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Letter: LDS women lack equal opportunities in the church

Jan 15, 2022

Keith Burns, “LDS women need more opportunities, not more praise”, 12-11, hit the nail on the head, calling out LDS church leadership to end their “soft influence tactics”, praising sisters while simultaneously “restricting [them] from serving in upper leadership positions[,] preserving their own…power structure.” For decades I listened as leaders exalted sisters’ virtues–innate spiritual strengths, personal power for good. I heard ad nauseam how righteous we were, stalwart, valiant. Question, if we were so righteous, why weren’t we called to top leadership positions, sharing our noble natures to the best use, being included in their inner circles? Eventually, concluding their commendations as patronizing “hollow adulation”, realizing women’s opportunities were limited by well-defined boundaries, I left the church.

Fast forward 25 years. I’m baffled why 21st century women continue accepting these confines, yet repudiate such gender limitations in the workforce. As Neylan McBaine, in Whitehurst’s/Meyer’s “Women’s influence expands despite priesthood ban”, 12-15, states “… [Church] is the only place in my daughter’s lives where they are being told that they cannot do something because they are…women.” Additionally, “…[P]arity can be achieved without ordination…; [u]ntil that representation becomes a priority…, we are going to los[e] the girls of this generation in droves.”

If sisters possess sterling innate qualities, as perpetually reminded, then ordination is unnecessary in high leadership positions. If “men need the priesthood to keep them in order,” while “women do not…” (Burns), then they can absolutely lead successfully in these inner circles sans ordination.

In “Gender equality is at the heart of LDS doctrine”, 12-18, Kristine Douglass articulates, “Most LDS men and women consider both genders fully equal… .” Also, “[T]he vast majority of LDS women are immensely fulfilled… .” The thousands on social media platforms like Ordain Women and Feminist Mormon Housewives, naming only two, belies this; unrest, uneasiness, disquiet exist among the church’s rank and file.

At days end, two questions remain: Do women have the final say? No, men always voice the last word. Are women present where decisions are made? A few, but overall, no. Until this picture morphs, LDS women lack equality in the church.

Brenda Rawson



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