Today (Friday 23 October 2015) the church published their much anticipated “Joseph Smith’s Teachings about Priesthood, Temple and Women” and a further essay “Mother in Heaven”. For those who would like some clarification on the church’s position with respect to women and the priesthood and the boundaries of our spiritual relationship with a feminine divine these essays set out the apparent limits and boundaries of church’s current position on both very contentious issues.
While the essays concede that an ordination did indeed take place in the early church, we are apparently not to understand this ordination as ‘ordination’. While there is a concession that women did administer blessings the first essay positions these blessings as being phased out over time in the place of ‘elders blessings’. While the essays concede that there is a heavenly Mother it reiterates the position that we don’t have any obligation to acknowledge or address this feminine deity in our prayers or in our official discourse.
For those wishing for the maintenance of the patriarchal status quo these essays will be a boon. But they aren’t a boon for a growing population of Mormon women and men who are increasingly intolerant toward this kind of theological and administrative gender inequality and are leaving the church loathe to have their daughters subjected to the limitations placed on a women’s spiritual maturation. This has caused significant levels of exasperation in the Mormon borderlands where this discussion about inequality in the LDS church dominates. Over and above the question of the ordination of women more and more Mormons are finding the patriarchy (once seen) intolerable.
In this interview Kristy and I discuss the feelings of frustration and exasperation that have been ubiquitous throughout Mormon social media today in response to the Church’s latest attempt to clarify Mormon theology and policy on women. Happily we conclude with ways forward!
Kristy’s Essay: Psychologist’s Response to Women and Priesthood essay