That’s it. I’m done. It’s been coming for a while. But now that it’s here, I can’t deny the way I feel. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is no longer “true.” I’m tempted to resign my membership.
There. I said it. I simply can’t abide the monstrous misuse of the priesthood any longer. Things have been going downhill ever since the old rumor that Hyrum Smith’s widow raised her oxen from the dead using her murdered husband’s priesthood to continue crossing the Plains.
She did no such thing. First of all, because the oxen — or ox, depending on the version — weren’t dead. They were either tired or suffering from bloat. Second, it was the men who got the beast(s) back up and working. And it almost certainly had more to do with the laying on of whips than hands.
But that’s where it all started to go sideways. Women supposedly performed priesthood ordinances during the church’s early days. The church also was ordaining people of all races. Just recently, Latter-day Saint boys have begun receiving the priesthood months before they actually turn 12.
The power to work in the name of God has been so diluted that it would be impossible now to use it to slap an unconscious gopher back to its senses much less raise an ox from the dead.
Despite all of this, I’ve stuck with the church and soldiered on. Then came the turning point. You’ve probably heard it by now. Women may serve as official witnesses to sacred priesthood ceremonies such as baptisms and temple sealings.
Note: For those unfamiliar with Mormon doings, a temple sealing is a form of spiritual Gorilla Glue applied to families so we won’t get separated in the next life.
Another note: Unless, of course, some family members go bad. Then we’re sent somewhere else instead of with our families.
There’s probably some kind of spiritual glue solvent ordinance that allows unrepentant loved ones to be … ugh. Never mind. It’s complicated.
Anyway, the change. Witnessing these ordinances is no longer completely a guy game. Turns out that all a witness needs to be is a member with a pair of working eyeballs. Just one would probably do, so long as it was focused properly.
I checked. Blind people cannot serve as witnesses to baptisms. There might even be some finer policy point that brings into question astigmatism, glaucoma, etc.
Witnesses are needed for these ordinances to prove — exactly to whom is anyone’s guess — that the process was followed to the letter.
Assuming that the Lord sees everything, I’m not sure what the point of human witnesses would be if it came down to an argument before the Judgment Bar. It’s a poor omnipotent being who wouldn’t know whether someone was completely immersed.
Back to women being allowed to serve as witnesses. Sure, it starts small with letting them perform that part of the ordinance. But it’s a delicate foot in the door.
Before you know it, they’ll be able to stand in ordination circles. Then they’ll be passing the sacrament, collecting fast offerings, and giving matriarchal blessings.
Let’s not even go to the point of them serving as bishops or high priestesses. It’s only a matter of time before men won’t have any gender-specific responsibilities at church other than singing the baritone parts in the ward choir. We’ll be superfluous. Just sitting there looking duller than normal.
Hang on. Forget that resignation talk. Why should I leave my church just when it sounds like it might be catching up to me?
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.