Mormon Women Turned Away from All-Male Conference on Priesthood

Members of the group Ordain Woman, an organization dedicated to gender equality within Mormonism, were recently barred from a convention concerning male priesthood because, well, they’re heretics.

“I feel a little disappointed,” Ordain Women founder and human rights attorney Kate Kelly told KSL. “We know that there’s room in the Conference Center and we’re being denied admission on the basis of our sex and because we’re sisters and not brothers.”

According to the Mormon faith, priesthood is granted by God only to men because — and the official Mormon website seriously says this — “the Lord has put it that way. It is part of His program.”

Can’t have women ruin God’s program.

(But 12-year-old boys? They were allowed right in without a problem.)

Apostle Quentin L. Cook doesn’t understand why women would want to become ordained either:

“If we allow our culture to reduce the special relationship that children have with mothers and grandmothers and others who nurture them,” Cook said, “we will come to regret it.”

There you have it: women becoming priests will hurt the family. Which, in the eyes of the Mormon church, places them in the same category as gays and lesbians.

I have to wonder what makes Mormon men so much more fit for priesthood than Mormon women. Perhaps they’re just better at ringing doorbells.

About Lauren Lane

Lauren Lane is the co-founder of Skepticon, the Midwest's largest skeptic student-run conference and remains a lead organizer today. She has not one, but TWO fancy art degrees and is not afraid to use them.

  • Lee Miller

    Why would someone educated enough to be a human rights attorney want to continue in a crazy belief system like Mormonism? She should start an ex-Mormons group and get on with her life.

    • Gunner Miller

      Remember that Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist fame was a civil rights lawyer.

    • Rationalist1

      It’s hard to leave a faith that you’ve invested so much in, especially as you’d be alienating your family and much of your social circle.

      Religion is like smoking addiction, better never to start.

  • A3Kr0n

    Silly woman. If she doesn’t know Mormon doctrine by now she should be banished.

  • baal

    I don’t think mormon women get to become kings and rule in glory at the head of their own realms. They are supposed to go to their husband’s realm and make spirit children in the afterlie.

  • icecreamassassin

    Things like this always just confuse me. Shouldn’t conflict resolution of this nature be really easy to solve? I mean, for all intents and purposes, the question can be reworded as:
    “Does god want to allow women to be ordained?”
    Wouldn’t the path of least resistance in this case to simply ASK GOD what the bloody heck he actually wants?

    I’ll write the damn prayer for you:
    “God, this issue on ordination of women within our ranks is proving to be divisive. We are using our efforts to try to resolve this issue when we could be doing things like spreading your message, helping our fellow sentient creatures, and helping to shape our world for our children for the better. Rather than us waste time arguing back and forth over what your wishes are, we humbly implore you to give us the answer as to what it is you want so that we may get back to doing good in the world.”

    • The Other Weirdo

      Unfortunately, God suffers from confirmation bias of his followers, and would therefore never say anything that contradicts their beliefs.

      • Highlander

        This reminds me of a Simpsons episode. Homer wants to do something or other and prays to god along the lines of “god if you want me to do this give me no sign.” He pauses and looks around sees no sign “thy will be done.” Later in the show he pulls the same trick and something odd happens, he dismisses it as a coincidence and proceeds to do what he wants to anyway.

    • cary_w

      I’m sure the church leaders have already asked God. Mormons believe that the president of the church is a prophet and can get answers directly from God, so apparently God has declared that women should not hold the priesthood. If these women were “good” Mormons they would shut up and accept the word of God and their place in life. But, of course, what they are waiting for, is for God to change his mind, just like He did when Utah was trying to gain statehood and He decided polygamy was wrong after all, or when, at the tail end of the civil rights movement, He decided black people were not cursed by the devil after all and could be worthy of the priesthood. Kind of amazing how someone who is supposed to be all-powerful and all knowing can change His mind about so many things!

      • trj

        God is a showman. He loves cliffhangers. Will the Mormons once again change their doctrine at the last moment before they get into serious trouble with the law? I bet God would change his mind about gender issues as well if it turned out they’d get the church into trouble.

        But not before then. Women having an opinion on the rights of women? Please! The law having an opinion? Well, that’s another matter; one with deep theological implications that just might trigger a sea change in church doctrine – because Gods wills it, of course.

      • The Other Weirdo

        Don’t Catholics do, too? About the Pope, I mean.

  • RedShasta

    Didn’t we hear the same argument when it came to allowing women the vote?

    • Stev84

      The Mormons also lobbied heavily against the ERA. Something often forgetting when only mentioning their racism and homophobia.

    • pagansister

      OMG, I have the right to vote! When did that happen??? :-)

      • Gunner Miller

        Don’t fret your little head about voting, just hop back into the kitchen and make me a sammich.

        • pagansister

          Certainly, that is my “job” as a woman—GOD said so. NOT! ;-)

  • pagansister

    Sounds like the RCC–sorry, women aren’t able to be priests.

  • pagansister

    Guss those “ordained” men haven’t arrived in the 21st century yet.

    • The Other Weirdo

      The 21st? I don’t think they’re in the 20th yet.

      • pagansister

        Good point—I agree!

  • Matthew Baker

    Well all they have to do is put just enough pressure on the church leadership to cause a revelation that will fix the problem. It might take 20 years.

  • trj

    I know I’m stating the obvious, but it would seem the more religious men get the less they treat women as equals. The sense of male privilege goes along well with religiosity, among religious women as well.

    And then we get treated to hearing them say shit like “men and women are equals, they just have different roles; the man provides and makes the decisions, the woman cares for the household”.

    • JET

      “Separate but equal”… Where have I heard that before?

  • Ahab

    I’d say it’s time for Mormon women (and enlightened men) to vote with their feet.

    • Anna

      I guess most of them just don’t care. Look at how many women are still willing to belong to churches that deny them an equal role. Not just Mormons, but Catholics and many others. It’s like the institutional inequality doesn’t even bother them.

      • Camorris

        I suspect it may be universal, but from what I see locally it is primarily women that facilitate the survival of religion. It’s not hard to see which gender does most of the unpaid labour needed to keep local churches solvent.

  • Guest

    No sympathy.

    • m6wg4bxw

      So, this is what happens when I delete a comment. In Disqus terms, it seems “delete” means “reattribute the post to ‘Guest.’”

      • Anna

        I’ve noticed that, too. If you want to get rid of something, edit it first to say [deleted], and then go ahead and delete it.

        • m6wg4bxw

          Thanks for the tip.

  • Conspirator

    Back in the 80′s the Reorganized Church of the Latter Day Saints (which has since changed its name but I forgot what it is) decided to allow women to be ordained. Their leader said he had a vision from god, or a dream, or some such thing, in which god said it was now ok for women to be ordained. Some people raised a stink about it. Seems they had an issue with the fact that the leadership position was typically passed from father to son, and this particular leader only had daughters. Some found the sudden change of heart by god to be awfully convenient.

    But really, is anybody surprised by this news? Did anyone really think these women would be allowed in? The Mormons don’t work that way. Now when they actually let women into those things, that will be newsworthy.

  • Rain

    “the Lord has put it that way. It is part of His program.”

    The “Lord” should have just created everyone women. World problems solved. Not to mention he would have been the only guy on the block. Not a very bright guy. I guess you don’t exactly have to be a rocket scientist to be the creator of the universe.

    • The Other Weirdo

      God loves Extinction Level Events™ too much. With only women on the planet, they would have died out within one generation, and then he’d have to start all over again, and who’s to say it would turn out any better. It certainly didn’t after the supposed Flood.

  • m6wg4bxw

    Church spokesperson Ruth Todd explained to the group, which was formed to advocate for women to be admitted to the priesthood, that the Priesthood Session on Saturday was designed to strengthen male members, and that a similar session had been held for female members a week earlier.

    [emphasis added]

  • Mick

    Where will the women be next Sunday? Out on the sidewalk in front of the church and protesting loudly, or sitting inside the church and meekly dropping their tithes onto the collection plate? The hierarchy won’t change anything if the cash keeps flowing.

  • Harry Underwood

    “we will come to regret it”

    Regret what? This is utterly open-ended.

  • LesterBallard

    I don’t care about “reforming” these patriarchal, misogynistic, oppressive institutions; I want them gone, or at least reduced to irrelevancy.

    • Anna

      Ironically, the Mormons actually have a better shot than most at reforming their belief system. All it would take is one “revelation” from the prophet, and institutional sexism and homophobia could disappear in a flash. If they were smart, that’s the way they’d go.

      • LesterBallard

        I just don’t trust any so called “revelation” from any so called “prophet”.

        • Anna

          I don’t trust them either, but even a bogus “revelation” is better than nothing. The Mormons wouldn’t be as bad if they got rid of the harmful parts of their belief system.

  • bickle2

    Attention Mormon women

    You are a willing participant in a religion that oppresses you. Your continued membership means you fully believe in, and endorse your own repression.

    Religion is unchangeable. Either you believe it 100%, or you dump it
    Your refusal to dump it indicates you are even more insane than your fellows, and a party to your own abuse, which shows you need commitment as you are a danger to yourself

    The same goes for Muslims, Catholics, Quiverful and the rest. So put on your Stepford hat and shut up, or leave, and join those of us who know it’s an operation for fraud to arrest and punish every priesthood holder from the profit..I mean Prophet down to the kid who just got dunked, seizure of the assets and a full ban on it. As many bullies who aren’t your husbands and co-conspirators have said in the past “Stop hitting yourself”

  • AndrewInterrupted

    Instead of “ordain women” on her shirt, how about “end primitive superstition”?