Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Faith, Hope, and Love

There have always been disputations about doctrine amongst believers, even back to the New Testament.  That's okay. But let's not elevate ourselves above each other -- what can we learn from this?  How can we stretch and grow?
I do know I feel prompted to share and speak.  I have faith that there is a reason I'm being prompted to share (regardless of the outcome).  So what if changes I want to see never happen in this life?  Well, I know God loves me and I also know that God is not a jerk.  I have faith that all will be right in the end.  I have faith in the atonement, to heal all hurt and pain.  I have faith that He knows more than I do.  I know that I don't know everything, I am human.  We all are.   I know that there is no human alive that can comprehend the works and power of knowledge of God.  We earnestly make a lifelong effort to do so, and we are commanded to try to pattern our lives after our Savior.

Sure I want to see incremental changes I am seriously stoked to receive more light and knowledge regarding women's priestesshood and Heavenly Mother and all that jazz, whenever it comes.   I know that we have very little knowledge about how things work in the next life (other than spread the Gospel, we do have that scripture).  I do know I will be happy, and I need to trust God.  I need to follow His plan for me.  I need to respond to promptings of the Spirit.   And other people need to respond to their promptings, and I have no idea what theirs look like.

I need to bring others to Christ.  Because I hope that's what I'm doing here.  Making a place that is safe to have questions, and leave it in the Lord's hands.  To trust Him.  I hope that's what I'm communicating.  And also to acknowledge that it is HARD.   Hard to live in this culture that tells you not to question, to be silent, to go away.   And also to show: have hope!  Change is trickling down, even if it took years to decide to put up a portrait of women, they did it!  Change is slow, especially in our organization.  So cling to your hope - and if you can't find a space for yourself, make one.  You belong here.

It is okay to question, to want things to change, and usually we are brought to these views by something that hurt - that changed our minds and our hearts.  God has a role in these things.  We can feel our sadness and hurt, we can mourn that what we have now is not more - but we must bury our anger and bitterness at that funeral.  We can feel those feelings - but we must let them go.  Don't lose your passion and don't be silenced, but anger and hurt are never good motivations.  Love is.  In all things act in love, and find God's love in your life. 

I know that everyday I find happiness.  I find God's Love for me.  I find it in my expanding group of friends (yes this introvert is making friends).  I find it in tender mercies.  I find it in the budding flowers and the sunshine and the cuddles of my daughter and holding my friends' babies and warm socks.  I find happiness in my green apple carrot juice and my husband's five o'clock shadow and his kisses when he gets home from work.  I feel happy when I study my scriptures, I even feel happy struggling with messy topics and questions.  I feel happiness when I meet a friend online who has questions like mine, and we can strengthen each other and lift each other. 

And we all have a shared goal:  Zion.   We can't have Zion without each other, and we have got to give each other room to exercise our Agency, and work out our salvation before the Lord.  I know how to help people do this:  love them.  Commandment 1:  Love God.  Commandment 2: Love others.....not just those who are easy to love.  Those that are HARD to love. I need to soften my heart to those whom I find hard to love.  This is my challenge. 

