Women and the Priesthood - "Down With The Status Quo?!"

It makes a lot of people uncomfortable when I say I'm a feminist - often almost immediately I'm classified a certain way just by saying that term. And I have studied a lot about feminism - both world and religious specifically in regards to LDS Women. I've read about every book out there by "LDS" Feminists. In my undergrad I took a philosophy class that focused specifically on feminism. When I told friends and family I was taking that class the most common response was shock and questions like, "Are you leaving the Church?!"

It ended up being however one of my most favorite classes of my entire undergrad. I even did an entire undergraduate research paper and presentation at a national level on feminism.

So guess what??

I don't let the term 'feminism' define me except in the way I choose. The underlying definition of feminism is - "a belief or understanding of women." So I sure hope all of us are feminists. The feminism class and my subsequent research for both my research project and ultimately my book simply did one thing for me - it helped me to solidify and create a concrete foundation of what I believe it is to be a woman and my perception of my role, responsibilities and capabilities.

Now why do I tell you all of this?

For a couple of reasons but the main one is a foundation for what I say next.

I've heard a bit and done my own research about the Ordain Women movement. If you want, take a minute to check out their website -   They are very respectful and not hateful at all. I think knowledge is most often power so don't be afraid of reading what they have to say - decide for yourself what you believe with no animosity for what they believe. Just because they believe differently doesn't mean your beliefs need to be threatened if you feel secure in what you feel, believe and have come to know for yourself.

But now this is my blog so yep I'm going to tell you my opinion and belief about the whole women and the priesthood, ordination, and a little bit of feminism in general :)

One of the things that is most difficult for me to hear/swallow in the feminism debate but specifically within the LDS sphere is the comment that those of us who are not "fighting the status quo" are only not doing so because either A: We are mindless sheep, B: We aren't able to form our own opinions, C: We OBVIOUSLY haven't thought about the issue enough, or D: We are afraid to go against the grain. I take issue with this because I am happy with the "status quo" - or women's position, role and place in the LDS Church, but I have thought about it deeply. I have researched heavily. I have read articles after article with a number of arguments and points. I have my own strongly held opinions and beliefs.

So why am I "ok" with the "status quo?"

I've come to recognize and interesting phenomenon within the church in the last few years. Let me use an example - say the gospel as a whole is a pie - a whole wonderful pie (mmm I really love pie). The pie is made up of a number of different slices - all still part of the same pie but also separate to a certain degree, though the slice itself wouldn't exist without the full pie and has to be "influenced" or connected to the rest of the pie to exist.

What seems to happen is that with the different "slices" of the gospel is too often we try and take a piece out of the pie and act as if it is the whole pie - existing independently of the rest of the pie and forgetting that it is insuperably connected to the rest of the pie and relies on the rest of the pie. For the sake of clarity and understanding I'm including a portion from the Ordain Women FAQ:

"Despite their gifts, talents, and aspirations, women are excluded from almost all positions of clerical, fiscal, ritual, and decision-making authority.

While women perform significant service in the Church’s auxiliaries, such as the Primary, Relief Society, Sunday School, and Young Women’s organizations, their contributions are always mediated and under the direction of male priesthood leaders. According to the Church’s Gospel Principles manual, “Men use priesthood authority to preside in the Church. . . . Women who hold positions in the Church . . . work under the direction of the priesthood.” As such, Mormon women have many delegated responsibilities but lack the authority to define and oversee those responsibilities.

This lack of female authority does not stop at the church doors. The Church’s Proclamation on the Family declares that men preside over their wives and families, thus preserving an antiquated and unequal model in both the domestic and ecclesiastical realms.

While many thoughtful men in priesthood leadership positions make decisions that include input from women, the male governing structure of the Church means that women’s voices are inevitably left out, overlooked, and discounted.

Since leadership and positional authority in Mormonism is inextricably tied to priesthood ordination, it is clear that Mormon women must be ordained in order to be full and equal participants in their Church."

So lets take a step back - if we look at the entire picture and foundational principles of the gospel why are we on this earth? To be tested, experience things we couldn't without a physical body, come to know Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ and through the Savior become perfected to return to live with Heavenly Father again.

Am I denied any of these things by not holding the priesthood?


I am definitely tested enough without holding the priesthood myself, thank you very much :P

I am experiencing life by having a physical body and again I'm experiencing plenty as is - even decision making, responsibility and plenty of opportunity to make decisions. If you've ever been involved in a Ward Council, when functioning as it should there are plenty of decisions made by the women that are part of the counsel.

Lastly, I can definitely and work on daily developing a deeper relationship with my Savior and Heavenly Father. I do that through prayer, scripture study, church attendance, temple attendance and just striving to know His will. And I do all of it without holding the priesthood and none of those things are inhibited by me not holding the priesthood.

The Atonement also applies to me as fully as anyone else - man or woman. Thankfully, all I have to do is strive to repent and I can be forgiven regardless of the calling I hold or that I don't hold the priesthood personally.

Lastly, I can be a full and equal participant in the Church. Does it mean I will have the same responsibilities or opportunities and anyone else in the church? No but that is applicable to both men and women. The wonderful thing about the church is we are each given different opportunities, blessings and responsibilities - why do we create this false dichotomy and say one is better than another. The church organization is a horizontal line not a vertical one - there are no ladders to climb because it isn't about where we serve in the Church - we can still accomplish what the Lord would have us PERSONALLY do and learn with the callings, responsibilities and opportunities that come to us personally.

Thus, the opinion I've gained for myself is that when I look at the ENTIRE pie - the Church structure doesn't need to be different. I feel it is as the Lord would have it be and that I'm denied nothing as it is currently.

So why am I ok with the "status quo?"

Because it doesn't really matter in the eternal scheme of things - I can still gain exaltation!

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