‘Mormon Land’: Booting women’s leaders off the stand was ‘hurtful’ and ‘heartbreaking’

But Bay Area members see a way to remedy the pain and even unify the church.

(The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) A bishop speaks to the congregation during a weekly sacrament meeting in Auckland, New Zealand. Female leaders were recently barred from the stand in Bay Area Sunday services.

For more than a decade, women’s Relief Society leaders were invited to sit on the stand facing the pews during Sunday services among some Latter-day Saint congregations in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was an uncontroversial tradition until October, when an area president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ordered an end to the practice.

The move felt arbitrary to many members and was made without consulting any of the women affected, all of whom were devout believers. After a Salt Lake Tribune story about the edict, many women in the region and across the country are writing letters to church headquarters in Salt Lake City, explaining why the tradition had been good for women in a church governed by men as a sign of inclusion and gender equity.

On this week’s show, we discuss this issue with two women who have felt the impact personally: Amy Jensen, who has served as a Young Women leader in Lafayette, Calif., and Laurel McNeil, a current Relief Society president in Sunnyvale, Calif. One solution, they suggest, to bring uniformity to Latter-day Saint services: Invite women’s leaders to sit on the stand in congregations across the globe.

Listen here: