The article in the Salt Lake Tribune (where else?) was brought to my attention by someone who does 'see'. It was posted on FB by a former ward member, Meta, and LIKED but a couple of our current sisters. LIKED? Really? What's to like? Then another former ward member posted a response to his sister-in-law in agreement (It has some valuable and insightful suggestions)...to which, of course, mouthy me had to comment. There was nothing to recommend nor commend this article. I sent it out to my family and friends so as to continue to attempt to be a watchtower of sort, as my friend was to me when she sent me the link. I needed to know the new path Satan was taking. I received some good comments as well as some off ones (sadly).
When I spoke with Robert about this his asked, And is this how to magnify our callings? And I wondered...do we, especially women, need the spotlight and then immediately I thought about Nephi in 3 Nephi 11:18 "And it came to pass that he spake unto Nephi (for Nephi was among the multitude) and he commanded him that he should come forth." Here's the prophet who just went to be among the crowd, not standing out, apart, above the rest, waiting to be spotlighted. Just a humble servant who did what he was directed to do, who magnified his calling and then sat with the righteous and awaited the Savior's words. He didn't need to stand apart nor above the rest. He just served as he had done before the Savior's appearance. There is one mortal who we could use as an example even tho our only true example is the Savior himself. Yes, this article made me mad and sad. And I felt the same for the people who LIKED it and didn't see...who within their own lives could reply to me that the church OUGHT to get this right, to correct the inequalities. Wow...someone I know, actually this someone is on my family tree, feels the church is wrong?! Wow!
Ever more the reason to learn to watch carefully where we tread, who we listen to even in the smallest ways. Be ever vigilant my children and teach my grands the things of the kingdom, not of the world.
a few of THE GOOD:
I don't want to hold a microphone and I don't need to stand around talking to people when I could be sitting in the pew and have people come up to me and talk...and no one is stopping them from quoting the general RS or YW presidency. It seems like a personal list which I think is silly. They must not have anything to do!
That article is as lame as all the rest! I have felt that the Church for me has encouraged and created a forum to be like The Marines..."be all you can be"! I have been encouraged to develop talents I didn't know that I had and to share and bless others with the skill and knowledge that I had already developed and have been blessed by others doing the same for me. I never had a desire to participate in baby blessings or wear pants to church. I think back at times feeling marginalized or not heard but I never blamed The Church, it was the individual--gender was not the issue, it was the individual. I feel these people should get busy performing some of the good works they are talking about and quit complaining. The Savior is a male and he stands at the head of His Church.
I can't even read that garbage. Got about halfway through her list. What a wolf in sheep's clothing. And she works for Bonneville Communications, huh? OH boy.
I couldn't agree with you more. It's a slippery slope, and Satan's so tricky people don't even realize they are on it. How many people are these women potentially turning away, investigators etc, from any interest in the church by sympathizing with these groups and posting about it. Mind boggling. As you said, I have never felt invisible, these girls need to go back to young women's and learn about their Individual Worth.
I can't remember if we discussed the topic of RSPresidency having an office at the church too. Really people? GET REAL. And RSP should sit on the stand with the bishopric. Who'd want to? Ok, soft seats, but why the need to be recognized like that.
and TYPICAL OF THE OTHER SIDE:
I have to agree that I think women need to be more visible at church. That's been my issue. Why aren't the General Boards more visible at Conference? It's crazy that it took so long for a woman to offer the prayer at Conference! I don't want the priesthood but I do think things need to change. It's unfortunate that it takes very liberal women making a big stink and inappropriate stands to make the leadership take notice of the inequalities.
Forget priesthood — some Mormon feminists seek a middle way
Neylan McBaine doesn’t see herself as a feminist crusader.
When McBaine, a lifelong Latter-day Saint reared in New York City, accepted an invitation to speak about women’s issues at a Fair Mormon apologists’ meeting two summers ago, she simply wanted to communicate to an orthodox audience that the pain of some women within the Utah-based religion was real — and potent.
But that speech — which outlined ways LDS women feel marginalized, offered statistics on female members who are leaving the faith over gender issues and proposed small changes in church staffing and rhetoric that might make big differences — set off a new wave of Mormon feminist activism and awareness that no one could have predicted.
Since then, LDS women pushing for change — from wearing pants to church services to praying at General Conference and seeking female ordination to the all-male priesthood — have attracted local and national attention.
But such efforts also have divided the faithful in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Kate Kelly, who helped launch the Ordain Women movement in 2013, was excommunicated in June, while many an online discussion about Mormon feminism has devolved into name calling and polarization.
McBaine, a brand strategist at LDS Church-owned Bonneville Communications in Salt Lake City, has tried to chart a moderate path — pointing out problems and asking for change while resisting radical moves such as ordination.
"I didn’t start with the goal of being a spokeswoman for a particular vein of thought on Mormon women," she says. "I feel I have been thrust into this position."
Other like-minded Latter-day Saints in the U.S. and abroad — some of whom consider themselves feminists, while others avoid that label — also have embraced a careful approach short of ordination, trying to help the church they love navigate the gender storm that seems to building all around.
An urgent need » McBaine, whose mother was an accomplished opera singer and a single mom, was surrounded by strong Mormon women.
