argue, should be equally involved.

    @MB
    On disagreeing with the ‘step down’ in calling status……
    “I disagree with your belief that nobody believes this. It is a concept that is clearly taught in the New Testament. So I am convinced that there are thoughtful latter-day saints who believe it and live it.”
    When one gets a high enough ‘leadership’ calling in the church, one starts getting financial benefits, and can make a career out if it so to speak. Also, it often seems that many of the same few in each ward get called to the ‘higher’ ward and stake level callings, and I haven’t known many of those to be the ‘blue caller’ trades type workers, so there must be something to it.

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  44. Naismith on April 8, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    If they are “private jeted” then why was Elder Nelson on a plane with a screaming woman?

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  45. Howard on April 8, 2014 at 10:56 AM

    then why was Elder Nelson on a plane with a screaming It may have been before the Huntsman jet was made available to them or perhaps it was busy elsewhere that day.

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  46. taxtrustsestates on April 8, 2014 at 12:07 PM

    Elder Oak’s talk was instructive and helpful notwithstanding the heretic’s comments.

    1) Heretic does not come at this with any faith that this is the Lord’s church or that there are modern day apostles and prophets. Heretic does not believe and is only critical and destructive. This perspective does not promote any “good thing” that I can see. The prophet is not accountable to you or any other person with respect to whether the Lord has been petitioned on the subject. However, we do know that the Lord was petitioned by the prophets for many decades with respect to the blacks in the priesthood. If it is an important matter to the Lord–do you not think that his prophet would be inspired to petition the Lord? I think you should exercise some faith and be a bit more believing.

    2) Currently, there is a narrow delegation of authority to administer ordinances in the temple. I suppose the Lord could change this. If he changes this through revelation, then I will be on board, but will you be on board–or will you just find another cause?

    3) The 12 apostles were male because the Lord organized his church in this manner. Why did the savior of the world do this? Are you accepting of this–or do you have a problem with it? The church today is organized in the same patriarchal system–is this a problem for you?

    4) DC 109: 22 states:” and we ask thee, Holy Father, that thy servants may go forth from this house armed with thy power, and that thy name may be upon them, and thy glory be round about them, and thine angels have charge over them;”

    What power is granted in the temple to women? Priesthood power of course! Elder Oaks did a great job clarifying this. The Relief Society itself has priesthood authority as do sister missionaries (who are endowed by the way). I could say more here but if you read the talk–he gives many more examples.

    5) The church has made many changes in policy and will need to continue to make changes–and yes women should be bringing issues to the attention of their leaders–even with respect to the temple.

    6) .

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  47. Mormon Heretic on April 8, 2014 at 12:41 PM

    1) Heretic does not come at this with any faith that this is the Lord’s church or that there are modern day apostles and prophets.”

    Who the hell are you to tell me what my faith is? You are 100% wrong.

    “Heretic does not believe and is only critical and destructive. “

    Heretic DOES believe. Yes I am critical, but this is not destructive, but constructive criticism. It is because I believe that I make my opinion known.

    This perspective does not promote any “good thing” that I can see.

    I can support that statement, because you are talking about yourself now. Stick to yourself, because you have mischaracterized me quite well, thank you.

    The prophet is not accountable to you or any other person with respect to whether the Lord has been petitioned on the subject.

    Of course the prophet is accountable to us all. If he starts building $2million mansions (like recently happened in the Catholic church), we’re supposed to just assume this is God’s will? I’m sorry, but we are all a part of this church.

    However, we do know that the Lord was petitioned by the prophets for many decades with respect to the blacks in the priesthood.

    How do we know this? Mainly because of heretics like Michael Quinn and Greg Prince. Otherwise, they would still be just as unaccountable. Certainly McKay and Kimball kept these discussions mum. It would be nice if they were a little more open.

    If it is an important matter to the Lord–do you not think that his prophet would be inspired to petition the Lord?

    Unlike you, I don’t like to assume anything. I’d like them to be straightforward and tell us. You know what happens when people assume things, right? I think you’ve already made lots of stupid assumptions about me that are 100% wrong.

    I think you should exercise some faith and be a bit more believing.

    I think you should stop reading my mind and assuming incorrect things. I won’t break down the rest of your comment, but I could. This is mind-blowingly bad.

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  48. Fiona on April 8, 2014 at 12:42 PM

    Hi! Emily. I think it would have been helpful for MH to have transcribed everything I said on the topic. I, therefore, suggest you listen to the John Dehlin podcast yourself. Many countries around the globe, including those in Africa, have a male hegemony in place either culturally,socially, politically or all of the above (except with the possible exception of Ghana, where a female hegemony is in place). Raised in that type of environment it would be natural for men to be drawn to the hierarchical structure of any church (Mormonism is not the only hierarchically structured church). It is virtually impossible, in those countries, to advocate successfully for women’s social, cultural or political empowerment as Kate Kelly herself has experienced. However, the LDS church is in a position to use those ingrained male hegemonic structures to facilitate women’s access to the sacraments–baptism and confirmation and then to the Temple sacraments, including the endowment of priesthood power, which at the end of the day, will help facilitate a gradual move away from the prevailing male hegemonic structures in those countries, starting with those families in which priesthood power and authority is shared by husband and wife. As you said “stooping to conquer” must be avoided because of how destructive it is. Section 121 is one of my favourite scriptures in this regard. I do hope you now have a better understanding of where I am coming from.

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  49. Mormon Heretic on April 8, 2014 at 12:52 PM

    Fiona, I’d love to transcribe the whole podcast. Elder Oaks 16 minute talk took me about 2 hours. Your 2 hour talk with John Dehlin would take considerably longer. You don’t seem to be backing away from the statement I quoted, so I don’t think I am taking it out of context. I still think you are privileging sexist societies over non-sexist societies. Do you understand why I see that as problematic?

