Women and the Priesthood

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Photo by Laura Fox

The Ordain Women movement is stupid.

I fancy myself a feminist, but I often have to follow that sentiment up with a qualifier. I’m not that kind of feminist. Feminism has been twisted and molested from what it once was.

The feminist movement originally aimed for equality between the sexes, especially when it came to voting, land ownership, sexual objectification and oppression, which I’m very glad for. As a liberal woman, I’m very grateful for my forbearers and their passion which has granted me many opportunities I would not have had one hundred or even fifty years ago.

Todays twisted feminism is one of a scowl and brash voice that all but forces men into a corner.

Recently, I was sitting in a classroom talking about gender issues. The male student presenting stated that he refuses to open doors for the ladies, even on a date. He also said that if his date waits outside of the car for him to open the door he will do the same next time they are getting into the car and make her open his door. My blood boiled. I raised my hand and argued that he was being disrespectful. He shot back at me that he was simply treating everyone equally. I came back with the argument that holding the door for someone is a sign of respect so he was in fact disrespecting his date and therefore there was no equality at all.

Now, I understand what this guy is trying to argue, I just don’t agree with it. I’ve seen with my own two eyes women who scoff or bark at a man holding the door for them, sneering that they can hold their own doors. Which is true.

The reason why I allow men to hold the door for me isn’t because my limp noodle arms can’t do it themselves, because they can. It’s because I view it as a kind gesture and a sign of respect for my womanhood. Which, as a feminist, I adore.

Yes, we still have very far to go when it comes to equality in the job market and in sexual objectification. Just read “Fifty Shades of Grey” or listen to “Blurred Lines” and you’ll see sexual equality has a long way to go. On second thought, please don’t read “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Ew.

I recall the first time I heard about the Ordain Women movement and all the sillies wearing pants to church. I laughed out loud and then asked myself, “Have these women never been to the temple?” If these women were paying any kind of attention in the temple they would realize they are arguing a moot point.

Another issue that makes me chuckle a bit is those groups petitioning to attend the Priesthood Session of General Conference. Ladies, it’s online. Live. You can watch it whilst sitting next to your very own priesthood holder. Or alone.

By drawing attention to yourselves and creating a distraction, you basically sealed your own fate on not getting into the priesthood session.

The famous turn of phrase of catching more flies with honey than vinegar is appropriate here. We ladies cannot simply demand things of the Church and its leaders and expect to get the desire of our hearts. Look where that got Martin Harris.

These groups should know better than to go in, guns figuratively blazing, and then be upset when they get a strong response.

This is not similar to all worthy males getting priesthood privileges. They are two very different beasts and to compare the two is hyperbolic.

I argue that gender equality does not mean gender sameness. As a feminist and someone who is extremely proud to be a woman in the Church and the world, why on earth would I want to be a man, act like a man, and have the same responsibilities of a man on top of the responsibilities of being a woman?

That’s not to say that I can’t change the oil in my car, pump my own gas, fix broken pipes, cut the grass or anything else stereotypically masculine in nature.

I can understand where these women are coming from, I truly do. I am a twenty-eight year old single Mormon woman living in Utah County. Oh, do I get it. I have struggled with the culture in Utah for eight years. Being a woman in the Church can be incredibly difficult.

Where I separate myself from these groups is in my ability to remove the culture of Utah and the Church from the actual organization and doctrine on the Church. I can tell you honestly and very boldly that I have never once felt marginalized, belittled, shamed or anything like unto by the authorities of the Church.

I have felt nothing but love, support, compassion and kindness from the theology and Gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thus, I do not feel the need to protest or picket. I know how the Lord views women and womanhood. And as a feminist, that’s all I need to know.

19 thoughts on “Women and the Priesthood

  1. Apologies, I saw the photo credits and thought it was author credits. Please review the corrected comment below:

    Dear Brittany,

    I respect the fact that you have no desire to hold the priesthood and feel comfortable with the church structure as it is. What I don’t respect is your belittling of the women that don’t feel the way you do. This is a deeply personal issue that is incredibly important to many mormon women, myself included. Calling that issue stupid is very insulting and cruel. You do not have to agree with it and you listed your reasons why, which is good. The more opinions the better. But degrading your fellow sisters by calling their issue stupid or describing how you laughed at them does not seem to be very feminist to me. You talk about respect for women in regards to the young man opening doors, but you don’t seem able to follow your own advice. For decades this…

  2. Wait, if a man not holding the door for a woman is disrespecting that woman, then wouldn’t not holding the door for a man be disrespecting that man? I think it’s nice of people to hold the door for me, and I’ll hold the door for people too, regardless of gender. I also think it’s rude to sit in the car until someone opens your door. You shouldn’t expect an act of service from somebody, especially if you don’t hold yourself to that same standard. Maybe you could open the door for them.

    And perhaps you don’t understand these feminist women as well as you think you do if you are calling them stupid and “chuckling” at them. You could be completely wrong about them and not even know it. I did not think the women who wanted to attend the Priesthood meeting were being loud or demanding, they simply waited in line outside. There was no banging on the doors or disrupting the…

  3. Also, as a side note, the part where you say that men holding the priesthood and women asking to be ordained are “two very different beasts,” comparing them would not be “hyperbolic” (exaggerated). That doesn’t even make sense. Maybe the term you are looking for is fallacious?