When she moved to Utah in 2010, she launched The Mormon Women Project, an online library of interviews with a variety of accomplished female Latter-day Saints.
Now, McBaine, who is married and has three daughters, has unveiled a volume from Greg Kofford Books, "Women at Church: Magnifying LDS Women’s Local Impact," an expansive look at the issues, scriptures and history that formed the basis of her 2012 speech.
McBaine interviewed a handful of key Mormon leaders in Utah, two dozen male and female leaders across the country, and more than 100 members via email to gather stories about LDS congregations that had discovered ways to enhance the role of women.
Among the suggestions:
» Establish parity in budgets and fun activities between Cub Scouts and girls’ Activity Days.
» Honor girls in front of the congregation at key ages, just as boys are.
» Involve women in baby blessings led by the all-male priesthood.
» Assign young women to be permanent Sunday greeters.
» Have young women hold the microphones at testimony meetings.
» Allow members to have a woman sit in a worthiness interview with the male priesthood leader.
» Quote female sources in sermons, Relief Society and Sunday school lessons.
There are many such structural tweaks Mormons can introduce to "make the church a place where struggles are supported, not compounded," McBaine writes, "...a haven, not a hindrance, for those who seek greater gender cooperation in their church experience."
After all, she adds, "communal relationships and interactions are the road on which faith finds its way."
Such revisions may be even more important outside the Mormon corridor, Intermountain West or the U.S.
A global view » Earlier this month, Melissa Wei-Tsing Inouye, a Mormon in New Zealand who lectures at the University of Auckland and has four kids, penned a widely read essay about LDS women’s invisibility.
"An investigator who walks into a Mormon congregation on Sunday sees a row of older men sitting on the stand and a group of younger men administering religious rites," Inouye writes on the Patheos website. "To this outside observer, neither the formal leadership of the [women’s] Relief Society president nor the informal influence of women within the community are immediately apparent."
The issue of visibility is not insignificant, she argues. "Visible equality is important, not just for the sake of correcting outsiders’ negative public perceptions, but for the sake of our youth — especially the young women — who are in many ways still ‘investigators,’ looking at the church in the context of the many life paths that are open to them and trying to decide whether the church looks like a place where they belong."
LDS authorities boosted the visibility of the church’s general women leaders during April’s General Conference by seating them in the middle of the all-male Quorum of the Seventy. Before that, women sat off to the right.
Such efforts to spotlight female Latter-day Saints are crucial in countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Inouye writes, a "deeply patriarchal culture" where "women do most of the everyday chores, defer to their husbands on decisions like whether to become pregnant or what to name their child, and generally act as servants to the men of the family."
In many LDS wards there, men often teach both Young Women classes (for girls 12 to 17) and Primary (for children ages 3 to 11), she writes, "because the women who are called to teach don’t come prepared. ... Congolese women members do not see why they can be the ones to fulfill a leadership or teaching responsibility at church."
Young women also need visible assignments at church — like young male priesthood holders bless and prepare the sacrament, collect financial offerings and count the number of attendees.
Inouye envisions young females "called to serve as ushers, musicians, local missionaries ... and teachers."
In places like the Democratic Republic of Congo, young women could be "called to learn and eventually to teach French (the language of education and of church materials in that country)," Inouye writes, "or young women in Newport Beach, California, called to learn and eventually to teach Spanish [for local service as a stake missionary working in humanitarian services]."
Inouye imagines Laurels (older teenage girls) "trained to be doulas, supporting women physically and spiritually through long hours of labor," she says, "in the tradition of generations of Mormon women in the 19th and early 20th centuries who ministered to laboring sisters through the laying on of hands."
Equal partnership between men and women needs to be modeled at church, Inouye says. Women must be visible to be respected.
Back to the future » Boston-based Helen Claire Sievers believes Mormon women were much more visible — and empowered — in the 1950s through 1970s, when the faith’s female auxiliaries were independent entities. They controlled their own budgets, ran their own organizations, had their own magazines, and stood atop large, traveling general boards.
"I had no problem with [not having] the priesthood or anything else when I was a young adult and working in the church because we, as women, were doing such serious things, things that were important to the church membership," says Sievers, executive director of WorldTeach, a nongovernmental organization that originated at Harvard and partners with ministries of education to send volunteers to teach in low- and middle-income countries.
She would like to see the church harness its women and resources to do "saving-the-world sorts of things."
Classrooms in LDS chapels could be used to teach language classes, and not just on Sunday. Women paired as visiting teachers could become "community health workers," going into homes to talk about hygiene and simple lifesaving techniques.
"We are bubbling over with talent in the church, people who are retired or who have extra time, who could advise on committees to develop targeted materials that would greatly improve the quality of life of members everywhere," Sievers says. "We could also craft and sponsor programs that would improve skills of men and women, especially in middle- and low-income countries, and make them more employable in targeted ways (see what the job opportunities are in the region, and then train the people to have the needed skills)."
Young women could be learning languages, speaking and organizational skills in their Sunday or weekday meetings, she says, preparing for missions.
"Forget the priesthood," Sievers says. "Let us work on something substantive, like we used to ... and work with the men, too."
And all of this could be achieved without ordaining Mormonism’s first female elder.