 FairMormon, These Are Our Sisters
President Uchtdorf explains, “[W]hen it comes to our own prejudices and grievances, we too often justify our anger as righteous and our judgment as reliable and exclusively appropriate. Though we cannot look into another’s heart, we assume that we know a bad motive or even a bad person when we see one. We make exceptions when it comes to our own bitterness because we feel that, in our case, we have all the information we need to hold someone else in contempt.” The Merciful Shall Obtain Mercy
I think we shouldn't apply this quote to others but to ourselves, I cannot see another person's heart when they say things online to me or stand in line at temple square - I need to let go of anger and bitterness towards others for their actions and words.
Church leadership has provided a number of examples of Christlike approaches, particularly that of Ruth M. Todd (Church Public Affairs) in her interaction with OW last October as they attempted to gain admission to the Priesthood session of General Conference.8  First, Sister Todd was clear in stating the Church’s position. She said, “This meeting is all about strengthening the men of our church, so this is no surprise to you, that we won’t be able to offer you a ticket or a place to see it…Millions of women in this church do not share the views of this small group that has come and organized this
protest today…And some of the members feel this is very divisive as well.”  Sister Todd then reached out with charity, saying, “Even so, these are our sisters, and we want them in our church. And we hope they find the peace and joy we all seek in the gospel of Jesus Christ.” She spoke directly with everyone she could, going down the line and taking them by the hand. She engaged them as individuals rather than as opponents or outsiders with the assurance, “I am so happy to know you…
Kylee Shields, sister to an Ordain Women member; I Am My Sister's Keeper
I understand having a difference of opinion (I have 5 fiercely opinionated sisters). I understand feeling content as a Mormon woman and not understanding why other Mormon women aren't. I understand being uncomfortable with what the Mormon Feminist women are feeling, doing, talking about, organizing, etc. What I don't understand is the hate.  I am my sister's keeper. It is my responsibility to hold her heart and be aware of her concerns. I may not understand why she decided to wear pants to church or why she wants to go to the Priesthood session, but I can certainly learn about her cause and concerns before I demonize her.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

OW and Gender, Part 4: Cultural Gender Identity

I've been thinking a lot lately about why people are SO deeply offended by Ordain Women.  I mean, there are some crazy things that some Mormons believe and we still welcome those members into orthodoxy.  For example, some people believe that polygamy is the status quo for eternity, and that as one young newlywed put it, "I can't wait til I have more wives so that when one is mad at me I can just go find comfort in another one." ugh, yuck.  I get that OW is vocal and you wish they would just shut up and go away, but even if they are less vocal and just blended in, they would still get this reaction from many members of the church:
Even though the definition of priesthood is keys, authority, and power from God (has nothing to do with gender) and even though throughout history the pattern of the priesthood eligibility has been one of steady expansion (I don't believe in a Church based on modern revelation that we have to assume all expansion is finished); this is what it comes down to:  in the modern Church culture, the identity of manhood is inextricably tied to the Priesthood.  The way a boy becomes a man is through priesthood patterns in our culture:   YM offices/quorums, stacking chairs, home teaching, phood session with other men and ice cream afterwards, missions, having others weep with emotion and gratitude for your faithfulness, etc.  Boys become men in our culture because of the priesthood -- they don't have the priesthood because they are men.  A male identity in our culture is inextricably tied in unnecessary ways to the priesthood, it has comixed in with the definition of mormon masculinity (cue Tim the Toolman Taylor grunts).  Whether right or wrong this is what Ordain Women is asking to change, these cultural traditions of gender identity, and we should acknowledge it as part of the conversation.   

It is not easy to be a man in this Church it's a lot of responsibility, and their path for life and most of their choices are already made for them: to be a good mormon man you do this, then this, then this, then mission, then marriage, then career, then provide, then father, etc.  They know exactly how they should  live to follow their plan on earth: the check boxes have been laid out before them.  Men are judged very harshly for varying from their check boxes.  I have heard family members express frustration at such harsh cultural consequences - even if they feel they have followed the Spirit in not walking the line.

A Christian man’s highest calling is not priesthood; a Christian man’s highest calling is to follow Christ.

It isn't easy to be a woman in this Church, it's a lot of responsibility, and women have a much more ambiguous path.  We only have two check boxes: marriage and children.  The focus of which has good and bad consequences.  As in my case, the over-emphasis in my life lead me to ignore God's will in my life in how I was to build His kingdom with all the talents and unique gifts He has given me.  There was only one way to be a good Mormon woman and all else was choosing the wrong!!   Those poor souls who are single or infertile - they just have to suffer through this life until they get their check boxes!  Those check boxes are the only thing that matters!!  And yet in my life, the atonement healed the hurt and pain of infertility when I was prompted to celebrate and embrace it -- to love that I get to follow God's plan for me a different way, and to reject the message that my Womanhood is found in wifehood and motherhood.  Those are very important ways to be a Woman of God, but is not how to define being a woman of God. 