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  50. Mormon Heretic on April 8, 2014 at 1:01 PM

    Howard, while you and I see very similarly on this issue, I do think the “Huntsman jet” is a bit of a low blow. For one, if we have 15 leaders, they can’t all take the Huntsman jet to 15 locations. It is 1 jet, not 15 after all. I doubt that Pres Monson is jetting to Aruba for a vacation, so I find your characterization specious, and detracting from the conversation.

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  51. Fiona on April 8, 2014 at 1:03 PM

    MH’s comment in post 47 is quite striking “you have mischaracterized me quite well, thank you.” Thank you, MH, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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  52. Mormon Heretic on April 8, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    Fiona, I addressed where I was mischaracterized. Where did I mischaracterize your statements?

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  53. Fiona on April 8, 2014 at 1:07 PM

    Actually, MH, I was on the podcast with Neylan McBaine, Margaret Young and Maxine Hanks, who all had thoughtful, insightful things to say. My remarks don’t take up the entire two hours. Did you not listen to the podcast?

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  54. Mormon Heretic on April 8, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    Ok Fiona, I will transcribe the whole podcast, but it may take a week or two, so I invite you to come back for that. I will post it here and on my blog. Are you willing to tell me either (1) where I mischaracterized you, or (2) do you see why I find your reasoning problematic?

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  55. Fiona on April 8, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    MH:I wrote you quite a long response in reply to your mischaracterization of me as a proponent of male hegemony. Did you not read it? For the record, I’m not a supporter of female hegemony either. Full male and female collaboration–that’s my drift, which you can find fleshed out in my post on Difficult Run entitled “Society meet for Male Priesthood,” should you care to read it. It would be helpful if you approached the article without your mis-perception of my position. Perhaps if you pretend someone else wrote the article, I think you may very well enjoy it. I’m not being sarcastic but, as it is clear you don’t know me or my positions, I thought it might be helpful to emphasise that. Here’s the link again:

    http://difficultrun.nathanielgivens.com/2014/01/20/a-companion-meet-for-male-priesthood/

    Enjoy your day, Fiona

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  56. Fiona on April 8, 2014 at 1:43 PM

    MH: If you’d spent any time in Africa you would recognise that it is your reasoning that is problematic not mine. I am African. I was born there and spent the formative years of my life there.

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  57. Emily U on April 8, 2014 at 1:48 PM

    Thanks for your reply, Fiona. I listened to the whole Mormon Stories podcast with you, Neylan, Margaret, and Maxine when it first came out. You’re all so thoughtful and articulate, each with her own unique views . But I must say I see ordination differently overall (not surprising, I have an OW profile), and I don’t think MH is mistaken when she says your view of male hegemony privileges male-centric cultures over more egalitarian cultures. Perhaps there could be legitimate reasons for that privilege,as you say bringing saving ordinances to families, but it’s definitely there.

    Is it really impossible to advocate successfully for women’s social, cultural or political empowerment in certain societies? What a horribly bleak thought.

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  58. Emily U on April 8, 2014 at 1:56 PM

    Let me clarify – “your view of male hegemony” meaning the view that (if I understand correctly) male hegemony currently poses an impenetrable barrier to women’s ordination and greater egalitarianism in general because a male-dominated culture is *necessary* for men who come from societies where male hegemony prevails to accept the Church. Thus, the Church should stay it’s hand in moving toward egalitarian priesthood and egalitarian leadership because increased egalitarianism comes at the cost of certain men and their families joining the Church.

    I do not understand your comments to mean that you favor male hegemony.

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  59. Howard on April 8, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    MH: Well the 1996 offer was for regular use of the aircraft by the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. But yes of course you’re right, there are 15 of them and only one jet.

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  60. Nathaniel Givens on April 8, 2014 at 4:22 PM

    The claim that Fiona supports male hegemony based on the partial transcript is incorrect. It is clear (both in the context of her original statement and also based on her statements here) that what she is actually proposing is not support of existing male-hegemony, but rather a Trojan Horse approach that will ultimately lead to an attack on male hegemony. This is the quote I’m referring to (with some added emphasis):

    However, the LDS church is in a position to use those ingrained male hegemonic structures to facilitate women’s access to the sacraments–baptism and confirmation and then to the Temple sacraments, including the endowment of priesthood power, which at the end of the day, will help facilitate a gradual move away from the prevailing male hegemonic structures in those countries, starting with those families in which priesthood power and authority is shared by husband and wife.

    If Fiona’s proposal undermines male-hegemony, what’s the basis for claiming that she is a supporter of male hegemony? Based on these comments: there isn’t one. What we have here is a difference in tactics rather than objectives.

    (Of course you could argue that anyone who fails to support female-ordination is supporting male-hegemony, but that’s a completely different argument that has literally nothing to do with the statements in question here.)

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  61. hawkgrrrl on April 8, 2014 at 5:03 PM

    Nathaniel & Fiona: Thanks for the additional clarification. I know MH is interested in providing a more clear analysis of this view in an upcoming post. I actually think the church’s missionary efforts, at least those I used in Spain, are consistent with the “Trojan Horse” idea, although there sure is a lot of recidivism when those cultures of machismo are deeply ingrained. It is incredibly important to men to be men in these countries, and for women to be in a separate space from their masculine, manly space. To me, it felt as though they had marked their territory the way a male cat does. And yet, those of us who aren’t invested in their macho culture can easily see that they’ve replaced gambling in a smoke-filled bar with milquetoast pursuits like home teaching and taking boys fishing. I’ve often wondered if the sexist language (meaning “preside” + gender role prescription) in the PoF is a nod to those members and prospective members living in less progressive cultures. After all, where is the church growing? Again, as a Trojan Horse it kind of works. But those of us living in the socially progressive US often feel that it’s behind the times; it is for the US.

