Ordain or Else

Maurine Proctor confesses that the logic behind the strategy of the Ordain Women movement escapes her. Last week through Jessica Moody of the Public Affairs Department, the Church issued a letter  to leaders of the group refusing them tickets to the April General Conference Priesthood Session April 5.

It wasn’t a simple refusal but was quite specific about the demand for female priesthood ordination. The letter said,

“Declaring such an objective to be non-negotiable, as you have done, actually detracts from the helpful discussions that church leaders have held as they seek to listen to the thoughts, concerns, and hopes of women inside and outside of church leadership. Ordination of women to the priesthood is a matter of doctrine that is contrary to the Lord’s revealed organization for His church.”

The Church is acknowledging three important ideas in this paragraph:

1) The women are non-negotiable in their demands. That means they intend to continue their protest and agitation until they get exactly what they want. Would a letter refusing their request from President Monson stop them? Non-negotiable suggests otherwise.

2) This is on a matter of doctrine contrary to the Lord’s revealed organization for the Church. So, the letter states that we are not merely talking about a cultural practice or incorrect tradition, but a matter of core doctrine.

3) And last, that the work of Ordain Women “actually detracts” from discussions Church leaders are already having to acknowledge and understand women’s thoughts and concerns.

Could a letter be any more clear? It was saying “cease and desist.” Stop this. You are hindering the work.

Yet the Salt Lake Tribune reported Ordain Women founder Kate Kelly’s response:

“We are disappointed that we weren’t granted tickets,” says Kate Kelly, one of the founders of Ordain Women. “But it is a positive step that public affairs is responding to us, indicating that one day maybe the higher authorities will be able to hear our concerns.”

What a twist for Kelly to interpret this as a “positive step.” She is suggesting that a dialogue has been opened, when, in fact, all she has done is been refused and quite soundly. She is also taking the ploy that somehow the Public Affairs Department of the Church is neatly separated from the “higher authorities” as if such a letter were issued without their consultation and stamp of approval. She must know that the church would never allow a statement to become public unless the top leaders approved it.

What if we all started movements to change points of doctrine we disliked or merely questioned. We would become a church of fragments and opposing persuasions, each walking in his or her own way instead of a people united with one heart fixed on the Lord’s true doctrine.

Free-Speech Zones

The Church’s letter also said that if Ordain Women does demonstrate again, that the group move its activities off of Temple Square to the adjacent free-speech zones.

Kelly responded, “It’s striking they would direct us to the free-speech zones. We feel as faithful, active Mormon women we have nothing in common with people who oppose the church and want to protest against it. The church is its members. We aren’t against the church, we are the church.”

The Church is the Lord’s. He chooses his servants, the prophets, and they are accountable to Him. God allows us the enormous privilege and responsibility to participate with Him in His Church and in helping to bring to pass His work. While we sustain leaders with our hands raised and our hearts dedicated, we do not vote on doctrine as so many other churches do. We do not determine truth by consensus.

Ye Take Too Much Upon You

It is my hope those women involved in the Ordain Women movement, however tiny the number, won’t ultimately find themselves at odds with their covenants or their faith. Yet it is hard to be of one heart with the Lord or His prophets, if you choose to defy their counsel, assuming you know better. 

See full article here.


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  3. Amy

    “we are not merely talking about a cultural practice or incorrect tradition, but a matter of core doctrine.” … was the denial of Priesthood to Black men an “incorrect tradition” or “cultural practice” or “core doctrine” … hmmm…. I am not a member of the Ordain Women movement. I am a member of the Church and I have seen that this movement has effectuated positive, long overdue change in the Church…seriously it wasn’t until 2013 that a woman prayed in General Conference?? Wow. What about the beautiful new pictures in the Conference Center of the women leaders? What about the FACT that Joseph ordained women to priesthood and they were able to bless each other and their children? Does the Sunday School President really need to be a man? The Ward clerk? Why isn’t a women included in all the leadership meetings of the Ward? In the Book of Mormon we read that “ALL are alike unto God, MALE AND FEMALE…” To me what this movement is doing is pointing out very valid and true instances of inequality and where women could and OUGHT to be more visible and and part of leadership. I am not familiar with the “non-negotiable” issue discussed here. I for one do not ever want to be the bishop or stake president etc…I do however believe that there is a lot of room for improvement on this issue that would ultimately benefit the Church and members. What is sad to see is how judgmental and nasty many members of the church have been to those who see things differently. I have not yet read or seen any of these Ordain Women ladies act rudely or leave nasty posts on social media, yet I see it all the time from those who disagree. We can disagree in a Christlike manner. Peace.

  4. Sarah

    This is great. Their reply about knocking and asking “as in Matthew 7:7” — talk about “the prophesies of men mingled with scripture”

  5. Rachel

    Excellent. Best thing I’ve read on the topic. We invite these women in love to join us, stand with us, be united.

  6. exhaole

    So were these ladies hoping for a meeting with a general authority to tell him they leadership needs to ask for a revelation authorizing ordination of women? Got news for them: As a long time Church employee one of the unwritten order of things in Church administration I learned is that no one goes to the Prophet to tell him he needs to seek a revelation for anything.

    I guess Kelly and company don’t feel they can trust the Lord or the Prophet to figure that out on their own.

  7. [email protected]

    I really do fear that this group is headed for apostasy. The leader has committed herself to never give up. Eventually, they are going to realize that they will never be given the priesthood
    Sadly, I do not believe they understand the divine nature of marriage and family. Priesthood is eternal, but so are the many gifts (including childbearing) that we have been given as women. These gifts will only be used in partnership in the eternities.
    We need to keep an eternal perspective.

    • exhaole

      That’s true, but as a Church PR person it’s pretty clear she speaks for the presiding priesthood authorities, especially when her letter is posted on LDS.COM.

    • exhaole

      True, as far as it goes……….but she does speak for those who are priesthood authorities.