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Posts Tagged ‘Feminism’

If you, as a Mormon woman, want to be ordained to the priesthood, why don’t you leave the LDS Church and join the Reorganized LDS Church/Community of Christ, where they ordain women?

Partially as a response to the late Mormon prophet Gordon B. Hinckley’s statement in an interview that there has been no “agitation” in the Church for women to be ordained to the priesthood, a number of Mormon women have begun to step up and publicly advocate for ordination. Groups have been formed like Ordain Women. Protests have been planned. Women have told their stories and explained why having the priesthood is important.

But it all seems entirely unnecessary to me. The Community of Christ (formerly known as the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) already ordains women. If you think women should be ordained, why not vote with your feet? I don’t think that there is a good, coherent reason to stay LDS, and I’ll tell you why I think that (and I invite you to tell me if and why you think I am wrong).

Normally, the biggest reason to stay Mormon despite any difficulty you have with the Church is that, at the end of the day, you believe that the Church is the sole holder of the priesthood keys necessary for saving ordinances. But it seems to me that if you believe that the nature of the priesthood is such that the Church is this far in error and can be corrected by “agitation,” you are effectively undermining the notion of exclusive priesthood authority anyway. The point of the priesthood in Mormonism is the authority to act in God’s name. It’s a principal-agent relationship with God. And it’s not just the authority to do saving ordinances, but also the authority to organize and preside over God’s church. But by rejecting the priesthood’s exercise of this authority (e.g., the policy of not ordaining women), you are rejecting the authority itself, aren’t you? If the priesthood held by the LDS Church is God’s exclusive authority, then when God’s agents act within the constraints of their calling, it is as if God has acted, isn’t it? That’s what authority is. If you don’t believe that, then you don’t really believe that the LDS Church’s priesthood is the exclusive authority to act in God’s name after all. And if that is the case, couldn’t you theoretically get the priesthood somewhere else? My understanding is that the Community of Christ will happily give it to you.

You might reply that, even though you may reject the Church’s claims to exclusive priesthood authority, your culture is Mormon and you identify as a Mormon and your Mormon heritage means everything to you and you do not feel like you should have to give it up to get equality. But you don’t! The Community of Christ is just as “Mormon” as the LDS Church is! It’s a close branch of the same family! Joining the Community of Christ is not a rejection of your Mormon identity at all. It’s just a different organization.

You could also say that unity is important, and you don’t believe that leaving the Church for the priesthood is the right decision, but as a Mormon–a member of a schismatic Restoration sect drawn out of schismatic Protestantism from schismatic Roman catholicism–you are hardly in a place to say that. If unity of faith is the most important thing, even to the extent that you are willing to stay in a patriarchal church and work for change that may never happen, the Eastern Orthodox church is happy to welcome you back with open arms. And their patriarchs have better hats.

I know that many Mormons who reject the Church’s truth claims choose to remain members of the Church for fear of family backlash, but I honestly suspect that you would not get nearly the same negative reaction to leaving for the Community of Christ. It’s still appreciably Mormon after all. I strongly suspect that your friends and family would not feel anywhere near the rejection that they would feel if you just became an atheist or an Evangelical. You would retain a cultural common ground without having to be a part of the Patriarchy. You might even get less flak for switching to the CoC than you would for staying LDS as a dissenter.

I’ve also heard the arguments about inequality anywhere hurting all of us, and whether or not I agree with that (it’s a zinger of a statement that can stand to have come unpacking and close examination done to it, but that is outside the scope of this post), I’m not sure it applies. There’s no guarantee that “agitating” inside the Church will change anything anyway, and voting with your feet will have an immediate individual and potentially powerfully aggregate impact (you make a statement, the patriarchal Church doesn’t get your tithing money anymore, membership in the patriarchal Church shrinks, etc.).

So why not convert to the Community of Christ?

(I want to be clear–this is an honest question and I’m interested in hearing the answers. I’m not a member of the Community of Christ, so I have no vested interest there; it just seems like it would be a better option.)

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Apparently I think. At least, I think I think. Also, Kay of Songs Of Unforgetting thinks I think, and so does Brendan of Off The Beaten Path. I am, of course, flattered. Since my natural tendency is to be an arrogant sonofabitch, I’m trying to not let it go to my head. The flattery, that is, not the thinking. Thinking belongs in the head. For the most part.

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As a thinking blogger, it is now my duty to tag five other thinking bloggers. My geas, if you will. My onus. Kay and Brendan are of course thinking bloggers, but in honor of playground rules, I observe the ironclad law of “no tagbacks.”

Thus, I chose the following five:

First, my favorite thinker is my beautiful and sexy wife, Katyjane. Is that rank favoritism and perhaps nepotism? Sure it is. I make no excuses. Also, my wife is brilliant, and her opinion means more to me than anyone else’s. I sometimes get frustrated when she doesn’t think exactly like me (did I mention the arrogant sonofabitch part?), but she definitely thinks. I hold her in the highest esteem.  Her blog is funny, offbeat, and thought-provoking.

Second, is my friend Bryant over at Make Me A Commentator!!! It’s a liberal blog where he mostly just pokes holes in conservative columnists’ arguments. But he’s dang good at what he does.

Third, I tag Halcyon over at Halcyonedays. She doesn’t post as often as I do, but I admire her for being willing to think through some scary, imposing, difficult stuff. She’s got guts. Regardless of what conclusions she ultimately comes to, the fact that she’s really, honestly trying to work through life, the universe, and everything instead of just going with the flow and taking the easy pill impresses the heck out of me. It must be her good genetics.

Fourth, I tag Adam over at Daylight Atheism. His analysis is incredibly incisive, and it makes me sit up, take notice, and seriously think things through. He is both reasoned and reasonable, in a way that would make any honest reader take serious stock in what they think and believe- and he tackles tough issues while remaining sensible and nonconfrontational. I would be lying if I did not admit that his essays at Ebon Musings had an incredibly profound effect on me.

Fifth is tough. There are probably a half-dozen other bloggers I would like to tag (and part of me is tempted to give the fifth award to all of them simultaneously as joint tenants, but that’s just the part of me that is taking a Property exam right now). But instead, I’ll give the fifth to Dando at Mormon and Evangelical Conversations, for his even-handed and thoughtful religious dialogue.

In the meantime, I shall give a general shout (and very honorable mention) out to the very worthy Peter at For Peter’s Sake (for always having a thoughtful point of view, and having good taste in women), WhoreChurch at Whore Church (for boldly tackling the ugliest bits of religion while maintaining a close relationship with God and a love for Jesus Christ), Jonathan Blake at Green Oasis (for generally being good at what he does, and always being interesting) Bored in Vernal at Hieing to Kolob (for being feminist and Mormon, and brilliant), and Random Goblin at The Goblin’s Lair (for being one of the most intelligent human beings on earth, as well as a cruel, arbitrary, arrogant sonofabitch- of course these days he writes abject nonsense instead of politics). There are probably plenty of others that I am seriously offending by not mentioning. Oh well. I am cruel and arbitrary (much like many people’s conception of God). Really, though, everyone in my Blogroll and/or Links is worth reading. But if somehow getting two thinking blogger awards justifies me in handing out two sets of awards, then they get them. You may decide for yourself. Blogging Law is not one of the classes I have taken at law school.

Normally, I try to keep away from this kind of thing on my blog and stick to the substantive stuff. But hey, like I said- I’m cruel and arbitrary. I do what suits me at the moment. What can I say?

(oh, also- don’t forget Jeff over at Druid Journal. He’s good enough to have gotte nmy third thinking blogger award twice! But I think he’s gotten one before).

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