In our modern Church we embrace religious complementarianism: which ties a female's identity and value only to that of a wife, mother, and homemaker (the 1950s June Cleaver).  The gender roles we currently have are not a result of ancient history of how the bible treated women (thank goodness):  Most do not want to return to a time when fathers owned their daughters and sold them to the highest bidder (Exodus 21:7; Nehemiah 5:5; Genesis 29:1–10),  when multiple wives and concubines were a part of everyday life (even for men of God like Abraham, Jacob, and David), when women were forbidden from owning property, when foreign virgins could be captured as spoils of war (Judges 21), when a woman’s lack of virginity could get her executed (Deuteronomy 22:11, Leviticus ).  We know we don't want to return to Biblical Womanhood, but even then If you follow the history of the Church, the scope of women has not always been so limited as it is now. And the timing of the rise of the complementarianism is exactly the same timing of the movement of Second Wave Feminism.

Here is where so many women get SO ANGRY.  Complementarianism is wonderful because it celebrates that a woman honors God in the home -- this is such a wonderful, beautiful, needed message.  Where the confusion comes in . . . is when it says that is the only acceptable way for a woman to honor God.  This is where I find Elder Christofferson's talk to be beautiful: because it doesn't say, women you have to only do one thing . . . it says, "women exercise moral authority in homes, classrooms, boardrooms, etc."
"A common refrain among Christians is that “motherhood is a woman’s highest calling.” I must have heard this 1,000 times growing up. While men can honor God in varying capacities through work, family, and ministry, a woman’s spiritual aptitude is measured primarily by her ability to procreate.  I understand that many pastors elevate motherhood in order to counter the ways contemporary culture often dismisses the value of moms. This is a noble goal indeed, and the Church should be a place where moms are affirmed, celebrated, honored, and revered....[yet]

A Christian woman’s highest calling is not motherhood; a Christian woman’s highest calling is to follow Christ. And following Christ is something a woman can do whether she is married or single, rich or poor, sick or healthy, childless or Michelle Dugger.  (Rachel Held Evans, Women of Valor)
Ruth is a beautiful example, because she was a foreign, dirt poor, single, childless, field gleaner who is praised for being a woman of valor before she ever married - eshet cheyil - just as our Proverbs 31 homemaker is.  Being a woman of valor is not what you do or what your role is -- it is who you are.  It is our character and virtues that define us and make us Women of God: honesty, chastity, faith, divine nature, knowledge, integrity, accountability, good works, humility, kindness, patience, diligence, charity, temperence, purity, modesty, meekness, discernment, cheerfulness, mercy, courage, brave, protective, compassion, understanding, forgiveness, love, etc.  These are all virtues that define our character.  {Tangent: quit using the word virtue as a euphemism for sexual purity.  It is a misuse of the word.}

You can be a woman of God as a homemaker or as a congresswoman.  As a former working mother myself -- working in no way lessened by focus, love, or dedication to my motherhood, it did broaden the definition of my womanhood.   Increased responsibility in my life did not lessen my motherhood -- it required that my husband and I, due to our circumstances (in following the family proclamation) adapt and find a way to continue to raise a family with a Christ-centered home that honored our fatherhood and motherhood.  This can be done in many ways, and it is important for us to consciously choose the way that works best for our family and own the consequences of this decision and honor and support others in their decisions. 

I do not mean to imply that men and women are exactly the same, but could we challenge ourselves to enlarge our vision?  That there can be more than one way to be a Good Mormon Man or Woman?  To realize that being a Mormon Male is more than Priesthood Holder; that Mormon Woman is more than Mother?  That if this idea is threatened it doesn't mean we value the priesthood or motherhood less?  Can we unlink our gender identities from a role we perform and link our value instead to being like Christ?  Who exhibited what we consider both masculine and feminine virtues (leadership and nurturing, strength and meekness, courage and submission) that both men and women should develop? 