    Even in the case of gay marriage, I was talking to my former HR person, a Bangladeshi living in Australia, about how exciting it was to see how open the US was becoming for gay people to marry and to be protected under the law, especially noteworthy as I had just returned to the US from Singapore where male homosexuality is still technically illegal. While he, as an HR person, was supportive of gay rights in general, he also shook his head and said Australia was at least ten years off, and that Australians were looking at the US in many cases and thinking how radical we are. The world doesn’t proceed at the same pace on social issues.

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  62. Douglas on April 8, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    Hawk, insightful comentary re: missionary experiences in “La Espana” and social challenges that male converts face (e.g., assuming responsiblity and not spending “free” time in “play”).

    That’s just it. Those that somehow presume to tell the Lord that He should ordain women. He’ll decide “yea” or “nay” IAW His wishes, not mine or yours, and won’t feel the need to explain Himself either way, (see D&C 1:38) IAW YOURs, or Heretic’s, or any other blogger with a similar position societal values. The benefits to men assuming the PH roles are obvious. For most, it’s to be a leader in the home, first and foremost, and most often in a “lead from the front” position…which in the military sense, means you’re the one that gets sniped at! For most of we PH holders, it’s frankly a LOT of “drudgery”…but do we mind? Well, I can only speak for myself attitude-wise, but it’s that I put up with said “drudgery” with the idea that I’m rendering SERVICE, which is what the PH is primarily about in the first place. And as “TaxTrust” above so well pointed out, there’s a lot to a bishop or SP’s job that most would consider a “downside”…and they AREN’T getting paid!

    Like the horsie straining over the barbed wire to eat the grass on the other side of the fence, ye realize not what pain ye unnecessarily put yourselves through, and that it’s not really any greener…

    However, I certainly agree that much of what is considered as the exclusive domain of the PH probably could be reviewed; if for nothing else to involve the sisters even more in the daily affairs of the Church. I also agree, being the father of girls as well as boys, that in no sense should the YW program be subordinated to the YM (Aaronic PH).

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  63. Jared on April 8, 2014 at 9:26 PM

    It is important to evaluate the source of information we draw close to our hearts and minds. Why? Because those things we permit to be close to our hearts and minds have influence over us. We make decisions based on those things that we let into our hearts and minds. Decisions lead to action and set into motion events that shape our future.

    When I listen to conference talks I know I am listening to leaders appointed by Heavenly Father. How do I know this, how can I be so certain? The answer is simple and we hear it often–by the power of the Holy Ghost–is how I know.

    Nearly 50 year ago as a soldier I asked Heavenly Father if there was anything to the Book of Mormon and the stories I heard about Joseph Smith. I told Him that if he would clearly show me I would stop living the ways of the world and follow Him.

    A few hours later my prayer was answered in a dramatic fashion. I was given an experience where the veil was parted sufficiently for me to learn in a powerful way that evil spirits are around us and that God can deliver us from their influence if we offer a prayer in faith.

    I know that when church members flirt with the ways and thinking of the world that they invite the influence of evil spirits, and when they follow the counsel of church leaders they invite the influence of the Holy Ghost. The temple ceremony teaches this in a stark, forthright manner.

    Some church members think that they can trifle, disagree, or correct the teachings of church leaders and that they are merely exercising their agency. They think there is nothing wrong about it, and certainly not evil, and that anyone who says differently is an extremist or even playing the part of a fanatic.

    I remind them that they are under covenant. That means they are held to a higher standard–For of him unto whom much is given much is required.

    Because of the sacred experiences the Lord has given me, I join my voice with the voice of church leaders and the scriptures and invite church members who speak and write in opposition to the Lord’s appointed leaders to be careful and not cut or damage the thin cord that keeps us close to the things of the Spirit.

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  64. Mormon Heretic on April 8, 2014 at 10:55 PM

    Nathaniel,

    Thank you for your input–it is greatly appreciated. You are correct to say “we have …a difference in tactics rather than objectives.” I think that perfectly explains the differences I have with Fiona on this issue. I’m afraid that this comment could be a post on it’s own because it will be so long. I hope you all don’t get too bored reading it.

    The claim that Fiona supports male hegemony based on the partial transcript is incorrect. Look, I’m sure that Fiona doesn’t like my representation that she is defending male hegemony, but I don’t think it is incorrect. I’m willing to concede my phrasing may be inelegantly stated, or clumsy, or whatever. Fine. I’m willing to re-phrase it in a more “politically correct” way. But I don’t think she has said anything here that disputes what I am saying.

    It is clear (both in the context of her original statement and also based on her statements here) that what she is actually proposing is not support of existing male-hegemony, but rather a Trojan Horse approach that will ultimately lead to an attack on male hegemony.

    Ok, but even if one is willing to support a Trojan Horse approach, we are doing that under the guise of male hegemony. So sure, Fiona’s plan is a long-term plan, but in the short time, it utilizes male hegemony to get inside the gates so that the Mormon Missionaries will come out and tear down the male hegemony. So, male hegemony is a “necessary evil” of the short term, so that the long-term goal of dismantling male hegemony is broken.

    Maybe in the long-term, she is right. Maybe in the long-term she is wrong, and the short-term hegemony will further entrench male hegemony in places where it doesn’t need to stay entrenched (like here in America.) Maybe this trojan horse approach really is needed, maybe it is not.

    I have no doubt that Fiona wants equality among men and women. No doubt at all. I want it too. On that point we agree. We do disagree on tactics. From what I can tell, Fiona supports short-term male hegemony in a Trojan Horse approach. From my perspective, I’m not sure this will work.

