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Kirby: Why Mormons should allow female bishops

By Robert Kirby

| Tribune Columnist

First Published Jun 20 2014 07:21 am • Last Updated Jun 20 2014 07:08 pm

The mess and holler over Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly’s possible excommunication from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints continues. We’ll know soon enough whether she’s to be burned at the spiritual stake.

Kate has been summoned to a disciplinary hearing Sunday at the ward she attended in Virginia to address concerns about apostasy, specifically that she won’t stop advocating for the priesthood ordination of LDS women.

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Note: I think that’s it. The truth is I don’t know and neither do you. She could be a witch. Hey, I’m just saying.

The outcome of Sunday’s "court o’ love" is a foregone conclusion for many people. Some I’ve talked to seem to think Kate will have her membership torn from her as a way of putting her in her place.

Others insist that she should have seen it coming and mended her heretical ways before being torn from the bosom of the savior for her own good.

Whatever happens will be interesting for Mormons, but you know what would be most interesting of all? If Kate came out of the hearing with a promotion instead — not to the lowly Aaronic priesthood reserved for boys but to the full-bore Melchizedek Priesthood currently invested in older men, including geezers such as me.

What if instead of being cast out, Kate was called to serve where no woman has served before — as a bishop of an LDS ward?

That would certainly shake things up. We’ve been patriarchal for so long that most of us wouldn’t know what to do if our congregational leadership balance suddenly shifted to the female side.

I’d know what to do. If the bishop in the Rosecrest First Ward suddenly didn’t have a Y chromosome, I’d do whatever she told me, that’s what. I’m far more used to taking orders from women.

My mother is a woman. So is my wife. My editor is the second toughest woman in the entire world. I only have daughters and most of my grandchildren are female.


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Being bossed around by men is easier to cope with for the simple fact that I understand the way other men think. Also, I’m allergic to male authority.

For example, with a male bishop there’s always that mutually understood fundamental gospel premise that if he oversteps his authority, I just might punch him in the face.

I haven’t done that yet. The highest up the priesthood chain of command I’ve ever slugged was a first counselor in another ward’s elders’ quorum presidency. But it was basketball and he swung first.

It’s less socially acceptable — whether in church or out — to go around punching women, including crazy mean bossy ones. There’s a certain amount of deference afforded women even when they’re exercising unrighteous dominion.

If my LDS bishop was a woman, I’d end up doing more volunteer welfare assignments, skipping church less and probably even working in the Primary. And if she wasn’t happy with the job I did, I could end up attending church in the custodial closet.

On the bright side, with a female bishop I might be — entirely against my will — forced to improve my odds of not going to hell. Or at least not the deepest part where Hitler and Mr. Rogers are.

Personally I’m all for women getting ordained. Why not? As a rule they’re kinder, gentler and more loving than men. Maybe room should be made for them.

They would have to get their own levels of priesthood authority, though. Toward that end I’ll support anything but the Menopausidik Priesthood.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.



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