OW and Gender, Part 3: Not Equality; Accountability


Here I think it's important to talk about what priesthood is.  I liked Sheri Dew's definition of it being the keys, authority, and power to act in God's name.  But there are two distinct and separate areas this power is exercised: ritually and administratively.  Most of my feelings on this matter are very well encapsulated by a post found here (On Being Needed Vs. Being Necessary), it has thoughts that I believe that most of the conversation going forward shouldn't be based on "equality" but on a fuller understanding and expression of "accountability and responsibility."   I'll quote and try to summarize below.

"In the Church, possession of priesthood is not solely about the proper legitimate performance of spiritual rites and ordinances, but also about the right to speak and be heard, the power to make decisions, to be endowed with full accountability and responsibility, not just at an individual level, but also at an institutional one. Lacking these things can and often does lead to the alienation and brokenness these women have experienced solely on account of their gender."

"New practices and policies.. could be instituted in order to improve women’s and girls’ experience in the Church.  But no matter how much women are included in general processes and individually listened to by priesthood leaders, the fact that they must be included and listened to in the first place demonstrates that, de jure and de facto, women stand outside all formal decision-making, at both the general and local levels."

"Our sisters, wives, daughters, and friends deserve to be represented at every level where they have a stake in ecclesiastical decisions and events that affect them..... Merely asking for the opinions of some women would not inform our response like having women with the power to shape and mold it alongside the men they work and serve with."

"Though we believe the Church was instituted by God and its leaders can and do receive divine guidance on its behalf, it is nevertheless a human institution run by and peopled by human beings. I think this is the underlying theological defense of the status quo, that if God wants something to change, God will simply see to it; therefore, the gender of the decision-makers is insignificant because, as stewards of God’s power, they will simply receive divine instruction and all will be well, all wounds will be eventually be healed, all problems resolved, in the Lord’s own time."

"However, priesthood does not make of its holders passive receptacles of constant streams of divine revelation, but makes them responsible to make decisions of their own will and wisdom, in hope of divine ratification. How can we not include women in this process? How can we not empower women as vessels of such responsibility? Women cannot be regarded as fully human until the full measure of responsibility and accountability is theirs. This is where the charged rhetorics of modesty, pedestalization, and singularity and specialness of gender are mutually embedded–in the wonderful-terrible blessing and burden of cultural, institutional, and religious responsibility and accountability, or lack thereof. This is also why the rhetoric of “equality” should be replaced with one of responsibility and accountability. Responsibility is what is really at stake with this kind of empowerment, and it is really what we mean by “equality.” Responsibility is the decisive and irrevocable difference between becoming angels or becoming gods."

"Cultural identity that Priesthood has produced is what really is at stake for both the men who balk at extending priesthood authority to women and the women who insist that they would never want priesthood–not really because they can’t imagine passing the sacrament or doing Tithing Settlement but because they don’t want to be men, full stop."  (PS this will all be addressed in Part 3!)

"But the institutional Church is nevertheless of vital importance to its members. It could never cause so much pain, joy, sense of community, and alienation if it were not. If there is another way to irrevocably and formally fold women into the decision-making process at the local and general levels, I’m all ears"

"Regardless of being able to show that women were once ordained at various levels (as can be more or less demonstrated in both Mormon and Christian history), that there is here and now a need that has gone unmet demands that we start doing things differently. If that means giving women the priesthood, I am in favor. If alternatively it means restructuring the priesthood so as to decouple it from administrative authority and limit its functions to more spiritual matters, thereby freeing women to participate administratively and have a voice of institutional power, I am in favor. If it means giving women a female priestesshood that is distinct from male priesthood but with equal and responsibilized authoritative stewardship, I am in favor. If it means not necessarily giving women priesthood but placing them on councils where they have a more equal say and vote, where they become systemically necessary and not merely appealed to if arbitrarily fortunate enough to have priesthood leaders who truly care about what they say, that is at least a leap forward. Even gradual changes in a direction that looks something like this are better than nothing. What matters is that women be empowered to speak and serve and bless in the religious community no less than their brothers. What matters is that when a woman speaks women and men should sit up and listen, not just because she might have priesthood or legitimate authority of some kind, but because there are no institutional barriers providing a convenient excuse not to listen to her. What matters is that building the kingdom of God is an effort that requires all of us in our full capacity, liberating us to use whatever talents we have at our disposal. There are so many women who are outstanding leaders in the workplace, but whose leadership isn’t nearly as vital in our ecclesiastical context. There are so many other women who could learn to be these outstanding leaders in a pastoral context if given the opportunity. What about women counseling with others about suffering, faithfulness, the temple, sexuality, etc? What about women feeling more capacitated to participate and contribute in a multitude of different ways? What about men and women together trying to figure out how to strengthen families while discussing what it could mean for men to be men and women to be women? How much closer to Zion could we leap then?"

