I don’t care

 

The Twelve Apostles of the Community of Christ
(formerly the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ
of Latter Day Saints)

 

I understand that there’s a football game tonight in Provo.  In advance of it, I want to say that I won’t see much significance in its outcome for the things I care most about.  (On most days, Boise State would utterly destroy any football team ever fielded by Harvard, Yale, MIT, Caltech, or, in the old days, the University of Chicago.)

 

Of course, should BYU win, that will demonstrate that BYU is, by indisputable light years, the foremost academic institution in the State of Utah and even far beyond.

 

No.  Not really.  It won’t demonstrate anything of the kind.  Nor will a loss prove that that school up in Kaysville (or wherever it is) is the best university in the state.

 

Many years ago — have I told this story already? — I was at a conference in upstate New York, and my friend Father David Burrell was also there.  Now retired and teaching in Africa, he was at the time the chairman of the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame.  BYU was playing Notre Dame in South Bend that weekend and, on Friday night, David ribbed me mercilessly about what the Fighting Irish were going to do to the Cougars the following day.  Moreover, truth be told, I expected that he was right.  To my surprise, though, BYU beat Notre Dame.  So, when I saw David the next evening, I remarked that I hadn’t heard the final outcome of the game.  Could he tell me what the score had been?  “Oh leave it alone!” he responded.

 

Here’s another thing I don’t care about:  the ordination of women.

 

There’s not a question in my mind that women are, on the whole, at least the equal of men, spiritually speaking.  And I have no doubt that they would administer church matters as well and effectively as men do.  I can think of no earthly reason for not conferring the priesthood upon them.  I would be perfectly content, even happy, if they were ordained.

 

The only objection that I can think of is that the Lord hasn’t sanctioned, let alone commanded, the ordination of women.  I have no idea why.  But that seems to me a lethal objection.  Moreover, I would have no interest in belonging to a church in which the decision to ordain women came as a result of committee discussions, surveys, politicking, and protests, rather than by revelation.

 

Should God decree the ordination of women, I’ll be perfectly fine with it.  I don’t anticipate that, but it’s logically conceivable.  Pending that, however, I guess I’m resigned to be called a sexist, a misogynist, and an advocate of patriarchal oppression, as well as to continue to try to treat women with respect and charity — as the Lord has, in fact, decreed.

 

So in what sense do I not care about the ordination of women?  In the sense that I would be okay with it either way.  “Whatever God requires is right,” taught Joseph Smith, “no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire.”

 

 

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  • hkobeal

    While I know I sometimes fall short of achieving this objective, I try to listen to other people tell me when they are hurting and frustrated and feel ostracized or marginalized by a group or institution of which I am also a part. Especially when the people saying those things are people with whom I have covenanted–at age 8, when I was baptized–to mourn and comfort.

    To tell me/us, as fellow members of your church: “I don’t care about something that’s important to you” is very unkind and dismissive.

    • Russell Collins

      Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

      • hkobeal

        Listen? No. I don’t think you can ever be damned-if-you-listen.

    • lindasdf

      Dismissive, MAYBE, but unkind? I don’t think it’s unkind. It’s the truth.
      When you are baptized, you make covenants with God. And it’s God who decides who does what, when, where, and with whom.
      I don’t care, either, and I’m an active female member of the LDS church. I’m perfectly happy with the way things are. I don’t feel in the least cheated out of anything. If God wants us sisters to have the priesthood, He will whap the GA’s upside the head, and tell them, “Now’s the time, boys!”.

      • MediumHarris

        That’s not at all how it worked when the priesthood revelation was received. The revelation process involved a lot of study, introspection, and prayer. Only AFTER President Kimball overcame his prejudices and he and the quorum of the 12 came to the same decision, did they all pray to ask if their decision was right. That’s when the revelation was received.

        • lindasdf

          except I don’t think it was Pres. Kimball’s prejudices that had to be overcome.
          I don’t think it’s going to be the same process for women holding the priesthood.
          Women don’t need to hold the priesthood. They just need to realize the real power behind the priesthood.

