Ordain Women and doing it wrong

Ordain Women ProtestLike 87% of LDS Church membership, I do not support Ordain Women. I believe both their goals and their methods to be deeply flawed and out of touch with how the Church operates. I want to lay out some reasons why I think they have set themselves up for failure.

Ordain Women strikes the immediate wrong tone in their name. It’s a demand for an outcome, not seeking an answer to a question of gender roles within church leadership and authority. Asking the question “why is the priesthood a male-only privilege” is a worthy pursuit and worth asking. I fully support seeking a response both personally and by inquiring of church leaders. I do not support asking if your only goal is to get a specific answer.

Speaking of inquiry, honest inquiry happens in a certain way. Sending private letters to church leadership seeking a response fits this mold. So does discussing it with your friends and ward neighbors. So is prayer. Note that these kinds of inquiry are all low-key and conducted in meekness. Doing it in front of a crowd of TV cameras and reporters is not seeking an honest answer; it is attempting to shame another party into caving to your demands. So is attempting to disrupt an important spiritual meeting to “be heard” when the problem not is that you aren’t heard, but that you aren’t getting what you want. It is flat-out bullying, and it has no place within this organization.

If you believe that the LDS Church is headed by God, and that God reveals his will through a chosen prophet of the church, then you can reasonably assume that should the ordination of women be of God, it will be done according to the Lord’s timeframe. Public pressure will change absolutely nothing in this regard. It is, at best, a non-productive activity with no effect on if or when a final answer will be received.

Regardless of what the answer is, Ordain Women has gone about seeking it in the worst possible way, one that alienates with confrontation and demands. It is entirely possible to get answers to tough questions without going this route. I hope Ordain Women supporters will realize this sooner rather than later. Those who do not may subsequently jeopardize their membership in the Lord’s kingdom as the so-called September Six did two decades ago.

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3 Responses

  1. Ezra says:

    “Public pressure will change absolutely nothing in this regard. It is, at best, a non-productive activity with no effect on if or when a final answer will be received.”

    While I do agree that public pressure is not always the best route, I do believe that this actually has a place in our religion. Just off the top of my head: Martin Harris went to Joseph Smith to ask specific questions; this turned into manuscript debacle. But a more positive example is Emma Smith regarding the Word of Wisdom. “the Prophet was led to ponder upon the matter; consequently, he inquired of the Lord concerning it.” — D&C 89 Introduction. The Prophet was led by his wife. She asked him questions and asked him to ask the Lord.

    “We sincerely ask our leaders to take this matter to the Lord in prayer.” This is from the Ordain Women Mission page. OW does write with strong language that invokes “need” ; while I do not necessarily agree with the strong language. I do not see a difference between these women who are trying as hard as they can in every way possible to make the brethren aware of their questions and concerns, and Emma and Martin in the early church.

    (Also the avenue of asking the highest church leadership has been discouraged we are to take our questions to our local leadership. Sometimes our local leaders don’t know. We are constantly saying that the men who execute the perfect mandates for our church are fallible, yet sometimes we refuse to believe that.)

  2. Sheryl says:

    Asking questions is absolutely central to our religion. Demanding a specific answer is not.

    Emma asked questions and accepted the answers she received–sometimes at great personal cost to herself. Martin Harris demanded a particular response–a response the Lord had already forbidden–and threw a temper tantrum until he got what he wanted.

    At this point, OW supporters are acting more like Martin Harris and less like Emma. They ask, and they ask, and they ask, but they reject the answers they are given, whether the answers come from a friend, a bishop, a stake president, or an apostle. I don’t know how many posts and blogs I’ve seen complaining that teachings aren’t “clear” enough or that leaders haven’t prayed enough.

    Church leaders are not obligated to keep dealing with these public shenanigans–they have millions of members around the world who need their attention and who are actually trying to follow the Lord instead of demanding that the whole Church revolve around their pet causes.

    OW supporters are welcome to think, to consider, and to ask questions. They are not welcome to attempt to bully Church leaders into doing things their way. The Lord loves us and knows how to run his Church. We can trust Him to give us the blessings and responsibilities we need most.

  1. June 12, 2014

    […] already pretty clearly drawn my line in the sand on the Ordain Women movement, so I can’t express any amount of surprise at the news that the leader of the movement may be […]

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