Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mormon Women & The Priesthood: On Not Mocking Another Person's Battle

I've been trying to formulate my own thoughts into a blog post about the growing movement of Mormon women wanting to be ordained to the priesthood in our church. I couldn't quite get my words straight, but then this blog post did it for me:

For reals, read it. The writer, Mel, really nails my thoughts so well. (And she quotes/links to Kylee's awesome post on the same topic that is definitely worth clicking through to as well. Preach, sister.)

THIS is what matters most to me in Mormonism, reflected in Mel's article:
"What really concerns me though, what has caused me to speak on this issue, is the appalling hatefulness aimed at Mormon feminists and at the Ordain Women movement. Hatefulness that is being spewed forth from the mouths of men and women (I especially abhor that it's coming from other women) of the church. It is wholly unchristian and needs to stop immediately...I don't believe that it is a sin to express concerns, doubts, and questions. While some are too hesitant to embrace faith in the face of uncertainty, others are too quick to feel threatened and condemn others for asking questions and expressing concerns."
THAT is a religious statement I can put an amen behind...not the mocking, laughter, or eye-rolling of fellow church members, at a topic that is obviously important to some women. Where is the gospel in that, friends?

A dismissive, spiteful reaction to someone else's struggle hurts my heart so much more than a crowd of women wanting to attend Priesthood session hurts me.

How dare we call each other's testimonies into question. It's not our place. (Throwback to my blog throwdown of the summer: The Problem Mormon Women Need to Worry About More than Bikinis)

Please remember: just because someone's battle isn't your personal battle, it doesn't mean it isn't important.

Just because you're happy with your current female role and the church the way it is (and power to you, carry on), doesn't mean someone else lacks a testimony because they question or seek change, or talk or dress or believe or act differently than the norm. (Remember how I feel about the value of hard religious questions.) Let us be kind, ladies and gents. To quote Kylee:
"I do not agree with everything they have to say and my heart and head are not as concerned about some of their deepest and impassioned causes. As I am sure they are not concerned with some of the things that consume my heart. However, because they are my sisters, their pains and their concerns, matter to me. This is part of my baptismal covenant."
THAT is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Right there. Like Kylee, the question of ordaining women isn't my personal battle either -- it's not an issue I think about or worry about often or ever. But kindness and community are hot topics, for me. And now I'll end with one of my favorite quotes of all time, because I really feel the gospel in these words:

"I think if you have a heart like unto God’s own heart, you are interested in little things that may not be important to a lot of other people but would be very important to the person involved." Vaughn J. Featherstone


Mikaela D said...

Amen, amen, and amen. You nailed it again!

Kylee said...

thanks for the shout out and your echo of support

Brooke said...

You have great, amazing insights. I guess the thing I have a hard time with is what those desires about wanting to be ordained are truly founded in. And that's something an outsider could never know, so I guess it's best to stop judging!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this, Katie. I struggle with this issue a lot myself, but I tend not to talk about it to anyone but my closest friends. I am afraid that if the sisters who sit next to me in Relief Society knew that women's position in the church is a source of daily pain and doubt for me that they would not want me to be there. A few weeks ago, a sweet sister in our ward sang that wonderful primary song, "I'll Walk With You," and I found myself in tears wondering if the women around me would really be willing to walk with me on this--or if, like so many people I've encountered on the internet, they would cross to the other side of the road and leave me on my own. Thank you for your kindness, Katie.

Melanie said...

Thanks so much for linking to my post and for your own thoughts. I took a quick look through your blog, and I love it. You've got a new reader!

Camille Millecam Whiting said...

You and Kylee, two of my favorite women in the history of ever for good reasons!

Anonymous said...

I certainly don't support hateful or degrading responses to what some of those in the feminist mormon movement are doing. But I have also found that I am treated as being hateful because I take a stand in opposition to what some are doing.

I know that many struggle with this and it is a difficult battle for them. I would never demean that or criticize them for struggling with feminist concerns. But the battle they go through hasn't been kept private. Some have made it public to the point that I feel it is appropriate to take a stand. I don't hate feminists at all, but I believe that what some are saying and doing is spiritually damaging. I speak out to warn others of these dangers, not to demean the feminists or express hatred towards them.

But too often they demand that we approve of what they are doing instead of being comfortable with us accepting their position but not supporting it. Approval doesn't automatically equal love, and acceptance doesn't automatically equal hate.

Love can be shown even when in opposition to another. Members don't have to remain silent on either side to show love.

Savannah said...

yeah girl. if i could, i would make this mandatory reading for every sister everywhere, on all sides of the issue.

also MAJOR PROPS to the goofy movie reference in your comments section. !!! powerline was my favorite star from ages 6-9.

Britney said...

I loved the quote about needing to keep our covenants by being concerned over the things that concern others, mourning and suffering with them like Christ did. I recently re-read the first section of the first lesson missionaries give from PMG and the first message people should be getting from LDS missionaries is that God is a God who cries with us and rejoices with us alike, and we are to become like God.

If we only understood this better about God and could deepen our commitment to becoming like Him in this way I think many pains on both ends would be lessened in the world.

Maggie B. said...

It's interesting to note that this same issue pops up in other religious communities. I know catholics have been saying for years and years that women should have equal pastoral rights as men.

While I am neither LDS nor catholic, and the church I belong to does allow for women priets, I find it an interesting topic. I guess, in the long run, I find it difficult to believe that men - and only men - are suitable to preaching the word of God. Does a chromosomal difference matter that much? Do I honestly think that Jesus said that only men could preach the word?

I don't believe the God of love would segregate a entire gender class. That's not very loving, is it? Huh.

Cammie Smith said...

I loed reading your thoughts about this. I, too, have tried to figure out how to formulate my thoughts on this issue. I have a cousin (who I deeply respect) who is involved in the Ordain Women initiative, and while I don't share her views altogether, you are right--it is HER struggle. And who am I to belittle that? Thanks for sharing.