Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Op-ed: Decision has been made for you, LDS feminists

By Bridget Jack Jeffries

First Published Jun 25 2014 03:54 pm • Last Updated Jun 25 2014 03:54 pm

Few events in the life of a church can match the warmth and hopefulness of a ceremony to welcome a new baby into the community.

Earlier this year, I stood before my Protestant congregation and held my 5-month-old son as two pastors (who both happened to be women) laid their hands on him and prayed for him. We asked that the congregation share in the responsibility of his Christian upbringing and prayed for the day that my son would come to know the Lord as his own. As his mother, my primary role in his Christian nurture was acknowledged by my presence and participation in the ceremony, and tears slipped from my eyes as we finished. To say it was a special moment for me as a mother would be an understatement.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

I have to wonder why the LDS Church is so determined to ensure that its own women can never write what I just wrote, that its new mothers only experience such ceremonies as bystanders rather than as participants. Furthermore, my LDS friends tell me that when a father comes under church discipline, he will be barred from participation in ceremonies such as the blessing and naming of his children as part of his punishment. This outsider finds it curious that the church punishes unrighteous fathers by treating them like faithful mothers.

In my time as a student at Brigham Young University, I asked my share of questions about church policies that govern LDS women. Frequently I had my concerns brushed off with magical hand-waving terms such as "separate gender roles" (modern-day codespeak for "women are inferior") coupled with insistence that the Mormon church really, really does value its women and regard them as equals.

I never hear anything at my own church about how special women are; perhaps we are just too busy giving them important and visible roles to bother? If you have to constantly reassure someone that you really do love them, value them and respect them, it may be because your actions are telling a different story. In any case, there is no such thing as equality without equal access to authority. Therefore, any talk of Mormon women being equal to Mormon men free from ordination to the priesthood is perfect nonsense.

Kate Kelly wanted to change all of this, to usher Mormon women into full spiritual and temporal equality with Mormon men, into full participation in the life of the church. So she came to a men’s meeting and asked for admission. And even though that meeting had empty seats, she was turned away and, ultimately, thrown out of the church for her efforts. What does that mean?

It means that if you believe in and advocate for the equality of men and women, Mormon leaders would rather have an empty seat.

It means that if you believe in the biblical pattern of women as prophets and want to see that realized in this dispensation, Mormon leaders would rather have an empty seat.

It means that if you do not think the punishment of a faithless father should match the regular treatment of a righteous mother, Mormon leaders would rather have an empty seat.

I cannot tell my LDS feminist friends what to do in this difficult time, and now it looks like I won’t have to. The prophets have spoken and the thinking has been done.


story continues below
story continues below

Bridget Jack Jeffries is a master’s candidate in church history at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and a member of the Evangelical Covenant Church. She lives in Palatine, Ill.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.