          • MediumHarris

            Pesident Kimball’s son wrote about the entire revelation process in an article published by BYU studies. It’s a really good read to understand the social pressures and the lengthy process of revelation: https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=7885

            Pres. Kimball is quoted as saying, “Day after day, and especially on Saturdays and Sundays when there were no organizations [sessions] in the temple, I went there when I could be alone. I was very humble…I was searching for this…I wanted to be sure…I had a great deal to fight…myself, largely, because I had grown up with this thought that Negroes should not have the priesthood and I was prepared to go all the rest of my life until my death and fight for it and defend it as it was.” (Kimball, Edward, 48)

            Pages 43-44 list various pressures both outside and inside the church that led Pres. Kimball to reconsider his views on blacks and the priesthood and to earnestly seek revelation. Some had happened years earlier and some were ongoing.

          • Leonis

            Ever thought, perhaps, the reason Mckay was shot down was for Kimball, somewhere down the road, to be able to overcome the prejudice and receive the revelation meant for the office he inherited?

            The problem with the doubters, in my opinion, is the idea of they actually hold weight in Church policies/revelations. Stop flattering yourself and bask in whatever the Lord has in store through revelations.

          • MediumHarris

            You have your opinion and I have mine. I’m glad leaders listened to concerns lately and let a woman pray at conference and now broadcast Priesthood session live. Now I just hope they let in female reporters, technicians, ushers, etc. as banning them while issuing a live broadcast doesn’t make much sense.

        • Leonis

          Please, as a man of minority, I find your lack of faith and general assumptions quite disturbing.

          • MediumHarris

            I’m just stating historical fact here. I provided a link below that confirms this.

    • DanielPeterson

      That’s a rather unkind and dismissive way of reading what I wrote, hkobeal.

      You may well be — probably are — a much more compassionate person than I am. But, as a matter of fact, I didn’t in any way dismiss the hurt of people who are hurt. I simply said that I try to follow where the Lord leads, on this and on other issues, and that I will neither lobby for change nor reject it should it ever come. My position is pretty mainstream LDS, it seems to me, and I reject the insinuation that being a mainstream Latter-day Saint is intrinsically unkind, dismissive, and uncaring.

  • Rae

    What if the revelation comes only after and as a result of “committee discussions, surveys, politicking, and protests”?

    Because, when was the last time God handed out revelation before the recipient(s) noticed a problem, “studied it out”, fasted, prayed, discussed, came up with a solution and presented it to the Lord? Joseph didn’t receive the priesthood until he asked for it.

    • DanielPeterson

      So long as it’s real revelation, Rae, I don’t much care. But there are those out there who seem to imagine that the Church is simply a good old boys’ club such that, if enough pressure is applied, the old boys will cave.

      If that were my view of the Church, I wouldn’t waste any time on it. I wouldn’t care one way or the other who held the priesthood. I would see little or no value in it.

      Another way of putting it is that, with regard to this issue, I care far more about the reception of revelation — with a real tie to God — than I do about the specific content of the revelation.

      • MediumHarris

        Social pressure is one of the things that causes leaders to reevaluate their world view, leading to the process of receiving new revelation after much study and prayer.

        • lindasdf

          If it was due to social pressure, the change would have been made 10 years earlier.

          • MediumHarris

            Please see my response to you farther down the page with the link to an article by President Kimball’s son published by BYU Studies covering pressures leading Pres. Kimball to reevaluate and also covering the entire revelation process. Events years earlier as well as current pressures directly led to Pres. Kimball seeking further revelation. Here’s the link again, just in case: https://byustudies.byu.edu/showtitle.aspx?title=7885

          • DanielPeterson

            I’ve read it. I agree with it. I still don’t agree with you.

          • MediumHarris

            Fair enough.

  • supergabers

    Funny way of showing you “don’t care” when you do a whole post on it.

    • DanielPeterson

      supergabers: Sigh.

      The issue has been in the news. I thought I would comment on it.

      And I didn’t say that I didn’t care about the issue. I care very much. I care very much that my church be led by revelation rather than politics, pressure, secular ideologies, and human wisdom.

      What I said I DON’T care about is which direction revelation goes on the matter.

      • supergabers

        Sigh.

        “And here’s another thing I don’t care about: the ordination of women”

        Double sigh.

        • DanielPeterson

          If you’re absolutely determined to misunderstand what I said, that’s your prerogative. Have a great evening.

      • Michael P.

        “So long as it’s real revelation, Rae, I don’t much care.”

        “What I said I DON’T care about is which direction revelation goes on the matter.”

        But could there ever be a case where you would care about the direction of any revelation? It seems to me that if you accept the divinely-inspired calling of the General Authorities and, more specifically, the role of President Monson as a prophet, then you would be grateful for any revelation received. The “direction” of *any* revelation would be irrelevant.
        What am I missing?

        • DanielPeterson

          I”m always happy when revelation comes. Of course.

  • ClintonKing

    The thing that women will (currently?) hold, isn’t it called ‘priestess-hood”?

    • hkobeal

      For me, doesn’t matter what we call it; it doesn’t transfer to any meaningful participation or involvement in the church governance structure.

  • DanielPeterson

    I disagree with your claim that the decision to ordain blacks came as a result of politicking and protests. I lived through that period, and the protests and politics had subsided to a very great degree when the revelation arrived.

    I don’t reject a human contribution to the revelation; I know that there were discussions and studies, for example. But that’s rather a different matter.

    • Mark Barnes

      I don’t question your own memory, but my uncle, Byron Marchant, protested one day a week in front of the Church office building at that time. He staged a protest during conference in October 1977, and was excommunicated shortly after. He staged another protest on Temple Square during conference, April 1978, and was arrested. He was not alone in such actions. Two months later the revelation was announced. There were many other factors creating pressure on the church (IRS, Brazil, BYU sports, etc.). But, it would be inaccurate to believe that people were not protesting, and paying a large price for protesting, right up to the announcement.

      • DanielPeterson

        I remember your uncle’s story quite well, and I’ve never thought, and don’t think now, that his protests had the slightest thing to do with the timing of the revelation.

        • http://youngbloods.org Carl Youngblood

          Dan, I think that Mark is refuting your timing. He’s saying that protests were, in fact, happening when the revelation was received, which was contrary to your characterization of the events.

          • DanielPeterson

            I understand that.

            I know that there were protests still happening in 1977 and 1978.

            But they were far fewer and far less intense than those of the late 1960s. People opposed to the policy of black exclusion had, by and large, given up.

            And I remember Byron Marchant’s and Doug Wallace’s protests. They were insignificant. With all due respect to Mark’s family, those two were regarded as eccentric cranks.

      • Leonis

        Sounds like people who like to give themselves TOO MUCH credit in the tides of revelation.

  • DanielPeterson

    I disagreed with you when you wrote this, too. (See above.)

  • Sister G

    I’m just curious, do you think that God hadn’t sanctioned the ordination of black men until 1978? Was it God who didn’t or was it that the “prophets, seers and revelators” had so much prejudice that they were not able to hear what God had to say about it? In my personal opinion it was the latter. I do not believe for one second that God was the one who didn’t want blacks to hold the priesthood, but the prophets are not infallible and without prejudice. Indeed, President Kimball only changed his mind when he prayed to overcome his prejudices. I pray that the current leadership has the same kind of courage President Kimball showed. God is not a sexist bigot.

    • DanielPeterson

      I agree with you that God is not a sexist bigot, and I agree that human factors play a major role in the timing of revelations. But I don’t believe that human factors CREATE those revelations.

  • lindasdf

    Like I said earlier, if the change had been due to social pressure, protests, etc., the change would have been made 10 years earlier.

  • DanielPeterson

    And you were consistent in doing so. If I believed what you evidently believe, I would leave, as well.

    But I don’t.

  • kiwi57

    @Mark Barnes:

    “You do belong to a church in which the decision to ordain of men of African decent came as a result of committee discussions, surveys, politicking, and protests. ”

    No. We do not.

    I remember very clearly the 1978 revelation and the events surrounding it. I found out details of the silly antics of your uncle and “Lord” Douglas Wallace much later; they didn’t get much coverage at the time, you see. The attempts made by critics to explain the revelation away in terms of “social pressure” have seemed really strained, as when they tried to attributed it to lawsuits over the Boy Scouts, controversies about dating policies at Bob Jones University, or a few college protests in the late 1960′s, a period when college protests happened at the drop of a hat.

  • Zach

    While it is true that some of the prerequisites to receive
    revelation are studying things out in your mind followed by an earnest
    display of asking, seeking, and knocking, I also tend to believe it is
    important to understand the grounds for which one can ask, seek, and
    knock. Maybe “can” is not the right word, but rather “should.”

    Sure,
    you can ask the Lord anything you want. In fact, one of the Lord’s
    Apostles taught us that we should ask God anything if we are lacking wisdo, and
    then when we do ask, we are promised that the God will upbraideth not –
    meaning, ask away.

    People
    are free to think whatever they wish — we call that agency — the
    ability to think, act, and say whatever you want. But those thoughts,
    wishes, and hopes all come with a price. Where I have a problem with
    these self proclaimed “Mormon Feminists,” is their fundamental
    misunderstanding of the way revelation works — especially as it
    pertains to stewardship.

    Sure you can
    beg, petition, protest, and plea for one to inquire with the Lord for
    something you think you already know the answer to — but is that really
    your place? Maybe. Do you have the right to? Absolutely. Should you? In my
    opinion, no, and here is why.

    What if that person —
    in this case, the Brethren — already has fasted, prayed, studied things
    out, and has earnestly petitioned the Lord? What if they already got the answer? Then what? Do you tell them they are wrong and implore them to ask again?

    I suspect if anybody
    understands Moroni 10:4, and what real intent really means, it is those
    15 men we, and supposedly the Mormon Feminists sustain as prophets, seers,
    and revelators. I also suspect that for every 1 revelation we hear about
    them receiving, there were probably scores of revelations where the
    answer was “No,” that we never hear about — but that’s just pure speculation.

    Who am I to
    say they don’t know how to properly receive revelation? Who am I to
    think I know what they should be asking God? Who am I to assume I know
    where the direction of the church should go and what polices it should or should not adopt?

    I
    stand with Daniel in that — I don’t care (what the answer is). If and ever should the Brethren receive a
    revelation stating that Woman are to be ordained, I too will raise my
    hand to the square in support of their decision — after I get a
    confirmation that this “…shall be the will of the Lord, shall be the
    mind of the
    Lord, shall be the word of the Lord, shall be the voice of the Lord, and
    the power of God unto salvation.” (DC 68:4)

    Until that happens, I
    will let the Brethren do what they have been called and set apart to do
    — and sustain them in their efforts to do so because if you recall…

    “The Lord will never permit me or any other man who stands as President
    of this Church to lead you astray. It is not in the programme. It is not
    in the mind of God. If I were to attempt that, the Lord would remove me
    out of my place, and so He will any other man who attempts to lead the
    children of men astray from the oracles of God and from their duty.” – Wilford Woodruff

  • RaymondSwenson

    The “priesthood” in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates in a radically different way than in other Christian churches. It is not a career option, by which a person earns a living, since all the leadership and teaching positions in the Church are temporary, unpaid, and not the result of the individual applying or self-nominating. Just a few dozen positions in the ecclesiastical hierarchy are full time and paid, but they generally result after decades of unpaid part-time service, and again are not self-nominated. Even then, in my perception the great majority of those called as full time general authorities is that they are so accomplished in their primary careers that they are taking a pay cut when they accept those callings. It is a system that frustrates any notion that someone could aspire to some day be a bishop or stake president, let alone a general authority or apostle.

