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Ordain Women Group Publishes "six Discussions" To Proselytize For Its Agenda

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Wade writes:

How so? (I ask because I am quite confident I can demonstrate otherwise, but I respect your opinion and am open to hearing and perhaps rationally challenging what you may say.)

Personal revelation.

 

Ben M.

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...those involved in the OW movement have seen both negative and positive responses. You see, for them, this is huge even if the responses are mostly negative. Why? They are being heard (even if they are not directly responded to). There is an awareness of their voice by the Church. And this means that they have a voice that they haven't had before. And while there may be an attempt to avoid responding to them directly, yet, all the same, changes continue to happen.

I'm sure teh individuals involved with OW feel they have found a voice for ordainign women, but I don't think they recognize that tehre has been an ongoing vopice in behalf of women's role in the Church for some time.

 

I think certain changes have been in the making long, long before OW came into being. OW probably has as much of a voice as it does because of that. It’s taken a long time, but it isn’t because the Church hasn’t strongly pushed the inclusion of women in the council process for over 20 years, which is the bottom-line measure for having an equal voice in decision-making, not priesthood office.

 

D&C 107 shows that equality in power and authority exists only between the First Presidency and Quorum of Twelve. The Seventy and remaining councils are equal in authority only, and not power (keys). The properly functioning councils will have key-directed / delegated authority to make decisions and will show that their decisions are made by the unanimous voice of the members. These members and decision-making councils consist of men and women at all levels of the Church. This is how change (albeit slow change) is acheived without divisiveness, contention or apostasy.

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The problem, CV75, is that if there have been these voices, being heard, for all this time, it hasn't made the kind of impact that we have seen in the last 24 months. And while it may be wrong to correlate the changes in the last 24 months to the efforts of these different groups, I suspect that it isn't entirely inappropriate to correlate them. Further, you have to be kind of blind not to be able to point to certain changes as directly related.

 

But then again, we already established the fact the you are unwilling to give any credit at all to this group, didn't we? As you noted a couple of days ago:

 

I do think there is a difference between giving recognition and giving credit, but I don’t recognize OW as contributing to the advancement of women’s issues in the Church, either.

 

So your response isn't a big surprise.

 

Ben M.

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Wade writes:

 

 

Personal revelation.

 

Ben M.

 

To be clear, are you saying that you have received personal revelation that requests for equality (presumably made to Church leaders) are fundamental to God's will?

 

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

Edited by wenglund

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Sure Wade. Whatever floats your boat.

 

That's not the issue, of course. In the long run, arguing about whether or not its appropriate to ask for change is simply a distraction to the question of whether change is appropriate and necessary. As the Church makes changes (and it has been) we can only assume that change is both appropriate and necessary. So the appeal to these other questions serves only as a distraction. A way of claiming that we can ignore the issues that many women have over this gender gap in the Church.

 

So the question of my basis for that belief i not an issue I have the least inclination in discussing with you. What I would really, really like from you is a short list, of four or five significant changes that you think would be appropriate to help close the gender gap in the Church. I asked you for this earlier in this thread, lets see if you can come up with something substantive.

 

Ben M.

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The problem, CV75, is that if there have been these voices, being heard, for all this time, it hasn't made the kind of impact that we have seen in the last 24 months. And while it may be wrong to correlate the changes in the last 24 months to the efforts of these different groups, I suspect that it isn't entirely inappropriate to correlate them. Further, you have to be kind of blind not to be able to point to certain changes as directly related.

 

But then again, we already established the fact the you are unwilling to give any credit at all to this group, didn't we? As you noted a couple of days ago:

 

 

 

 

So your response isn't a big surprise.

 

Ben M.

The strength of my argument doesn’t rely in its being a surprise.

 

The council process always moves slowly and then bears fruit in the form of a seemingly accelerated pace of change. The changes we’ve seen aren’t about giving women priesthood office but about improved function of councils by virtue of their inclusion. I see OW as Johnny-come-lately crying foul and unable (and at best, unprepared) to function well in a council atmosphere; can’t give them credit for that.

 

I stumbled into this thread because I mistakenly thought it was the other one I had been posting in, that was getting far less attention. I don't eally pay attention to OW nor any of the other facebook groups that the Church has decided to dialogue with.

 

But in principle, giving them credit for bringing up issues that are being addressed more constructively through other means seems like a bad idea. Just about the only thing worse is to give credit to the underlying problem.

 

Like I say, this has been going on for years, but if I were to correlate the changes over the last 24 months with the efforts of different groups, I think by far the groups with the greatest impact are the councils that have been working on these issues over many years, and by far most often without the response they should have gotten from the local units and members. Too slow? That’s a matter of how much patience and longsuffering the Lord has with how well His people are doing, and whether He values their unity above contention.

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God has given no revelation to any leaders, past or present, that bans women from the priesthood. So whatever you're basing your opinion on, it's certainly not on anything authoritative (you seem to think that's important, which is why I mention it).

 

And you know that with a certainty, is that correct?

 

Elder Oaks explained it to my satisfaction, but I guess there are those who require a specific canonized scripture (the only source of revelation?) which has been approved by the members of the church.  Indeed, perhaps it is possible for a group to convince the majority of members to overturn any decision of  those who are in authority with the simple argument, "Well, it ain't in the scriptures".  