"Most important here, though, is the increasing alienation so many women in the Church are feeling within the structure as it currently stands. A Mormon “priesthood of all believers” may not ultimately be the answer, but it is acutely appealing in fully responding to this growing alienation, because it makes precisely that structural change that would plug women fully into the heart of the life of the Church. Could Church leaders prayerfully enact something like this, something of which there would be divine approval? I think the answer is yes. Priesthood is a sacred God-given trust, not alone to passively listen for God’s will and carry it out but to freely use that power, the privilege God has given holders of the priesthood to righteously engage in service according to the stewardship they have been given."

"In the end this is an argument for formally and radically weaving women into the heart of the ebb and flow of Church life, giving them voices that are systemically necessary, a part of the conventional function of the Church, the equals of men in speech, institutional power, and responsibility. The current priesthood-driven structure seems to insist that ordaining women might be the only present way of really doing that,  though what seems paramount is ultimately seeing the realization of these fundamentally necessary goals, regardless if priesthood is the vehicle to make that happen."

I very much apologize for block quoting - but . . . he speaks what my heart feels. Please note that I don't place any timelines or stipulations on changes or improvements. . . But I agree with my cousin yesterday who commented 1) we discount how long God waits until the population is open to receive further revelation before giving it and 2) the doctrine of our Gospel and teachings in the temple whisper very much of a shared power dynamic.  Much of this belief comes from the commandment that we have to become ONE upon marriage.  The we have God the Father and God the Mother***** who are one  . . . I don't know when changes or revelation or anything will come.

But I do believe now is a good time to have respectful discussions about these issues - AND all voices should be included in these discussions.  This is not currently happening.  The scriptures are replete with examples of prophets questioning things they thought were always true (Nephi having to kill Laban) or prophets who wrestle with issues before God (Enos).  The scriptures teach me that questions and wrestling with them is okay.  That my faith has been strengthened and deepened through my questions and wrestling.  And everyone's path in faith back to God is different.  And we should respect each others' journeys.

*************The Reference for "God the Mother" is found in the comments below

OW & Gender, Part 2: Why I Disagree With Ordain Women


First of all, if you haven't yet, please go read Ordain Women's FAQ page and a handful of their profiles.  Now, whether you agree with these men and women or not, please acknowledge their bravery and courage for taking the risk of putting a profile up.  The consequences these faithful members face is real in their lives.....wowza, right?  Looking at those profiles, I am filled with a confirmation that these are my brothers and sisters sitting next to me in the pews and holding callings with me and leading and loving my children in their callings, etc.  I don't want them to leave!!

One of the reasons I am not an OW member is because I look around and see easy changes that could be made in the church organization via policy changes, I enumerated on some in my first blog post:  equal funding and structure of boys/girls programs, an improved conversation regarding modesty and sexuality in the Church, female representation on decision-making boards in the Church, eliminate gender restrictions on callings that have nothing to do with priesthood rituals: stake auditor, Sunday School presidency, etc.  These are specific issues that are important to me based on my life experiences as a Relief Society and Primary President and as an accountant.  Other women have other issues that are important to them.  To me these things seem like obvious, low-hanging fruit that may take years to change and have NOTHING to do with priesthood ordination, but if no one says anything about them, nothing will continue to be done.