    Indeed, various LDS scriptural texts concerning the priesthood, especially D&C 121, make it clear that “pride” and “vain ambition” are inimical to the priesthood. To seek priesthood office in order to gain power over others is contrary to the essential nature of this priesthood. So when I read that someone wants to ordain women in the LDS priesthood in order to give them “power”, I think the speaker does not understand what the priesthood is.

    One of the ways in which the LDS Church is anomalous among Christian denominations is the participation level of men and boys. It is strangely high. I think the wide involvement of teens and adult men through enlistment in priesthood organizational structures is important in making this difference. It inculcates a sense of responsibility and subordination in service to others that is not part of the normal culture in both the West and even more in the East.

    Another way in which the LDS Church is anomalous is its emphasis on marriage and fatherhood as the holiest lifestyle for men, in which the greatest eternal blessings are only available in marriage, and the primary use of priesthood is in contributing to the spiritual wellbeing of the wife and children. It is not a power which makes a man superior in celibate authority over other men and all women, but instead engages him in subordinating all other ambitions to the needs of his wife and offspring.

    An observer who was not told anything about priesthood ordination but examined the life of a Mormon congregation would see women and men in very comparable positions as leaders and teachers, performing what are called “ministerial” functions in most other churches. That includes the many young women who serve as missionaries alongside young men, and the wives in missionary couples who serve together. For each specific calling, men and women are “set apart” with a laying on of hands that looks just like “ordination”. Women give sermons in the general worship service and lead the whole congregation in prayer.

    The Mormon doctrine of revelation is not gender-specific. Every member, male or female, is invited to seek revelatory confirmation of faith, and revelatory guidance in carrying out lives of service to family and other members. Holding priesthood is not an exclusive pipeline to God.

    I don’t see much appreciation of these realities in the writings of those who think they can pressure the First Presidency into ordaining women.

  • Seth Payne

    Hey Dan,

    Interesting post. One of your statements does puzzle me a bit when you say that the Lord has not “sanctioned” the ordination of women. To me, it is VERY clear that he has sanctioned it. All we need to do is read the book of Judges and other parts of the OT where women are called prophets (using the same Hebrew word used to describe male prophets) and where they are actually consulted due to their prophetic calling/role. Also, the NT mentions women serving as deacons etc…

    It seems to me that the non-ordination of women may fall into the category of the LDS Church doing something because it came out of the 19th century cultural milieu — just like the non-divine Priesthood restriction. When GBH told Mike Wallace that the Lord said that this is the way it should be I wanted to ask: “Where? Where in scripture is there ANY indication that women cannot hold the Priesthood?” Now, if we read Paul a certain way I think we could see where this idea comes from but IMO, this is just another tradition that has been carried over as gospel truth.

    Incidently, I have a family member who is a Bishop and he has told me he would love to call some of the women in his ward to be counselors in the Bishopric as he feels the male-only leadership may, unintentionally, not give enough attention to the needs of female congregants.

    Seth

    • DanielPeterson

      Seth:

      Thanks for the thoughtful reply. It’s a relief after some of the hostile nonsense I’ve encountered over on Facebook for this little blog entry.

      I’m familiar with the passages that you reference, but don’t necessarily read them the same way. I have no problem at all with a woman being inspired and, thus, a “prophet,” and I certainly don’t think that all of the prophets (there are many minor ones who make only brief cameos, for example) were ordained priesthood leaders in our modern sense. Likewise, the matter of “deaconesses” is rendered less clear to me because (a) the Greek “diakonia,” as you know, simply means “service,” and (b) I don’t see “deacons” in the Aaronic priesthood as doing anything uniquely “priestly.” They pass the sacrament, it’s true, but so do unordained women in any given row.

      I have no doubt whatever, though, that women’s needs are sometimes inadvertently overlooked by male leaders, and that some women would make fine counselors, etc.

