Posted by on Mar 16, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Bryndis Roberts is the Chair of Ordain Women’s Executive Board.

Two photos of Bryndis Roberts. In the picture on the right she is standing, wearing a white dress and hat. In the picture on the left she is sitting, wearing a black and white dress and sunglasses.

With all that is happening in the world, a legitimate question can be raised as to why it even matters that the LDS Church has a “male-only” priesthood.  After all, in the grand scheme of things, the 16 million members (or, to use the statistics of the LDS Church, 15,634,199 members) of the Church seem fairly minuscule when compared to the number of people who practice Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or Christianity.[1]

Image of a pie chart that breaks down percentages of world religions.

Moreover, not only is the LDS Church, comparatively speaking, a “minority religion,” it is, despite its claims of being a worldwide church, still very U.S.-centric or, as some would say, very Utah-centric.

So, why DOES it matter if women are ordained in the LDS Church????

I have given this issue lots of thought and lots of prayer.  I believe that there are many reasons it matters for those for whom the LDS Church is their faith home.  There are also reasons that it matters for those who are no longer members of the LDS Church but still have ties to the Church, and for those who have never had any affiliation with the Church.

  • It matters because in the “Mormon” corridor in the United States and especially in Utah, the LDS Church wields an enormous amount of influence on political issues and the disapproval of the LDS Church can be the death knell on issues like medical marijuana use.
  • It matters because although the tenets and doctrine of the LDS Church extol and celebrate the importance of families, the LDS Church, as a general practice, excludes mothers from the circles when their babies are being blessed.
  • It matters because although the LDS Relief Society is often touted as the largest women’s organization in the world, the Relief Society does not control its own budgets, agenda, membership rolls, or curriculum.
  • It matters because although the LDS Church is preparing to celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Relief Society, that number does not accurately reflect the period of time that the Relief Society has been functioning and the true history behind the suspension or disbanding of the Relief Society in 1844 is not taught; in fact, many LDS women do not even know that it was disbanded.
  • It matters because no matter how many women or girls are baptized into the LDS Church, their baptisms cannot serve as the foundation for the growth of additional wards in the LDS Church.
  • It matters because no matter how educated, skilled, or talented the women in the LDS Church are, most administrative positions are held by men and ALL major decisions are either made by men or have to be approved by men.
  • It matters because although Elder David A. Bednar said in a talk at the April 2012 General Conference that “[w]orthiness and willingness—not experience, expertise, or education—are the qualifications for priesthood ordination,” he forgot to mention that being a male is also a qualification.
  • It matters because in too many wards and branches in the LDS Church, women are told that they need to modulate their voices and speak in gentler tones.[2]
  • It matters because Mormon girls and young women are deprived of the opportunity to see and learn from women role models in their faith who can exercise real power.
  • It matters because whole new generations of Mormon boys and young men are being raised in a culture that does not allow them to see or interact with girls and young women in their faith on an equal footing.
  • It matters because there are MANY wards and branches that are in desperate need of more priesthood holders to serve as local leaders but because only men can hold the priesthood, ALL WOMEN, no matter how faithful and stalwart they are, are automatically excluded from consideration.
  • It matters because, since the LDS Church does not use over half of its available workforce to the fullest extent, so much of God’s work is not being done because there are not enough hands to do the work.

It matters as long as any one of these conditions or situations exists and I will continue to work and pray for the day when there is true equality in faith in the LDS Church and all of my siblings, who have the desire and aptitude to serve, can be ordained.

[1] The discussion of why members of the LDS Church are not counted as Christians will have to wait for another day.

[2] I can personally attest to this phenomenon.  My powerful speaking voice has helped me to achieve success as a trial attorney.  However, during my service as Relief Society President in my local ward, my powerful speaking voice was viewed as such a liability by one of my local leaders that he took it upon himself to counsel with me about my voice.