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  65. Mormon Heretic on April 8, 2014 at 11:17 PM

    If Fiona’s proposal undermines male-hegemony, what’s the basis for claiming that she is a supporter of male hegemony?

    Let’s take this Trojan Horse idea a little further. When we do, Fiona supports short-term hegemony. But what is short-term? A year? a decade? a century?

    So even if one supports the Trojan Horse approach, how long until we know the short term is over? And if it takes a century, is that strong evidence that the Trojan Horse program worked? Or will another century of hegemony just entrench itself further, making it that much harder to get rid of it? I’m not sure it will work in either the short term or the long term either. But I could certainly be wrong.

    As I said before, there is a parallel with missionary work in Africa, which nobody wants to address. Pres McKay made a trojan horse approach to South Africa in 1950-60s. He kept missionaries out of Nigeria to keep the apartheid regime happy. In 1978, blacks became eligible for temple and priesthood blessings. Missionary work has exploded in places like Ghana, Nigeria, etc. I don’t think it has exploded in South Africa, but even if it did, it will have probably exploded among the black South Africans.

    So, I don’t see this Trojan Horse approach working in Africa. I see McKay’s decision not to send missionaries as stopping the work from progressing in Nigeria and Ghana for another 2 decades. I just don’t think the Trojan Horse approach worked. God had a way of improving the missionary work, and it didn’t involve Trojan horses–it involved a brave prophet willing to seek revelation on the issue. I see the trojan horse idea as setting the work back. How many more people would have joined in Nigeria and Ghana in 1960? I think the trojan horse idea is an idea of man, not of God.

    I’m not disagreeing with Fiona regarding male hegemony in Africa. I’m sure the male power structure of the LDS Church is appealing to Africans, and South Americans, and Asians for that matter. But if we’re going this trojan horse approach, when will it end? It didn’t work in South Africa and Nigeria with blacks. I’m sure Fiona is right that there will be many Africans that will join our church because of hegemony. But the costs of Africans, Asians, and South Americans joining seems to be that the church kicks out people like Maxine Hanks, Margaret Toscano, and Lavinia Anderson, and Michael Quinn. Sure, Maxine came back, but Margaret and Lavinia haven’t. And we’re currently experiencing a huge loss of members to atheism.

    One can certainly argue that Margaret and Lavinia and Michael have it better than a Nigerian. Perhaps the Nigerian needs the church more than Margaret or Lavinia or Michael or Maxine. But those 4 individuals have paid a HEAVY price for promoting equality. There are many others like John Hamer (and countless unnamed individuals) that have left the LDS church precisely over this issue of gender equality.

    So yes Fiona, I haven’t been to Africa. I don’t know these women who will or won’t join the church because of male hegemony. But I know Margaret and Lavinia, and Micheal and John and less well known people like Claudia and Doug. These are people that I know that are no longer members of the LDS church. You’re privileging unknown Africans over my American and Canadian and Norwegian friends. Maybe you’re right. Maybe my friends in America don’t need the gospel as much as Africans. But I value them, and I don’t want them to leave a church I love because this short-term trojan horse has no end in sight.

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  66. mp on April 9, 2014 at 6:53 AM

    You should add one more item to your list of things the OW movement has accomplished. For the first time ever this conference, the female auxiliaries had more prominent seats on the stand. The used to be seated on the edge, stage left, as seen in this picture, from the April 2013 conference. http://i.imgur.com/jcEwchT.png

    Last weekend they were placed in the center of the stage, as seen in this picture from the Saturday Morning session. http://i.imgur.com/S96yuU1.png

    Perhaps it’s a meaningless gesture, but it is change, and given the historical context, I have to think it came about because of the OW movement.

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  67. Howard on April 9, 2014 at 7:17 AM

    Yes moving the participating sisters to more prominent seats in GC is another indication of a loving caring aware proactive and inspired patriarchy.

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  68. Christian J on April 9, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    mp – I’m glad to give OW credit where its do. Wider broadcasting of the priesthood session is without question, a result of their efforts (and allowed me to listen to the session while doing the much needed grocery shopping thank you very much!). But let’s hold our horses. A women praying in GC has certainly been talked about for years online and a lot of other changes are due to decades of work behind the scenes.

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  69. Christian J on April 9, 2014 at 9:53 AM

    MH, It sounds like you don’t oppose privileging certain segments of the world over others in regards to outreach, just pro-patriarchal societies. Am I wrong? Or do you simply not agree with Fiona’s premise? Also, It sounds like Fiona is proposing a long view that will have a broad reach. You seem to be arguing for a hard line that will have serve the needs and desires of segments of the American/Euro population and if it hits a brick wall in other countries – well – that’s the cost of equality?

    I actually sympathize with what I think is your view, but just want to be clear I understand you correctly.

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  70. Mormon Heretic on April 9, 2014 at 11:12 AM

    Christian, you bring up an excellent point, because yes, I too am privileging a group: Euro-American peoples vs Fiona’s privileging African peoples. I said in my original post that no matter what option one chooses, there will be opportunity costs. So yes, I am just as guilty of privileging non-sexist societies above sexist societies. The question of privilege is a practical one. Which is better? Fiona and I come to different conclusions, and while I disagree with Fiona, I have also stated that she could be right.

    If God is no respecter of persons, and “all are alike unto God, both male and female, bond and free” as Nephi said, then I feel my position is more in line with the ideal of Nephi. But I fully realize that Fiona’s position could be more pragmatic than mine, and as I said before, God does work in mysterious ways. If God is working via Trojan Horse method, then Fiona is right, and I am wrong. But from my view, this Trojan Horse method doesn’t really follow Nephi’s ideal, and is a man-made solution to a spiritual problem. As shown with previous comments about blacks in Africa and the 1978 revelation, I think the ideal approach is a better option than the pragmatic approach in the long run. But I could absolutely be wrong.