For example, in Elizabeth Smart's advocacy for human trafficking and sexual abuse, "Smart said she "felt so dirty and so filthy" after she was raped by her captor, and she understands why someone wouldn't run because of that alone.  I thought, 'Oh, my gosh, I'm that chewed up piece of gum, nobody re-chews a piece of gum, you throw it away.' And that's how easy it is to feel like you know longer have worth, you know longer have value."  She was referring to the abstinence only object lessons she received in the church (no one wants a licked cupcake, chewed up piece of gum, manhandled flower bud, or any other really poor, awful, objectifying things that equate a woman's value with her virginity).  Many people criticized her for publicly criticizing lessons she received in Church about her abstinence-only education that caused her harm.  But listen, if no one ever stands up and publicly talks about how "chewed up piece of gum" is a bad, harmful way to teach chastity -- we are still going to get people teaching those lessons. 

How Ordain Women sees things is this:  for decades Mormon feminists have been asking for the low-hanging fruit.  And they've been punished and excommunicated and marginalized for publicly advocating for things like: women praying in general conference.  So Mormon feminists can continue to just talk amongst each other -- but nothing will ever change until women are actually in a position to enact the changes.  They also reason that the MoFem community is alive and well on the internets, but if all we do is just talk on the internets nothing will happen - the Church has shown that they can easily ignore and let them have a community where the complain and explain and listen to others mansplain (ha!) and not really acknowledge their existence.  But the internet created tools of advocacy too, in the case of petitioning the Church for an official policy on menstruating women and Baptisms for the Dead (policies were all over the place and haphazardly enforced to the detriment of many women) or to the action of "Let Women Pray."  (How Social Media Revitalized and Enlarged a Movement,  Because of the historical precedent established between Mormon feminists and the church organization, Ordain Women strongly believes ordination is the only answer to solving many issues.  What they see is the Church becoming more like Zion.  They sincerely have this belief that it is the only way to move forward, I do not agree with them.  The public affairs letter referred to their end goal as non-negotiable, I think the Church would be surprised how many OW would go along with an alternate solution revealed from God.  And I disagree with the Public Affairs letter that since they have a certain opinion on the way forward, that their voice is damaging to the discussion (and shouldn't be listened to).  ALL voices should be a part of the discussion, yes even these OW ladies. 


Kate Kelly is the founder of Ordain Women, and I have found her to be a little rough around the edges.  I have seen her easily dismiss opposing opinions and not conduct herself in a . . . well, a way that we teach our women they should act, she's a bit brassy :-)   If I think about it I'm not surprised, a woman with enough chutzpah to start this thing has got to be filled with so much passion and determination and fearlessness that she's probably the only type of woman who could have done such a thing.  Kelly is a human rights lawyer, and she observed that when working towards rights that in Africa, action received a response.  When women had a peaceful protest and quietly asked for a right which they were due -- they ended up being handcuffed and dragged away.  But the thing that began changing minds is that the men having to drag these women away were now their friends, neighbors, and family members looking them in the eyes and seeing their pain: and they could no longer ignore those feelings, they had to be addressed.  So Kate comes from a political activist background which I believe frames what she does and the words she uses (ie Equality, more on that later).

There are many members of the Church who support women's ordination (many, many of them male) who are not members of OW.  They don't agree with how she does things either or how she responds to their suggestions or correction or criticism.   Most people who are in this camp also disagree with the actions the group takes.  For example, the peaceful "action" being held during Priesthood Meeting is a point of a lot disagreement.  I do not believe it is the best foot forward, but I can empathize with them and their pain -- and I do see OW as a group that needs to be included in conversations about women's issues.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ordain Women and Gender, Part 1: A Response to the Public Affairs Letter