      • Seth Payne

        Hi Dan,

        I know just enough Hebrew and Greek to use a lexicon to try and not misuse the text in exegesis. :) So I appreciate your comments on the use of deaconess in the NT. Having said that, I’m not sure we can compare today’s deacons with those of the NT (or the early 19th century Church for that matter).

        So, in your view, are there any textual clues that indicate male Hebrew prophets were somehow distinguished from a female prophetess?

        In terms of Deborah I can certainly see how this would be “inspiration” without authority or office. But Josiah seeking out Huldah seems to indicate that the King deferred to her and I think this implies she held some sort of office or was recognized as having real authority from God.

        (my apologies if you have addressed these issues in other replies — I haven’t had a chance to read the whole thread)

        Seth

        • DanielPeterson

          I don’t think there’s any particular reason to distinguish between the minor occasional male prophets and the females who seem to have served the same role. I don’t think that any of them held any particular priesthood leadership role. And the same goes for Huldah, who seems to have enjoyed the gift of inspiration — which I fully believe unordained women can enjoy.

          • Doug Ealy

            Normally I would let our moderator have the last word. I hope he doesn’t mind if I contribute. I think there is a big difference between a prophet and the Prophet. I have always interpreted the word prophet as one who speaks the will of the Lord. Anyone under the influence of the Spirit can speak the will of the Lord for their stewardship. In this case they would be a prophet. Only one is sanctioned to speak the will of the Lord for the entire Church, he is the Prophet. A prophet can be anyone provided there is true inspiration. The Prophet for the Church — up to this point –has always been a High Priest where the Church has been established.

      • http://youngbloods.org Carl Youngblood

        Dan, what about Junia, the female apostle mentioned in Romans 16:7? Most biblical scholars agree that Junia was a woman and an apostle as the scriptures claim.

        Even if deacon meant something different in the early church, there is widespread agreement that there were women leaders of mixed-sex congregations in the early church, different from the roles that women in the church are restricted to today.

        • DanielPeterson

          I’m not at all surprised that women would exercise power within house churches. But I’m aware of no real evidence that Junia was an apostle in the specific sense that we use it today. She was a “messenger,” yes. Was she an authoritative ordained leader? There’s nothing in the text to suggest that.

          • http://youngbloods.org Carl Youngblood

            Daniel, the vast majority of biblical scholars agree that Junia was a woman and an “apostle,” which was the highest level of leadership and authority in the early church. The wikipedia entry on Junia refers to numerous sources that affirm this. My friend Jared Anderson, who has a PhD in biblical studies, also affirms this consensus. Yours is clearly a minority position.

          • DanielPeterson

            I’m not sure that you accurately represent the historical consensus, I don’t know Jared Anderson, and I’ve never taken my beliefs from polls anyway. But thank you for your comments.

          • Anyotheruser

            The ‘vast majority of biblical scholars’ hold a whole range of opinions that I find either the Church or myself personally dissent from.

          • http://youngbloods.org Carl Youngblood

            In my opinion this is basically an unwillingness to accept well-supported hypotheses, which is against what Joseph Smith said was the first “grand fundamental principle of Mormonism”: to accept truth, let it come from whence it may. Whether or not JS would have accepted such assertions in his own day, we no longer live in his day, and we will be judged by the historical context that we live in. Therefore rigid adherence to 19th century biblical interpretation is not authentic Mormonism; it’s fundamentalism.

          • Anyotheruser

            There’s a huge bunch of assumptions there. I’ll certainly accept truth, but I’m under no obligation to accept ideas simply because they’re popular. Particularly in biblical studies, even many scholars can be unaware of the reasons behind a particular consensus – they, after all, have their own areas of speciality and tend to concentrate on those, and in some cases the ‘consensus’ was reached decades if not a century ago. Speaking as someone who is trying to do a Phd in theology & religion, if I come across faulty reasoning I’m obligated to disagree with it.