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  71. Mormon Heretic on April 9, 2014 at 11:19 AM

    Here is another way to think about it.

    (1) If African conversions are outpacing the loss of Americans, then Fiona’s approach seems like a better solution.

    (2) If the loss of Americans are outpacing the conversion of Africans, then my approach seems like a better solution.

    (3) If it is a break-even proposal, then either solution will work, and we simply have to decide what type of people we want in the church.

    it appears that church growth slowing down, and we’re approaching option 3. If so, then from a pragmatic point of view, we need to decide if we want more African converts, or stop the bleeding of members leaving. I know which way I would choose. You may choose differently.

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  72. Rich Brown on April 9, 2014 at 5:34 PM

    MH (#71)

    I’ve been following this conversation but reluctant to get into it, because as a non-LDS church member I “don’t have a dog in this fight,” so to speak. But I was struck by the last half of Option #3: “…we simply have to decide what type of people we want in the church.” That may well be the most important question for you to struggle with.

    Let me rephrase it this way. The LDS church has always been concerned greatly (primarily?) with numerical growth. Presumably, this would ultimately end with everybody in the world (and everybody who’s ever lived in the world) being given the opportunity to join the “one true church.” The church will grow and expand until it covers every nation on the planet.

    But what if God wants something other than that? What if it’s instead about what God wants the church (and here I’m speaking of both the collective membership and the institution) to “be” and to “do”—a qualitative rather than quantitative idea? If that’s the starting point, then what the church looks like and does in North America may be quite different from what it looks like and does in Africa, for example. I suppose another way to put that is this: Can there be multiple expressions and understandings of “one true church” culturally, geographically, linguistically, economically, and socially?

    Of course, this flies in the face of Correlation, so that raises the additional question, “Which would be harder to give up: correlation or male hegemony?”

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  73. Kullervo on April 9, 2014 at 5:49 PM

    If God is real, the Restoration really happened and “no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing,” why are we having this conversation about Trojan Horses and pragmatic weighing of the cultural boundaries that might prevent people from baptism? Shouldn’t the truth of God “go forth boldly, nobly, and independent?”

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  74. WI_Member on April 9, 2014 at 6:24 PM

    Getting back to the mission president announcements from #39, I find it sad that no information is given about the education or professional experience of the mission presidents’ wives.

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  75. Bill Berrett on April 9, 2014 at 6:47 PM

    What fun. I have always believed that all women are in natural possession of priesthood. They are born with it. That position, I believe, is consistent with our church history. Sadly, very few people ever read our history. Can a woman have a baby for example without possessing priesthood? It is kind of an important ordinance, isn’t it? Early church journals support this belief that women hold priesthood already. See what those early LDS women did and the powers they possessed. Their blessing meetings and healings were very cool. They were unequaled by men. I suppose someone who has done the research should put that here. Eliza Snow in the book Women of Mormondom is deemed to hold priesthood, for example. And she should know, she was pretty close to Joseph. In fact, I noticed a few years ago the LDS Relief Society President over the Church suggested women have priesthood power and men are given priesthood office so that they might actually develop priesthood. That was at a BYU conference. I think she had it right. The reality, is because of the problems identified in Section 121 there is very little priesthood held by men in the church. We men like to exercise unrighteous dominion and then “amen to the priesthood of that man” If I am mean to my wife I lose priesthood. If that man’s priesthood has been “amened” then when he ordains his sons they get nothing. If good intent was to dictate, then the Catholics would still have priesthood, I suppose. Over years of abuse how much priesthood do you think we really have in the church held by men. Women, on the other hand, who are obsessed with serving their kids and husbands develop great priesthood power. The power of priesthood is love. Women naturally develop it and very few men ever do. I don’t know that my wife will be any more powerful if I ordain her to a priesthood office. I believe she has priesthood office already, I just don’t know what the name is. It’s not like we need to ordain women to function with priesthood office in the Temple. And, it seems that women also invoke “power in the priesthood” to be upon them as part of the temple process. It is real. And it seems that those who are sanctified, men and women, will be ordained by Father personally with Patriarchal Authority as in Alma 13 and the Inspired Version of Genesis 14 and in Section 84 and on and on. Women get equal Patriarchal Authority with us poor men. I suppose there is danger in making it too well known that women hold priesthood already since they will take over the whole enchilada. Men will be too willing to let that happen. Then the women will end up sanctified with NO men. Ouch. But, if your a woman, maybe that is what you prefer. I don’t blame you.

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  76. Brad on April 9, 2014 at 7:33 PM

    Don’t take this too serious – but
    I believe worthy women already have priesthood.
    As a man – It would be nice to have large breasts
    My wife would agree – she deserves more freedom
    But as beautiful as that would be – I can’t change
    Besides – that would be weird
    Kind of like the deals they sell so girls can pee – standing up
    I tried to by one for X-mas, but they were sold out

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  77. Hedgehog on April 10, 2014 at 3:10 AM

    So after a few days thinking on the talk, there are still some unanswered questions -
    a) if both men and women are endowed with priesthood power in the temple, what’s with the men requiring ordination to the Melchizedek priesthood before they can be permitted to attend? Why does it matter? In what ways is this priesthood different from the ‘temple’ (for want of a better description) priesthood?
    b) if all individuals fulfilling callings do so with both priesthood power and authority, what has the temple got to do with it? Not everyone who has a calling has been to the temple. My sister served as a singles ward RS president before she ever went to the temple, for example.
    c) a straight answer to ‘did you ask?’ would be helpful, rather than meandering around ‘divine decree’ without any indication of how it is known this is divine decree, because as others have mentioned I can’t find it explicitly stated in scripture, instead it seems to involve a certain amount of gymnastics in deciding when to interpret men as *only* men, and when as humankind.