    In any event, I don’t see support for why they are very different.

  4. I found this article not only condescending to those who are doing the work you will benefit from, but quite ill mannered as well. I have met many feminists but never met a feminist who wears a scowl and has a brash voice or who practically forces men into a corner. Whom could you possibly be speaking of?

    I am one of those “sillies” who wore pants to church on December 16; I also participated in the October 2013 request for tickets to the priesthood session. I did not see a single person at that event with guns blazing, figuratively or otherwise. We are your sisters, we are the woman sitting next to you in Relief Society. We are the young mother encouraging a couple of children to be reverent in Sacrament Meeting. We are your Young Women’s leaders and your Young Women. We are the grandmother sitting in the next pew over. We are the neighbor who stands in line behind you…

  5. I hope more people write pieces just like this – to show how valid the Ordain Women movement really is. If the best argument you can come up with is to call people names like “stupid,” your argument is just that. “stupid.”

  6. I’m confused by most of your arguments, but I’m not completely sure if it’s because you haven’t studied these things or if you have studied them and just disagree. A few points:

    Many of your arguments reminded me of this article I wrote- http://youngmormonfeminists.org/2013/09/09/against-female-ordination-a-historical-comparison/

    I also suggest you study feminism (it’s an academic field with theory and history, not simply a hackneyed phrase tossed around by media outlets); many of your assertions in this article would be easily rebutted by any basic feminist primer out there. I recommend bell hooks’ Feminism is for Everybody- I’d be surprised if it wasn’t available at your library.

    To your point about the temple- I hardly think that is going to help many women in the church. Again, it might help to actually read from Mormon women themselves for whom the temple is so…

  7. To the author:

    Your perception of reality and assessment of what LDS women are trying to achieve is totally warped by your own conservative personal biases. You miss the point and overall context of gender equality and gender ‘sameness’ as a discussion and what that entails. It would probably take a month to write out every grievance I have against this article. “Feminists” don’t think the same, thankfully, and diversity of opinion is great, but this is garbage. As a gender scholar and former LDS member, you are no feminist that I recognize.

  8. I’d call this a “stupid” article, but I don’t want to sound like an idiot myself.

    So, I’ll just call it “uninformed.”

  9. “Todays twisted feminism is one of a scowl and brash voice that all but forces men into a corner.”

    Are you serious? This is an absurd statement. MALE SUPREMACY is the “scowl and brash” forcing women into a corner. If you can’t see that male supremacy is still a dominant ideology in current times, I think your article may be a bit out of touch with reality.

  10. I’d really like to know what the author’s definition of feminism is. She seems good at defining that her feminism must include chivalry (old-fashioned dating techniques) and being savvy with her car, but it’s definitely not asking for the same privileges that men have within a specific organization. Hmmm.

    It also has nothing to do with accepting that other women might feel differently than she does – because she has “felt nothing but love, support, compassion and kindness from the theology and Gospel of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” no one else is allowed to feel differently.

    Yet somehow, her “real” feminism includes common stereotypes and misconceptions about mainstream feminism, such as “wanting to be men,” calling feminist women “brash” and accusing them of having other unpleasant tones (are they also hysterical???), and oppressing men. Huh…

  11. I’m seeing it both ways, and I find it interesting bashing someone for traditional values is acceptable, but stating personal opinion as such is condescending and rude? It makes sense to me some women are seeking the priesthood and feel slighted, but it also makes sense some women do not feel slighted. It does not seem appropriate to call names on either side of the issue. While the article has stereotypical commentary, so do many of the comments. If her opinion had been on the side of Ordain Women I can imagine nothing but praise being posted here, but since it was in support of tradition, nothing but derogation. Really? While I agree some changes need to be made in a LOT of areas around the gender role and stereotype issues, being angry at people who speak up for their own feelings seems counter intuitive to people who want to be accepted however they choose to live. Just because you…

  12. We all have things we have opinions about but don’t state them for whatever reason. I know Brittany doesn’t approach OW supporters in person and tell them how stupid they are, but rather treats them with Love & respect. An opinion column gives someone a chance to express controversial views & I share the author’s opinion on this one.

    There is much more she could’ve said to back up her points, but probably had a limit to the length of the article. It was meant to catch people’s attention, and clearly it did just that.

    I think the main idea of all of this is that gospel principles & doctrine do not prohibit women from learning in the same way men do nor disallow them to wear pants to church. However, it does state that the priesthood is the responsibility of men to use God’s power to bless His children & perform saving ordinances. Women have equally important, but different…

  13. This is a complex issue, but there is a bottom line. If you are a member who disagrees with the way the LDS church is run, then leave it. I don’t want to hear “but its true but messed up, but true!”. You have way too much cognitive dissonance if you think something is so true that it is not true. There are over 40,000 ways to be a christian (denominations) and several ways to be a mormon (non LDS churches who use the book of mormon). Go start your own church. Religious liberty in this country was founded on that principle. If you don’t like your church, join one that you do. If it doesn’t exist, form one yourself with like minded individuals. Sounds like there are a lot of these ladies out there it shouldn’t be too hard to rent a building.

  14. Great article. “Fairness” and “Equality” do not always mean sameness. The reasoning is sound and it’s a point of view that deserves respect and consideration, just like every other opinion.

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