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Some reporters and photographers entered the square with the women Saturday, but most were asked to leave after about 10 or 15 minutes.
The church said the media ban was consistent with a long-standing policy against news reporting from Temple Square, and that the interaction between the press and "protesters" last fall was disruptive to the sacred atmosphere of the place. The church didn’t want a repeat of that.
Notwithstanding any policy, photojournalists and reporters often have been allowed on Temple Square during the twice-yearly gatherings to capture church members’ images and their reactions to conference talks and announcements.
The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists tried, but failed, to persuade church officials to allow media access this year.
LDS officials initially had asked Ordain Women not to enter Temple Square this conference, but by last week apparently had accepted that the group intended to enter.
On Saturday, the women were met at the gate by a church representative, who asked them to go to the public protest area outside the square, Kelly said. Instead, they walked onto the square, where they formed a line circling the Tabernacle and, one by one, asked a church spokeswoman for tickets to the priesthood session. Each woman was rejected.
Ordain Women had hired police officers as escorts Saturday night.
Kelly called the church’s statement after the event "unnecessarily harsh." She said once the women were inside the square, they were not asked to leave.
The group’s leaders were careful about Ordain Women’s image, hoping to convey that the movement is comprised of faithful Mormons who respectfully differ with their LDS leaders — as well as a majority of their sisters in the church.
Only 8 percent of Mormon women, according to a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, believe women should ordained to the priesthood.
On the group’s website, Ordain Women’s leaders gave these directives to those taking part in Saturday’s march:
• Don’t use sarcasm or speak contemptuously of the church.
• Don’t call it a "protest."
• Use conciliatory and calm body language and tone, if confronted.
• Wear Sunday best clothes.
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