            Then there’s the presuppositions that tend to lie behind certain conclusions. If I do not hold, or disagree with those presuppositions, I’m going to disagree, even if the apparent ‘facts’ are identical. The same holds true when those presuppositions conflict with core LDS presuppositions – presuppositions incidentally that tend to be radically different from both fundamentalist and modernist ones (and, imo, tend not to be even noticed by members – that’s the nature of presuppositions after all).

            No one is under any obligation to follow the ‘historical context’ wherever it happens to be going this time – one after all is judged by considerably more than our historical context. And rigid adherence to 21st century biblical interpretation is no more authentic Mormonism any more than rigid adherence to 19th century interpretation is, and no less dogmatic.

          • DanielPeterson

            I don’t think this hypothesis is well-supported, Carl.

          • CaliBornUtahnByChoice

            Carl. Bad logic on Minority positions: Those at Nicea who didin’t agree with the Creed, Joseph Smith, and, of course, the Savior was held in low esteem by the scholars of his day.

        • kiwi57

          Carl, four (multi-part) questions:

          1) What is a missionary? What does the word mean? What is its etymology?

          2) What is an apostle? What does the word mean? What is its etymology?

          3) In what language was the New Testament written?

          4) Where does the New Testament mention missionaries? What does it call them?

        • kiwi57

          What does Romans 16:7 say?

          ” 7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.”

          Please note that the phrase “who are of note among the apostles” is ambiguous. Firstly, as my earlier post should make clear, the word “apostle” does not exclusively refer to one of the Twelve, but simply means “one who is sent,” which happens to be the same meaning as “missionary.” There are missionaries all over the New Testament, but the word just doesn’t appear, for reasons that are really quite apparent; but it’s entirely possible to read the above as “Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen (relations), and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the missionaries.”

          The second point of ambiguity is that “of note among X” could mean one of two things: it could mean that they are noteworthy members of X, or it could mean that they were well-known to those who were X. Either construction is equally plausible.
          And it’s not obvious to me that “most biblical scholars” are in agreement about the meaning of this brief reference.

          • http://youngbloods.org Carl Youngblood

            Even if this interpretation is plausible, it is still a minority position among biblical scholars today. It seems to me you are trying to systematically deconstruct each reference to support your worldview rather than see the numerous hints throughout the scriptures that women have held leadership and prophetic roles in both the old and new testaments. Apostle was still the highest role in early Christianity, whether or not it also meant missionary. And there are other references to female leadership, such as the fact that Mary Magdalene was traditionally referred to as the “apostle to the apostles.”

            There are also other old testament references to female leaders. There are enough counter-examples in the scriptures and other writings contemporary to them to make any attempt to justify all-male leadership with them highly problematic. Perhaps it can be justified by other means, but not by an appeal to the scriptures or to what other ancient studies have revealed about biblical times. Clearly, the way the church practices priesthood governance today differs significantly from how it was among the early Christians.

            I’m not even attempting to say that it needs to be different today. Just saying that claiming there were no female leaders among the early Christians is just not supported by the documentary evidence.

      • mstimson

        Dan,
        This touches the issue in my mind as to why women will not hold the priesthood and leadership positions in any way that men now presently do. I welcome women holding the priesthood and I hope for the day that this will happen. But if it does, it must be very different than it now is. I cannot comprehend in any way how you could possibly call people of the opposite sex who are not married to each other to serve together. The intimacy and love for each other that is developed while serving together in this capacity would be far too much to expect men and women to handle. I can see women holding the priesthood and serving together in the Relief Society, Primary and Young women’s. I can see young women and men passing and blessing the sacrament together. I cannot see a man or a woman as a bishop or president and calling one of the opposite sex to be his or her counselors. That is inviting terrible consequences. This is what I do envision and what I think would be incredibly wonderful. A pattern has been set where we see GA’s and their wives at conferences and serving together. I can see how a man and his wife are called to serve as bishop or in a presidency together. I can see counselors as couples as well. How wonderful would it be if a woman came in and needed to talk to the bishop and she could speak to both of them or just the wife with that mantle of authority. In my mind, that is the only way this could possibly happen.