I have had 48 hours to process The Church's Letter to Ordain Women.  As I have stated before, I am not a member of supporter of the movement, and I generally disagree with their tone and methods.  So as a non-OW Mormon Feminist, I'd like to share with you my perspective on some of the contents of the letter:
  1. You are a small minority and your position is extreme.   What does this have to do with the price of rice in China?  Is the fact that a smaller number of women have felt pain, marginalization, and sexism and has questions about policy and practice in the Church negate their experiences?  It's validity?  Do only the experiences of the majority matter?  And citing the Pew Study numbers are problematic, as the question it references is actually quite a loaded question in Mormon culture.  Again with marginalizing them into a fringe radical group.
  2. Your position detracts from the helpful discussions Church leaders are having with women in and outside of Church Leadership.  While I am not a member of OW, I do participate in WAVE (Women Advocating for Voice and Equality) and I'm A Mormon Feminist communities.  For years and years (chronicled back to its establishment almost 10 years ago) WAVE has sought a way to start a discussion between women who have issues with practice and policy in the Church and leadership.  They have been thwarted right and left, and told the only way to address the Church is through the proper structure: bishop, stake president.  Not one member of any of these groups has been allowed to speak to a leader of our Church with any influence or authority to affect any changes (above a SP).  In fact often many of these women have been released from callings and been given probationary status and punishments for meeting with leadership and discussing their concerns and views.  This has created a culture of fear of addressing these issues.  So, whatever conversations are actually happening with women in the Church, they are not with women who actually experience pain and marginalization and hold these actual concerns enough to belong to these communities.  It makes no sense to me to say, "We hear that some of you have issues, so we are only going to consult with women who don't have any issues in attempting to resolve them."  The reason Ordain Women is engaging the Church in a public manner is because they have asked and asked and asked for a meeting with leaders to discuss their concerns and all attempts at addressing these issues privately have been ignored.  There is a pattern established in scripture that members are able to petition their leadership to prayerfully ask questions of God on their behalf (Zelophehad's Daughters, basically all of D&C, etc.) and they are attempting to find a way to follow this pattern.  If the church has a problem with the publicity of it all -- it could easily be solved by making it a private matter of conversation.  Would there be harm in creating a Women's Group that discusses matters that has GAs on it, AND that has women that represent the full spectrum of Mormon Womanhood (Ordain Women, Non-OW Mormon Feminists, Non-Feminists who would like to see change, and Women who support the Status Quo). The reason the activism continues is because they have not been engaged, and the church has a history of directly engaging with marginalized members in the past (Genesis group), they just to refuse to do so in the instance of Mormon Feminism. 
  3. Ordination of Women will never happen.   Says who?  Even Elder Anderson, when addressing the question in Conference in October, said that we have no idea why things the way they are.  There certainly are enough indications in scripture and apocrypha (female priests and prophetesses), church history (Emma's ordaining, turning of keys to RS), GA quotes (McConkie on women among noble and great ones who created the world), and the temple (all genders are to prepare to officiate in the priesthood etc...are you not listening in the temple?) that make the matter quite complex.  Now I don't know when these revelations will be fulfilled or received - in this life or the next . . . but living in a certainty that we already have the answer actually precludes further revelation from being received. It IS a possibility.  A defining feature of our Church from all others is that we do not live by creeds.
  4. Attend the Women's Meeting.  I support a general women's meeting.  I don't think we should get rid of gendered spaces in the Church -- but if we have a women's meeting the other meeting should be called a general men's meeting.  Actual priesthood or even membership in the church has no bearing on if you are allowed to attend and enter -- just maleness, so call it what it is.**Ordain Women has stated if it were the General Men's Meeting there would be no reason for them to try to attend.  The only reason they are there is because it's advertised as a place for prospective priesthood holders to receive counsel from their prophets.**
  5. Take your protest to the free speech zone.  Ah, this broke my heart.  As Uchtdorf indicated, we are to respect all honest seekers of truth.  Whatever your opinion of these women, I invite you to see them as your sisters and not as enemies.  Sisters in need of comfort and a listening ear and love.  Sisters who have questions.  It is not a crime to have questions.  Again, reread Uchtdorf - they are welcome with us.  I do not see anything in OW plans that is not peaceful.  It certainly is uncomfortable for the Church and public relations to have to turndown a crying woman asking for entrance into an overflow location with standby tickets even though there was room for them.  What would really be the harm of publicly stating, "Sisters, we disagree with you insistently.  But of course if there are extra seats in the back of the Tabernacle overflow after all men are seated we will let you enter."  Their mere presence would not "destroy" the meeting if people are in tune with the Spirit, any more than a man or husband being granted entrance into the Women's Meeting to sit on the back row would destroy the meeting.  I agree with the quotes in the SL Tribune article:
           The church "has regretfully upped the ante," says Steve Evans, a Salt Lake City attorney and Mormon blogger. "The repeat of last year’s activity was not destined to gain as much press as before, but now things have changed. If it not only refuses entry to these women but also forces them off of Temple Square, the church may inadvertently send the message that it feels threatened by the Ordain Women movement."  Mormons need to see that their church "is open to serious, faithful conversation about the role of women in God’s organization," says Evans, a founder of the LDS blog, By Common Consent. "This response probably sends the wrong message."

