This post is by Lorie Winder Stromberg, Ordain Women Executive Board Member. In it she provides more information about the “Keys” public art installation that is part of the October 2015 Ordain Women Art Action.
Americans were captivated by Pope Francis during his visit to Cuba and the United States last week—and understandably so. There is no question that his rejection of the trappings of power as well as his return to the egalitarian fundamentals of Christian faith and works have revitalized Catholicism and inspired many of us outside of the Catholic community. “Preach the Gospel always,” he said this year, “and, if necessary, use words.” Clearly, Pope Francis is a good man. But even good men have their blind spots—far too often, at the expense of women. Catholic women, like Mormon women, are denied ordination and still have limited access to governance and voice within their religious community.
We refuse to tolerate discrimination against women in our secular institutions. Why do we so readily accept it in our religious communities? Further, why do women remain in religious institutions that marginalize us? There are many reasons—belief, conviction, the desire to serve, cultural identity, family ties, political and societal influences, to name just a few. However, if we care about a just society and recognize that religions significantly impact the broader culture, we all have a stake in whether or not our faith communities are equitable, regardless of religious affiliation.
When Pope Francis visited Brazil a few years ago, he told millions of Catholics, “Quiero lío,” loosely translated, “I want to shake things up.” In Mormonism, former Church President Gordon B. Hinckley, when asked by a reporter if the policy excluding women from priesthood ordination could be changed, said, “Yes. But there’s no agitation for that.” Though not exactly what either church leader anticipated, we at Ordain Women are faithfully agitating for gender equality in response to President Hinckley’s challenge, just as our Roman Catholic sisters at the Women’s Ordination Conference are shaking things up in response to Pope Francis’s call, “Quiero lío.”
This Saturday Ordain Women is returning to Temple Square/City Creek Park. Reflecting this year’s OW theme, “Honoring Our Past, Envisioning Our Future,” Saturday’s action will take the form of a public art project and an on-going art installation. Immediately after the Saturday afternoon session of conference, a number of OW supporters will create “living picture” scenes of events in LDS history in locations around Temple Square. The scenes will mark the opening of the newly-renovated LDS Church History Museum by depicting some of the diverse ways Mormon women historically have practiced their faith, including instances when women acted with institutionally-sanctioned authority presently associated with priesthood office.
Following the historical presentations, we will proceed with those featured in the depictions to City Creek Park, where we will inaugurate the “Keys” public art installation. The “keys of the priesthood,” presently given only to men in the Church, carry with them significant ecclesiastical and administrative authority. One by one, all participants will attach keys—symbolic of our desire for women to have full access to ordination and decision-making authority in the LDS Church—to a gated structure designed by artist Ginny Huo. The “Keys” public art installation will also be featured as part of the women in religion initiative at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Salt Lake City, 15-19 October 2015. As keys continue to be added, it will remain a permanent monument in Utah to the movement for women’s equality in religion.
We invite all who support gender equality to become part of the “Keys” art action. You can participate in a few ways—in person or by proxy:
- Join us in Salt Lake City at City Creek Park on Saturday, October 3. Participants should bring a key (or extra keys, if you have them) and arrive no later than 3:30 pm for a brief prayer service and action instructions. Make sure you RSVP on our Facebook event page.
- If you are unable to attend in person, you can participate by proxy. A key will be added on your behalf to the “Keys” public art installation during the inaugural ceremony. Let us know if you’d like your initials or your first name written on the key. We hope to add hundreds of keys, so please submit your proxy key request using this form.