Thursday, April 4, 2013


The "F" word.

Sometimes I think hearing this "F" word is more shocking to members of a Sunday school class than if you were to shout the other one from the pulpit. Even if you drop it casually in the middle of your comment in Relief Society, heads turn around like dominoes to take a look-see at the blasphemer.

Pretty soon the situation morphs into the mob logic from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

Okay, it's probably not that bad. Certainly it's not as bad as 30 years ago. Like when one of my mom's law school professors asked her how she dared take the opportunity to go to law school from a man who is trying to put bread on the table. As if her aspirations to make a difference in her family, not to mention the world, were completely obsolete.

But even though many people have allowed their views on women to evolve, there are still many who balk at feminism.

If you know me at all you likely know where I stand on this spectrum. And if you're friends with me on Facebook you have probably seen that even a smack of misogyny will get more than an earful from me. In fact, even typing the word misogyny has my adrenaline pumping.

But I'm not the kind of feminist that comes to mind for so many people in the church.

For instance, I don't hate men. I usually really like men. There's one in particular who I'm absolutely crazy about. In fact, men today have got to be some of the best men that have ever lived. Seriously. They certainly smell the best -- at the very least.

You also don't need to worry about hiding your bras from me, lest they spontaneously combust. Bras are pretty all right in my book. Without them, I couldn't have pretended that I had boobs in middle school. And nearly half of high school. So yeah; pretty grateful to those things.

I'm also not an angry tyrant who is always looking for a soapbox so she can yell at people about Roe v. Wade and lock women out of their kitchens. As someone who is adopted and very easily could have been aborted, I think the pinnacle of womanhood is someone who takes responsibilities for their actions -- especially when it involves a human life. I will forever be grateful for the sacrifices it took to bring me, an inconvenient baby, into this world.

And I really like to cook. I don't think there is anything demeaning about going into the kitchen with odds and ends that are merely edible and coming out with something that is beautiful to nearly all of your senses. Oh yes. Food talks to me.

However, just because things right now are good, doesn't mean they are perfect. I believe we live in a fallen world with attitudes toward gender that are far from Godlike. Even though we have come remarkably far as a society and as a Church, I still think we have far to go before we achieve Zion status.

So many men in the Church are so respectful of women. Kind, gentle, chivalrous, even to the point of reverence. And without being ungrateful to these men, I would just like to say that so much of it isn't doing my gender any favors. Being put on a pedestal means you can't keep climbing. It means you stop pushing yourself to grow and be better. Since eternal progression is such a central tenet of our religion, I don't see how women can really have arrived at our final destination.

Which is why I -- as a mere mortal and someone of no special authority to speak for the Church or anyone else -- believe women should be ordained to the priesthood.

There. I said it.

Now before you go raising your eyebrows and thinking I'm one of those people who likes to just spew false doctrine, let me tell you that my opinions on this matter have been the result of countless prayers, visits to the temple, scripture readings, and even burnings in the bosom.  All of which are tender experiences I feel urged to share -- but in later posts, lest this one become a novel.

I will share one thought, however, that started shaping my opinions on this matter. The following quote is an excerpt of an interview President Hinckley did with David Ransom in 1997:

DR: At present women are not allowed to be priests in your Church. Why is that?

Gordon B. Hinckley: That’s right, because the Lord has put it that way. ...
DR: Is it possible that the rules [for the priesthood] could change in the future as the rules are on Blacks?

Gordon B. Hinckley: He could change them yes. If He were to change them that’s the only way it would happen.

DR: So you’d have to get a revelation?

Gordon B. Hinckley: Yes. But there’s no agitation for that. 

I believe that God takes our prayers very seriously and wants to answer them. Because of this, I think God is waiting until the people in His Church are ready for new revelation. This isn't a belief I feel I need to impose on everyone around me.

However, it would make me feel pretty awesome if you would treat my opinion like it came from an educated, faithful, and mostly-rational person. I promise I will try to do the same. Let's just come together in the belief that "He denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God" and leave it at that.


Chris el guapo Redfern said...

Great post alex. It is very interesting to think of all the things that we do today that members of the church from moses' time, Christ's time, and even just 50 years ago would call blasphemous. If God choose to the give the priesthood to women that'd be awesome. One thing that is funny about new revelations is we always say we follow the prophet until he actually says something we don't agree with, like prop 8 or bad movies or other things. Who knows what will happen in this life or the next, but having an open mind to change seems like a good way to strengthen your testimony of living prophets

Steven said...

This is what thoughts were triggered in my head by your post.
1) I wouldn't have a problem with it.
2) the bible mentions "prophetesses" which has gotta mean something.
3) The temple.
4) Why can't men give birth? Why didn't God give men the right and privilege to have a life form in their body?

I repeat, I wouldn't have a problem with it.

Rachel Holm said...

Hey Alex,

I probably have less than zero business leaving a comment on your post (because I don't know you). I am friends with Jason on Facebook and this came up in my feed. Anyway, I don't agree or disagree? But I did read an informative article related to the subject recently and thought, based on your post, that you would be interested in it.
It says basically that our doctrine on differing male and female roles is deeper than a lot of people portray it to be. That being said, I would say that I of agree with your statement with a caveat, I think women should be ordained to the priesthood if God does and relays that through our prophets. The end, from a total stranger.

Abigale said...

Funny, I've actually been thinking about this quite a bit in the last little while. My conclusion, at least for myself, is that women have the priesthood in other spheres- example: per earth, post earth life. In this life however I think it interfers with the role of motherhood. Children need consistency. One parent who is always there to care for their needs and help them feel secure can make a world of difference. I know if my mom had held my fathers callings, being gone almost every night for the majority of my growing up it would have been really hard on our family. That is not to say her callings did not require a lot of time, but they allowed her to be caring for her family while fulfilling her callings. I can feel a difference with Mitch, having had me home with him basically all to himself this last month. Motherhood Is a divine role, that men don't get,( personally I think they are the ones getting gipped). But I feel like that is we're priesthood comes in, it is their role on this earth. Anyway, if women get the priesthood in this life, great :) I would be excited to embrace the opportunity. But for now motherhood is way more divine responsibility than I know what to do with. :)

Alison Arntsen said...

while i'm not really on board with the last part of this post, I respect where you're coming from.

what i do agree with is putting an end to the vernacular of constantly putting women on a pedestal, having men constantly say we are naturally better or naturally good or the better sex irks me. And I think it irks some men. it puts unneeded pressure not to mention it delineates any effort we have to make to try to be strong and righteous. sayings like husbands are just riding their wives coattails or even behind every great man is a great woman really bug me. how about we are both working and growing together.. Side by side.

and don't get me started on all the relief society centerpiece jokes.

This has nothing to do with your main point, but its something I've been thinking about lately and this sparked it.

Love you miss you kiss kiss

Mare said...

I LOVE your comment about being on a pedestal and that restricting the ability to climb. Eloquent and true.

I know this is random as we don't know each other (oh the strange joys of blogging in the online world!), but as a non-Mormon also-nearly-aborted adoptee, I agree with you 100%.
Thank you for writing this.