“… and I Would Like to Listen”

On Saturday, October 5, 2013, two church bodies faced significant moments in the history of their inclusion of women.  Rev. Elizabeth Eaton was installed as the first woman presiding bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, something I’ve already written about.  And on this same past Saturday in Salt Lake City, Mormon women held a day of action to request admission to the priesthood session of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The request was simple:

Kate Kelly approached first.  “I understand that all men, even men who are not members of the church and have no investment in Mormonism, are permitted to attend,” she said. “I am a returned missionary and a faithful Mormon woman, and I would like to listen to the prophet in person.”  Kelly was not permitted to enter.

Neither were two hundred other women who stepped up to the door, greeted by an LDS church representative who said no to each of them.

A short video of men streaming in and women lining up to be denied can be found here.

A gallery of more amazing photographs of brave women of the faith can be found here.

Joanna Brooks writes more about the event, including Kelly’s reaction:

The experience of being turned away from the Tabernacle, said Kate Kelly, “really encapsulated how we feel being excluded every single day.  It embodied our daily, weekly, yearly struggle of not being equal in the church and being turned away from full experience and engagement in the gospel we love.”

You can head over to Approaching Justice here at Patheos, where Chris Henrichsen suggests that this day of action was, for Mormons, “Not Selma, But Significant.”

The inclusion of women in patriarchal Christianity continues to present struggles, and even for denomiations like the ELCA that not only ordain women but also are now led by a woman, the struggle isn’t over.  Norma Cook Everist writes a very good piece here on how Lutherans got to this moment … spoiler alert:  it took time.  And persistence.

For more information about the group that organized this day of action, head to the Ordain Women, website.

For more of my posts on Mormon feminism, click here and here and here.

 

About Caryn Riswold

Caryn D. Riswold is a feminist theologian in the Lutheran tradition. She is Professor of Religion and Chair of Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College in Jacksonville, Illinois, where she has worked for over a decade teaching undergraduates to think critically and creatively about religion. She earned her Ph.D. and Th.M. from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, holds a master’s degree from the Claremont School of Theology, and received her B.A. from Augustana College in her childhood hometown of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/approachingjustice/ Chris Henrichsen

    Thanks for writing about this. Also, thanks for the shout out!

  • pagansister

    This is the 21st century but one would never know it by the actions the men of the LDS “faith”. It reminds me of the attitude of the RCC and women priests. Women are apparently good only for reproducing and home making—in the eyes of some. Ridiculous.

  • Brian

    Mormon women did hold a day of action on Saturday (and Sunday) in Salt Lake City. It was an event comprising over three hundred times as many Mormon that participated in Kelly’s march.

    Kelly claims that she just wanted to hear the prophet in person, but anybody familiar with the events know that claim makes absolutely no sense. She wants attention.

  • Dandini

    I come from a conservative Lutheran (Missouri Synod) background. . . am now a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. . . I see a general disconnect from Biblical standards in the feminist movements today. . . there is room for change. . . but in the Lord’s time and way. . .


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