Posted by on Apr 10, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Nancy Ross teaches art history at a state university in Utah. She’s held a number of callings, including Relief Society pianist and teacher, cub scout leader, Early Morning Seminary and Primary teacher and activity days leader. She also has a profile on Ordain Women.

To try and understand more about those who participated in the event, I surveyed participants online and received more than 240 responses. The number of respondents does not reflect the total number of participants, which was over 500 in-person, but gives us insight to the composition of the group.

Who participated in the Ordain Women April 5th Action?

  • Members of the LDS Church, who make up 95% of respondents
  • People who attend church regularly, with 72% of respondents attending church 2-3 times per month or more – just 11% report that they do not attend church
  • Mostly young people, with 75% of participants being age 40 or younger
  • Lots of women, but 15% are male
  • Only 30% of respondents were from Utah and the rest were from other parts of the US and other countries, including Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Samoa, New Zealand and Germany.

Have participants experienced any difficulty with Church leaders as a result of supporting Ordain Women?

89% of respondents answered No

How did these people participate in this event?

  • 46% walked with Ordain Women to Temple Square
  • 24% filled out a proxy card request
  • 10% made a donation so that someone else could attend the event in person
  • 2% attended the Priesthood Session at their ward/stake building
  • 1% babysat for someone who attended in person
  • 18% participated in some other way

What made these people want to participate in this event?

(selected responses)

“I had a great experience last fall and wanted to continue to participate with my sisters in the organization. This is a VALID QUESTION for our leaders, and I will continue to stand up and be counted in support of it.”

“If Mormonism has taught me anything, it’s that when someone is hurting, you show up. I am hurting. My sisters are hurting. I had to show up.”

“I want the Church to become kinder to women and to not box us into tiny little roles. I want the Church to be a place where my daughters will want to be instead of a place that asks women to deny their talents and skills to only become mothers.”

“I do not like people bullying people and it was apparent to me from the church’s spokesman Jessica Moody that the church was being a bully and not truthful”

“I feel bereft that my church does not maker more of an effort to involve women in leadership and church governance, despite the range of ways this could occur. It was important to go on the record with my support for women’s ordination.”

“I strongly believe that our Heavenly Parents love all of their children equally, and that they want us to have equal opportunities and authority. I believe that the current Priesthood policy is not divinely inspired, and is simply the result of imperfect humans bringing in their own biases.”

“The Ordain Women action is one of the things that gives me hope for the LDS church, specifically my ability to belong in the LDS community. I wanted to–in a positive and emotionally non-rebellious way–let church leaders know that I exist, matter, and have needs that are going unnoticed by them. I was there for all the women that are spiritual pillars. I was there because I cannot expect others to make the church a better place for me and my family. That’s my responsibility and my right.”

“I think Ordain Women is staring a much needed conversation on women in the LDS church, and I want to be involved in the conversation. I also believe that women’s duties in the church need to be expounded upon, and I think Ordain Women is contributing to that as well.”

“I don’t agree with all of the actions of Ordain Women, but if men are able to attend the women’s meeting as I saw last week, women should be able to attend the men’s meeting.”

“I love and respect the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve, and I believe they are some of the most gracious and loving men, in addition to being prophets of God. However, even with their leadership, there are real ways within the church that women could be, and indeed, need to be treated better, and not just a few isolated problems, but many problems in many parts of the church all around the world. That these situations exist, even in God’s church that is led by good inspired men, demonstrates that to solve them a fundamental change needs to be made. So many women say “I don’t feel strongly because I have always been treated well by men in the church”. To which I say “A woman’s experience in the church should not depend on the generosity of the men around her.””

“I felt some reservations since I am not an active member but felt it was important to stand in solidarity with those who are looking for equality. During the event I felt sadness watching women who sincerely believe the LDS church to be true and only want access to the priesthood, being turned away in tears. I did not expect to be as emotional about the experience as I ended up being.”

Please describe your experience leading up to, during, and after this event

(selected response)

“I was excited about the chance to do this again, and didn’t think that it would be much different than it was in October, so I was horrified when I read the Church’s statement asking us not to go on Temple Square. I still can’t understand how they see us as outside protestors when the group is so clearly made up of people who care deeply about the Church. During the event, I was really happy with how peaceful and reverent it was, and then was even more horrified when I heard the Church’s statement about the action. I had felt welcome on Temple Square and had thought of the action as an important spiritual experience. I really resent being painted as an angry protestor who ignored requests to leave. It feels like a personal attack from the Church I love and I’m heartbroken about it. I really think the Church doesn’t know how to see OW and only has two categories: members who toe the line and angry apostates. I hope that we can continue to show Church leaders that we are members of the Church who love and care about it, but also want to see it change for the better. I also have had much stronger negative reactions to my participation from my friends this time. I’ve had friends accuse me of being willfully rebellious and it hurts. I’m really sad about how negative the reaction has been after a lovely day yesterday.”

“I felt some reservations since I am not an active member but felt it was important to stand in solidarity with those who are looking for equality. During the event I felt sadness watching women who sincerely believe the LDS church to be true and only want access to the priesthood, being turned away in tears. I did not expect to be as emotional about the experience as I ended up being.”

“I was very very nervous to attend, and didn’t want to ask anyone to go with me. I ended up asking a non-LDS friend who is an advocate for gay rights, because I thought she would be non-judgemental on the issue. She had a wonderful time and told me she felt the spirit for the first time in a long time. I also felt the spirit throughout the action. I am so glad I went. I have had some people angry with me but I don’t care. I can’t trade in my integrity to make people happy. Also my husband was supportive, which I wasn’t sure he would be. He didn’t attend, but he completely understands why I did.”

How did the participants feel about their participation?

83% of respondents rated their experience as Positive or Very Positive