Why are you engaging in the April Ordain Women “Ready to Witness” Action?
While we hope for both the blessings and the authority of priesthood ordination, we stand with many Mormon women in calling for a number of policy changes that will foster a more inclusive church. We applaud recent Church initiatives, including an emphasis on collaborative, gender-inclusive councils, greater encouragement for women to serve missions, and the opportunity for women to both pray and speak in general conference. This April’s “Ready to Witness” action encourages a change in the present policy that denies women the ability to be official witnesses at LDS baby blessings, baptisms and temple marriages and excludes women from participating in baby blessings and being present during young women’s worthiness interviews. In joining together, we are punctuating our commitment to Mormonism and our fervent desire that Church policies and practices better reflect the inclusiveness of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What exactly is going to happen?
The Ordain Women “Ready to Witness” initiative invites women and male supporters to download or purchase a postcard or fill out our online form and share their personal stories and hope for a change in these policies with a general Church leader of their choice. Such stories can:
- Explain what it feels like to sit outside the circle when your baby is blessed and be excluded as an official witness to this significant moment in your child’s life.
- Share the moment you were told that you could not act as an official witness to your best friend’s baptism, because present Church policy states that witnessing is a role reserved for men who hold the priesthood.
- Describe the concern you feel about young women, alone in a room with an adult man during a “worthiness interview,” being asked personal–at times probing–questions without a woman present to witness.
- Tell of the moment you realized that your Young Women’s president could not serve as the witness at your temple sealing because presently only men are considered acceptable official witnesses.
- Ask why, when women were chosen to serve as the first witnesses of the resurrected Christ, such policies keep women from serving as official witnesses to these moments in a church that bears His name.
Ordain Women will be tracking how many submissions our leaders receive, so please share your story online with us HERE.
On Friday, April 1, supporters of the “Ready to Witness” initiative will gather at 10:00 AM for a brief devotional at City Creek Park and then walk to the Church Administration Building to deliver the stories we collect. We will be in front of the Church Administration Building on Friday, April 1, Saturday, April 2, and Sunday, April 3, during daylight hours, to collect additional postcards and personal stories and then deliver them to Church leaders on Monday, April 4. We invite all who support this effort to join us in front of the Administration Building during one or all of these days.
You can purchase postcards HERE or you can use the images and information HERE to print them yourself. You can also use any other postcard you choose. Mail your postcards to any General Authority or Church Officer with whom you wish to share your story. The address is:
Church Administration Building
47 E South Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84150
Ordain Women asserts that it engages in faith-affirming, religious action. How is this compatible with the LDS doctrine of continuing revelation?
Our understanding of the gospel is that the heavens are yet open. As we obtain more light and knowledge, we expect Church policies and practices to reflect that increased wisdom. The 9th Article of Faith states: “We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.” That Church members play a role in this process is demonstrated throughout the Doctrine and Covenants. We ask questions and articulate the need for revelation. According to President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “… if we stop asking questions, stop thinking, stop pondering, we can thwart the revelations of the spirit. Remember, it was the questions young Joseph asked that opened the door for the restoration of all things. … How often has the Holy Spirit tried to tell us something we needed to know, but couldn’t get past the massive, iron gate of what we thought we already knew?” It is our faith in this process that compels us to action.
Is this a protest?
No. It is a petition for inclusion, and, as such, we see it as both faith-affirming and consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Why are you advocating in public?
Mormon women are not ordained to the priesthood, which means they lack positional authority and the institutional power to influence church-wide policy. Public advocacy is one of the few options open to those of us who actively seek the ordination of women and other equitable changes in Church practices and policies. Increasingly, women are finding the courage to express their desire to participate more fully with men in all aspects of church governance, service and sacred ordinances.
If I can’t join you at the Church Administration Building, but want to be supportive, what can I do?
First and foremost, you can join hundreds of others in sending personalized postcards–as detailed above–to general Church leaders of your choice, and then share your story with us. You can also continue the conversation by discussing your thoughts about women’s greater inclusion in the Church with friends, family and members of your local congregations; spread the word on your personal Facebook pages, blogs and Twitter accounts; and, add your profile to ours at ordainwomen.org.
I’m afraid to participate with you. Do you anticipate disciplinary action?
We cannot predict the response of individual church leaders. Many of our local leaders have been loving and supportive. Others have not. We believe our actions are consistent with the gospel of Jesus Christ and the doctrines of the LDS Church. We have worked with the government of Salt Lake City to obtain the appropriate permits. Though our action is not a protest, we have applied for a “free speech” permit. The City of Salt Lake requires it of any large group gathering in public spaces, such as City Creek Park and the sidewalks near the Church Office Building. We recognize that there might be social or personal costs to participants. Only you can weigh your circumstances and concerns and decide if this is the right thing for you to do.