           It’s also a "PR disaster for the church," says Kristine Haglund, editor of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought. "Goliath is never going to get better press than David — the optics are terrible."  And unnecessary, she says, given that Ordain Women had announced that April’s conference would be the second and final time the group planned to seek priesthood tickets.
I want to challenge every person who disagrees with OW not to think of them as enemies, but as sisters.  Sisters that you have been commanded to love and comfort.  The relegating of women with questions who are seeking ways to engage the leadership of the church to the status of anti-mormon, garment burning protesters . . . it hurts me deeply.  Because while I am not a member of OW -- I am like them.  I have questions.  I hope for change and engagement and to be listened to by leadership.  I am like them.  I have seen them called apostate and I personally have been called apostate as well.  While I cannot speak for all of OW, at first when I was antagonistic towards them I despised their existence.  And then I sought to understand them.  I engaged them online and listened to their experiences via podcasts and posts.  I heard their hearts and understood, yet felt the Spirit confirming a different answer for me. So who are these so called apostates that everyone enjoys hating on? 

Mormon feminists are not exclusively female; 19 percent of those surveyed were male.  Seventy-nine percent were aged 40 or younger.  Ninety-five percent lived in the US, and 91 percent identified as Caucasian.  Eighty-one percent attended church three times per month, and 70 percent currently hold a calling.  Eighty-seven percent reported having been baptized at the standard age of eight years.  Seventy-seven percent reported levels of belief that were consistent with those of mainstream Mormonism.  Ninety-one percent of married Mormon feminists were married in an LDS temple, a sign of faithfulness and orthopraxy.  The majority of respondents were parents (62 percent).  Fifty-nine percent believe that women will be ordained in this life or the next, a further 26 percent believe that women already hold the priesthood, and 16 percent believe that women will never hold the priesthood. (I Am A Mormon Feminist", 2013 Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion)

From Joseph Smith:
“I never thought it was right to call up a man and try him because he erred in doctrine, it looks too much like Methodism and not like Latter day Saintism. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be kicked out of their church. I want the liberty of believing as I please, it feels so good not to be tramelled.” [2]  WoJS, 183-84.
 This is not an instance to celebrate the separating of wheat from the chaff, as I've seen in family members and on online forums.  This may not be a test for Ordain Women.  This may be a test for us as how we respond to them.  Does not the Lord leave the 99 to seek after the 1?  Yes, the Lord would comfort them and weep with them.  Of this I am sure.

I am sure because Jesus wept with Mary.  In John 11 Lazarus had died and Jesus was returning to help.  Mary went out to meet Jesus:

 32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
 33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled,
 34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
 35 Jesus wept.

You see, Jesus already knew Lazarus would rise from the dead.  Could he have upbraided Mary for lacking faith?  For not already seeing the end from the beginning?  Or did he feel her pain and share her sorrow.  He wept.