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  78. hkobeal on April 10, 2014 at 8:48 AM

    #49. Mormon Heretic, I’m pretty sure that my husband (Brent) transcribed a good bit of the podcast. Email him if you’re interested. brent@thebeals.net

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  79. Mormon Heretic on April 10, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    Rich, when I wrote option 3 above, I was thinking about FireTag. He said that because the Community of Christ isn’t really growing, then it was more important for them to decide what type of convert they wanted, and therefore what kind of church they wanted. Should it attract liberals, or conservatives? If our church gets there (and some think it already is), then we will have to grapple with the same issue.

    I find the CoC concept of gay marriage a strange proposition–letting nations decide whether they want to accept gay marriage or not. In a correlated LDS world, such a position seems preposterous, and I remember thinking that was a strange way to handle the issue. But the CoC see this as one size does not fit all. In regards to female ordination, a similar approach might actually work. If Africa wants to attract converts who value male hegemony, they could. In the U.S., if we don’t like male hegemony, we could. But who’s to say that African saints wouldn’t look to the U.S. and say, “hey, look over there. They say they support hegemony, but the U.S. doesn’t. It’s only a matter of time before they import that crap here.” It obviously would destroy the Trojan Horse approach, because the Trojans would recognize the horse as a trap. But I’m curious to hear of the CoC approach is working in both progressive and conservative countries. Do you have any data on that?

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  80. Mormon Heretic on April 10, 2014 at 9:06 AM

    Kullervo, I think you raise an excellent question (and I “liked” your comment): ” why are we having this conversation about Trojan Horses?” As I’ve said before, I think this Trojan Horse idea is man-made, not God made. I do think the work will go forth “boldly, nobly, and independent” if we had more faith.

    hkobeal, thanks for the heads up. I will definitely email Brent. It would save me a ton of time. By the way, I enjoyed your interviews as well on Mormon Matters on this topic.

    Bill, “I have always believed that all women are in natural possession of priesthood. They are born with it.” What about the crack whore I mentioned in the OP? Was either she or her daughter born with priesthood? This is why I find “motherhood=priesthood” so silly.

    And if all the LDS men have their priesthood “amened” then we aren’t that different from the Catholic Church. Furthermore, if service is what gives power, and women are better at it, did Mother Teresa have priesthood power? What really distinguishes this definition of priesthood if we’re no different from the Catholics?

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  81. Kullervo on April 10, 2014 at 9:09 AM

    Thanks, Mormon Heretic. I think it’s also a problem for things like OD-1.

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  82. Kullervo on April 10, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    And if all the LDS men have their priesthood “amened” then we aren’t that different from the Catholic Church. Furthermore, if service is what gives power, and women are better at it, did Mother Teresa have priesthood power? What really distinguishes this definition of priesthood if we’re no different from the Catholics?

    I think that this is getting to the most important question for Mormonism, because Mormonism’s claims about the nature of the priesthood, it’s necessity, and who has it are the single most important set of claims for Mormonism as a religion. You can turn out to be wrong about every single point of doctrine other than the necessity and availability of the priesthood, and still be the only true and living church on the face of the earth.

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  83. Joseph M on April 10, 2014 at 10:07 AM

    Re #77 b)
    When I was a missionary in Buenos Aries I was given a powerfull insight because of the architecture of the building. At that time the Baptistry had a glass wall directly infront of the exit of the Celestial Room which was in line with the door to the Sealing room. Standing at that door I could see that the Initial ordinaces were directly conected to the final ordinace. Not just linearly but cyclicly.
    Turning now to the meat of you r question, when the Saints were prepareing for the dedication and endowment of power to be recived i the Kirtland temple they prayed that It would be “like the day of Pentecost” . At this point Keys and Power were given but not yet the ceremony of the endowment and there was indeed a great outpouring of the Spirit.

    Parly P. Pratt’s descrition of the effect of the Holy Ghost has always inspired me.
    “The gift of the Holy Spirit adapts itself to all these organs or attributes. It quickens all the intellectual faculties, increases, enlarges, expands and purifies all the natural passions and affections, and adapts them, by the gift of wisdom, to their lawful use. It inspires, develops, cultivates and matures all the fine toned sympathies, joys, tastes, kindred feelings and affections of our nature. It inspires virtue, kindness, goodness, tenderness, gentleness and charity. It develops beauty of person, form and features. It tends to health, vigor, animation and social feeling. It develops and invigorates all the faculties of the physical and intellectual man. It strengthens, invigorates and gives tone to the nerves. In short, it is, as it were, marrow to the bone, joy to the heart, light to the eyes, music to the ears, and life to the whole being.”

    I feel that the first endowment of Prieshood power is the gift of the Holy Ghost. Power in every subsiquent office is dependent on living in such a way as to have the Spirit with us. I note that the warning in D&C 12 37 is that “the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved, and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.” Priesthood power flows through and only through the presence of the Holy Ghost and as soon as we recieve that Gift we begin to exercise that Power.

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  84. Joseph M on April 10, 2014 at 10:26 AM

    Regarding the “Trojan Horse” Debate There was a recent interview with Dr. Justin Welby , Archbishop of Canterbury that illistrates the difficulty that any world wide Curch that operates in both the Developed and Developing worlds can have reconciling the needs of both areas.