        • DanielPeterson

          Good points, mstimson.

  • Doug Ealy

    Two comments FWIW:
    1. I like the idea shared in this article that whatever God commands is right. It shows how the LDS Church through revelation is a living, vibrant entity.

    2. I’ve gone through the comments in this article and it bothers me that many assume the priesthood has a gender. I don’t believe this for many reasons. 1) We are all subject to the authority of the priesthood. We all can exercise the power of the priesthood in our lives (Both men and women can ask themselves how they can magnify the priesthood in their homes.). 2) The powers of the priesthood are inseparable from godliness and the very nature of godliness is family. Therefore, both a husband and a wife are required to attain the ultimate goal of the priesthood. Attaining eternal life requires husbands and wives to act as one. One party cannot be above the other. Just as it takes a husband and a wife to create and raise children. So it takes both a husband and a wife to exercise the power of the priesthood. The male and female leadership positions found in wards, stakes etc. are incidental to our current existence as we all haven’t come to a unity of the faith. These perceived inequalities are transitory and therefore of little importance.

  • MLCSAC

    you’re an idiot…as an inactive member of the church, i left due to comments like this. you spout total crap. “Here’s another thing I don’t care about: the ordination of women.” this is tantamount to saying that women are all second class citizens and not worthy of your attention, much less your support in anything that they do. relief society is nothing more that a way to placate a young woman and make sure that she stays subservient to her husband or men in general. thoughts, opinions and facts aren’t looked at when it comes from a woman….only if a man talks does anyone in the church listen. sometimes people like you defy logic. not only are you and other church leadership idiot missing a vital part of being a true church, but you firmly believe that unless it comes out of your mouth, it’s all crap!!! woman in all facets of society have gained respect and thought of as great leaders….unless they belong to the lds church….then they are all moronic slaves to make babies, do your dishes and wipe your butts!!! oh….and i believe that gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered people are just that PEOPLE. and if you would pull your heads out of your collective backsides, you would find that the world is full of good people….ones that i happily call brother and sister…
    and jsut so you know… my wife and i are happily married (39 years) and i wouldn’t step foot in any lds church on this planet what worships only ways to part church members from actively praising God and living life to it’s fullest….
    you can take your idiotic ways, your moral sense of self worth and all the other crap….roll it up in a tight little ball…and stick it right up your book of mormon!!!

    • DanielPeterson

      LOL. I suspect that MLCSAC wrote his comment in order to make ME look bad.

      • Doug Ealy

        Seriously. Someone is having a bad day. You really know how to bring out the best in people! :)

      • IamMeWhoareYou

        Not sure how you will ever be able to contend with such well reasoned logic as has been displayed by MLCSAC. You may as well give up. :) ROFL

        • Leonis

          That ain’t logic. That’s just mainstream media talking.

  • DanielPeterson

    A good and relevant story, Scott. And no, it doesn’t fit the currently fashionable narrative, which seems to be that revelation acceptable to politically progressive Mormons would come, if only the reactionary gerontocracy that leads the Church were ethically and theologically open enough to ask for it.

  • Courtney Peck

    I am a Mormon feminist who supports and encourages women to share their concerns, hopes, questions, and dreams, with love. And frankly, I find your post rather refreshing. I “get” your reasoning and can respect it. A simple “I don’t know why women aren’t ordained, I’m open to the possibility, but I’m going to wait ’till I hear it from the prophet” is respectable and genuine and so much better than the crazy comments on the Deseret News of people giving their “reasons” why that mostly make both men and women end up sounding pretty pathetic. So while I care a lot about this issue, I read your position as pretty humble and appreciate that. Thanks.

    • DanielPeterson

      Thank YOU, Courtney Peck. I’m happy to hear from someone who understands my post in the way that it was intended.


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