Women who are Mormons are noticing that Mormonism isn’t very friendly to women.
Last year, when Kristy Money was planning a baby-naming ceremony in her Mormon congregation, she asked if she could hold her newborn during the ceremony, sitting or standing inside the circle of men who would bless her daughter.
“All I want is to hold my baby,” Dr. Money, a 29-year-old psychologist in Santa Monica, Calif., said she told her bishop. She said he refused, explaining that only men who hold the priesthood could participate.
So Kristy Money should get out of that congregation and that religion so that her daughter will not be raised in a religion that treats her as an inferior. I don’t suppose she will though.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, whose priests and governing authorities form an entirely male gallery of leaders, is facing a geyser of questions from women who want more participation and visibility in virtually every aspect of Mormon life. While many Mormon women say they are satisfied with the way things are, others want to hold the priesthood along with men, essentially erasing the faith’s long-held idea that God wants men and women to perform different roles.
Not just different. Don’t sugar-coat it, New York Times. It’s the religion’s long-held idea that God wants men to have all the authority and women to be subordinate to them. “Different roles” is way too euphemistic. Don’t do that.
In response to an article in The New York Times on Sunday, in which church leaders said they were interested in expanding opportunities for female members, Mormon women poured out requests: to be Sunday school presidents, to plan worship, to be allowed to teach seminary while they have children under 18, and to let their daughters serve as ushers.
“My husband’s group of young men recently trained to climb Mount Rainier together,” Jennifer McDonald, a 36-year-old clinical psychologist in DuPont, Wash., who supports women’s ordination, wrote in an email. The corresponding activities for young women were “quilting, making friendship bracelets, and hair styling,” she said.
See that? That’s “different” but it’s also better versus worse, higher versus lower. Crafts are fun, but not when they’re the only option.
Many asked that church authorities stop trying to inculcate chastity by comparing women who have had sex outside of marriage to “pieces of chewed gum, boards with holes nailed into them, muffins that someone else had already tasted,” said Elisa Koler, 29, a teacher and former missionary who stopped attending church because of concerns about how women are treated.
Elisa Koler had the right idea. More women should do that, and so should more men. Get out.
More than 1,300 Mormon women have signed a manifesto outlining specific changes. The document, titled “All Are Alike Unto God,” asks the men who run the church to consider women’s ordination, which officials in Salt Lake City say is out of the question. Only opening the priesthood to women can address the gender imbalance in the church, contends Kate Kelly, a human rights attorney in Washington who founded the Ordain Women movement. “Not only do Mormons believe the priesthood is the power of God, and can perform and officiate in miracles, but it’s also completely intertwined with the governance structure of the church,” she said. “There is no amount of incremental change, and no amount of additional concessions that the church can make to extend an olive branch to women without changing that fundamental inequality.”
Exactly. It’s not just a job, it’s the power structure of the whole organization. When women are officially excluded, women are officially an inferior class. That’s a bad arrangement.