    From the Interview:
    In the last question of the show, the interviewer asked Dr. Welby: “A gay Christian listening to you though may have heard the message that he or she can’t marry their partner in their church because of the conniptions it would give to some African, dare we say less enlightened people, in Africa.”
    To which the archbishop replied: “Well I don’t think we dare say less enlightened actually. I think that’s a sort of neo-colonial approach and it’s one I really object to. I think it’s not about them having conniptions, getting irate, that’s nothing to do with it.”
    “It’s about the fact that I’ve stood by a graveside in Africa of a group of Christians who’d been attacked because of something that had happened far, far away in America, and they were attacked by other people – because of that a lot of them had been killed. I was in the South Sudan a few weeks ago and the church leaders there were saying please don’t change what you’re doing, because then we couldn’t accept your help and we need your help desperately.”
    “We have to listen carefully to that, we also have to listen incredibly carefully to gay people here who want to get married and also to recognise that any homophobic behaviour here causes enormous suffering, particularly to gay teenagers, something I’m particularly conscious of at the moment. And we have to listen to that very carefully and work out what we do.” – See more at: http://anglicanink.com/article/gay-marriage-death-sentence-christian-minorities-archbishop-canterbury-warns

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  85. Mormon Heretic on April 10, 2014 at 11:16 AM

    Fiona, I’m not sure if you’re still reading this, but I’m willing to revise my 2nd paragraph of the OP if you’re willing to approve or re-write the sentences in question. Here are a few ideas:

    (1) Now we have people like Fiona Givens telling us that men have the authority of the priesthood (and while she’s not a fan of male hegemony, she thinks that if it was abolished right away, it could hurt missionary work in places like Africa) but women have priesthood power. She references a Conference talk of Elder Packer in 2010….

    (2) Now we have people like Fiona Givens telling us that men have the authority of the priesthood (and while she’s not a fan of male hegemony, she thinks male hegemony is a “necessary evil” because it attracts people in places like Africa, which could have a benefit for women in the long run) but women have priesthood power. She references a Conference talk of Elder Packer in 2010….

    (3) Now we have people like Fiona Givens telling us that men have the authority of the priesthood but both men and women have priesthood power. (She’s not a fan of male hegemony, but thinks that ordaining women to a priesthood office would hurt missionary work in places like Africa, so she opposes ordination of women.) She references a Conference talk of Elder Packer in 2010….

    (4) you write a revision.

    I want to be accurate, and I’m not interested in creating bad feelings. And if that’s not what you object to, them tell me what you object to and how you would prefer it to read. I will modify the OP to properly reflect your position.

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  86. Rich Brown on April 10, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    MH (#79)
    “But I’m curious to hear if the CoC approach is working in both progressive and conservative countries. Do you have any data on that?”

    It’s probably way too early to tell. The Canadian and Australian national churches’ policy changes are only a few months old (in Australia, it’s just about ordination because civil law does not permit same-gender marriage, unlike in Canada where it’s federal law). I have heard that there’s concern at church headquarters not so much because African countries are more conservative (although they probably are) as that the CofC there is much more an evangelical movement than in North America where it’s moved closer to Mainline Protestantism. That’s a discussion for another time and place.

    Even though the CofC has expanded significantly in the past five decades (60+ nations at last count) we’re still grappling with the transition from being basically a USA church with international branches to becoming a truly international church that happens to have its headquarters in the USA. The very different cultural understandings regarding gender in those 60 nations make it impossible to have a one-size-fits-all approach. However, for the LDS church with its strong emphasis on correlation, maybe it can work. Keep in mind there are significant theological issues involved.

    In CofC President Veazey’s recent statement there is this short but key paragraph: “As I have continued to seek direction on behalf of the church, the Spirit has brought assurance that questions about same-gender orientation and marriage are primarily related to life on Earth. They do not have necessary bearing on salvation, the divinity of the church and the sacraments, or the ultimate fulfillment of God’s purposes.” I think it’s safe to say a member of the LDS Q15 would not, or could not, come to the same conclusion regarding gender-related issues (for women or gays). And so, in a sense, the CofC and LDS are on different playing fields entirely.

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  87. […] a hidden message. His talk has received a lot of attention on the internet the last few days (see here, here, here, and here). An interesting interpretation was presented by Denver […]

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  88. Bill Berrett on April 11, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    Mormon Heretic, Relief Society President of the Church, Julie Beck said at the BYU Women’s Conference Friday, April 29, 2011: “The priesthood duty of every righteous man is to qualify for the blessing of holding that priesthood and trust for the Lord so that he can bless his family and those around him. [My priesthood duty is to obtain priesthood power] And I will say the priesthood duty of sisters is to create life, to nurture it, to prepare it for covenants of the Lord. Don’t confuse the power with the keys and the offices of the priesthood. God’s power is limitless and it is shared with those who make and keep covenants. Too much is said and misunderstood about what the brothers have and the sisters don’t have. This is Satan’s way of confusing both men and women so neither understands what they really have.”

    Yes, I believe that all women including little girls who will become crack whores are born with priesthood. Yes, I believe Mother Teresa developed great priesthood power as did Fools Crow and every other great servant of the Lord. Fools Crow obviously had Patriarchal Authority (and he was not even LDS) We think somehow priesthood is exclusive to our little private club and does not depend on a connection with God. But, man cannot give priesthood. It is given by the voice of God. It is without father and mother. My earthly father cannot give it to me. But God can. My earthly father can extend to me an invitation for me to go to God and obtain priesthood. My analysis however is quite simple. Gifted people see a priesthood mantle on those who have it. Only a few, five or six, men in each ward actually have priesthood because we don’t deserve it. Gifted people do see worthy women with a priesthood mantle (even without being ordained by man) as I understand. Just ask a gifted person what they see on men and women. Yes, a crack whore can lose her priesthood as did David when he loved Bathsheba more than the Lord. Prophets can obviously lose priesthood and become false prophets. They can and do. Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man. Amen.

    And, yes, that does make us no different from the apostate Catholic church except for those few who actually obtain the power of priesthood from God. It seems that those who have had their calling and election made sure are the ones who Father ordains to the highest priesthood, Patriarchal Authority. Men and women get it equally.

    Is there any holier priesthood ordinance that the first one we call birth? Bearing children is the priesthood mission of every priestess the order of the priesthood. Doesn’t priesthood really equate to the “literal seed of the body” according to Abraham. Sorry, but even crack whores have that. That is how they have crack whore little babies. I just think women are seeking something that they already have and most good women excel at. Women should just ask God about what priesthood they already possess. But, they want to be like men. Not a great idea.

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  89. Mormon Heretic on April 11, 2014 at 10:23 AM

    “And, yes, that does make us no different from the apostate Catholic church except for those few who actually obtain the power of priesthood from God.”

    All I can say is WOW! I guess any old church will do. There is no “one true church” with a statement like that. How do you reconcile that?

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  90. Frank Pellett on April 11, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    “Is there any holier priesthood ordinance that the first one we call birth? Bearing children is the priesthood mission of every priestess the order of the priesthood.”

    What of the women who cannot bear children? This is what makes the Priesthood=birthing rhetoric problematic. I love the testimonies I’ve heard from women who have learned, through often painful experience, that becoming more like Heavenly Mother (who we need much more of) does not require building a body without being able to look at the instructions.

    Even if it is well intentioned, tying an umbilical cord to Priesthood is deeply painful to many. Priesthood, Motherhood, and birthing are not the same, equal, or even similar, not one to any of the others.

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  91. taxtrustsestates on April 12, 2014 at 11:05 AM

    Heretic: I don’t have to read your mind–what you offer is not constructive, it is destructive. You are not respectful to the Lord’s annointed. Michael Quinn is an apostate through and through. He was excommunicated then and he would be so today. He lost his family as a result. It is wrong to blame the church. You delight in putting your finger in the eye of the brethren. Don’t go down with the apostacy ship–repent before you lose everything.

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  92. Michelle Llewellyn on April 12, 2014 at 6:04 PM

    I’m still wondering where single, never married women in church fit into all of this. No husband equals no priesthood and having to wait until the next life to be a mother means I have to wait until the next life to enjoy all the blessings of the priesthood. What am I supposed to do until then as a woman with no identity in this church?

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  93. Frank Pellett on April 12, 2014 at 8:06 PM

    Michelle, many of the older, single women I know still have the goal of being a mother. Birthing (or even siring) a child is not a prerequisite for becoming like our Heavenly Parents. Granted, it’s slightly less easy for women as we rarely even talk about Heavenly Mother, but I think for all of us, the Christlike attributes we’ve been instructed on will get us much of the way there.

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  94. Anon on April 12, 2014 at 8:22 PM

    taxtrustestates: There is no reasonable definition of “the Lord’s anointed” that includes all the general authorities and excludes all the people entreating them on this matter. Tossing around accusation of apostasy, you are just as likely to speak evil of the wrong person . The rarity of the gift of discernment is illustrated by myriad examples, no need to add your own.

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  95. New Iconoclast on April 15, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    Ken (#25) Along with what Elder Oakes was saying, I think (I Know) leadership in the church is WAY over rated. Think about it — It pays nothing. [. . .] I guess I am of the adage, be careful what you ask for as you just might get it.

    With all due respect, brother, when I see this argument – and I hear it a lot – “You tender little flowers wouldn’t want the priesthood, anyway; it’s more trouble than it’s worth; thank heaven the Lord lets us big strong men take the burden off your delicate shoulders” – I want to hurl. Would it be possible, if you put a little more thought into your remarks, to make them more condescending?

    As a church we speak frequently of the blessings of work and service. Are you saying that women are too weak to handle those blessings, or that they shouldn’t want them, or that they simply don’t deserve them?

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  96. New Iconoclast on April 15, 2014 at 8:57 AM

    Hawkgrrl says (#61), carrying on a thought from Fiona and others in previous comments about the Church’s expansion into countries with a strong tradition of machismo: I actually think the church’s missionary efforts, at least those I used in Spain, are consistent with the “Trojan Horse” idea, although there sure is a lot of recidivism when those cultures of machismo are deeply ingrained.

    With the LDS tradition of local leadership, can you have a workable Trojan Horse when the soldiers inside the horse, to stretch the analogy, think that they really are a gift to the enemy? I mean, simply, that there’s nothing magical about baptism that will move the Church in Spain or Italy (where I served) or any African patriarchal culture toward a more gender-equal model without “being acted upon by an outside force,” and local leaders up to district and stake levels steeped in local patiarchal norms are unlikely to be that outside force. Regional Authority 70s are locals, too, and Area Presidencies can only assert so much focused change training. I think, with all due respect to Fiona (which is considerable), that the Trojan Horse idea is a recipe for, at best, glacial change. Perhaps that’s OK, when you consider that the goal is gospel, not social, conversion; but it bears saying.

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  97. […] of John Dehlin’s podcast from episode 443 posted on October 16, 2013.  In a recent post, Fiona Givens took exception to my characterization of her comments from her Mormon Stories interview from October.  I […]

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  98. […] exception to my characterization of her comments from her Mormon Stories interview from October.  I promised to transcribe the whole interview (but let me tip my hat to Brent Beal at Doves and Serpents who assisted me with a partial […]

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  99. […] wrote a “response” several months before my post about her defending male hegemony (I didn’t know you can pre-emptively respond to a post that […]

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