 

I now have a better understanding of the phrase, "going beyond the mark".

Edited by cdowis

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Sure Wade. Whatever floats your boat.

 

That's not the issue, of course. In the long run, arguing about whether or not its appropriate to ask for change is simply a distraction to the question of whether change is appropriate and necessary. As the Church makes changes (and it has been) we can only assume that change is both appropriate and necessary. So the appeal to these other questions serves only as a distraction. A way of claiming that we can ignore the issues that many women have over this gender gap in the Church.

 

So the question of my basis for that belief i not an issue I have the least inclination in discussing with you. What I would really, really like from you is a short list, of four or five significant changes that you think would be appropriate to help close the gender gap in the Church. I asked you for this earlier in this thread, lets see if you can come up with something substantive.

 

Ben M.

I haven't a problem with any of the changes that involve a voice in unanimous decision-making in Church councils (that inludes General Conference, a type of council in my opinion, where talks and prayers close with everyone saying "Amen" and where everyone sustains male and female leaders). I just don't think ordaining women to office magically change how well they are included or how well they aprticipate in councils, and it doesn't take priesthood office to participate in a council.

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So you are suggesting that the women's movements had no impact on the question of women praying in General Conference? That this had been an issue already percolating through the system? That the general broadcast of the priesthood session had nothing to do with the women asking to attend? I think you have blinders on.

 

More to the point, perhaps you could point us to some official directives explaining how women are to be included in the councils. And show me where this is done in a way that isn't by invitation of the priesthood and at their discretion as opposed to reorganizing the makeup of these councils ...

 

Ben M.

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So you are suggesting that the women's movements had no impact on the question of women praying in General Conference? That this had been an issue already percolating through the system? That the general broadcast of the priesthood session had nothing to do with the women asking to attend? I think you have blinders on.

 

More to the point, perhaps you could point us to some official directives explaining how women are to be included in the councils. And show me where this is done in a way that isn't by invitation of the priesthood and at their discretion as opposed to reorganizing the makeup of these councils ...

 

Ben M.

It depends on how narrowly you want to identify the “movements” – On one hand I think women can think for themselves without a movement, and on the other I recognize that societal mores have a lot to do with how they function in groups, how men and women function together in groups, etc.  So that’s not the point as far as I can tell.

 

The point to me is that the Church operates through councils. That’s not to say other groups and movements aren’t making noise (constructive or not), but the work and the decisions get done in councils with women involved. Anyone who hollers can take credit, I suppose.

 

As far as “official directives explaining how women are to be included in the councils,” I have utmost confidence it is laid out in the Handbooks, since as a bishop in 1990 I recall getting directives and training precisely on that subject. I’ll have to rely on someone else to provide those from Handbook 1 since I don’t have access to it. But a quick look-up of Handbook 2 online shows how women are to be included I councils, and more importantly I think, what they actually are relied upon to do:

 

https://www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/the-ward-council/4.1#44

https://www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/the-ward-council/4.1#45

https://www.lds.org/handbook/handbook-2-administering-the-church/the-ward-council/4.1#46

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CV75, you seem to be really missing the point though. Take the councils that you link.

 

Bishopric: No women.

 

PEC: No women. (The Relief Society President may be invited but there is no requirement or recommendation, and when she is present, it is only to discuss welfare matters and home and visiting teaching assignments).

 

Ward Council: includes Young Women's President, Primary President, and Relief Society President. The function of this group is limited: "Typically, the full ward council considers only matters that (1) would benefit from coordination among organizations, (2) would benefit from the discussion and unified efforts of the council, or (3) are of general concern for the ward as a whole. Most matters that are specific to a priesthood or auxiliary organization should be addressed by leaders in that organization, not by the entire ward council. Additionally, individual ward council members may raise sensitive or confidential matters privately with the bishop."

 

And there we have it. So, I am not sure that this represents any closing of the gender gap in a ward. What steps do you think could be taken to close the gender gap (apart from Priesthood ordination)?

 

Ben M.

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CV75, you seem to be really missing the point though. Take the councils that you link.

 

Bishopric: No women.

 

PEC: No women. (The Relief Society President may be invited but there is no requirement or recommendation, and when she is present, it is only to discuss welfare matters and home and visiting teaching assignments).

 

Ward Council: includes Young Women's President, Primary President, and Relief Society President. The function of this group is limited: "Typically, the full ward council considers only matters that (1) would benefit from coordination among organizations, (2) would benefit from the discussion and unified efforts of the council, or (3) are of general concern for the ward as a whole. Most matters that are specific to a priesthood or auxiliary organization should be addressed by leaders in that organization, not by the entire ward council. Additionally, individual ward council members may raise sensitive or confidential matters privately with the bishop."

 

And there we have it. So, I am not sure that this represents any closing of the gender gap in a ward. What steps do you think could be taken to close the gender gap (apart from Priesthood ordination)?

 

Ben M.

What evidence do you have that such a gender gap exists ordinarily in a typical ward organization?

Edited by Scott Lloyd

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CV75, you seem to be really missing the point though. Take the councils that you link.

 

Bishopric: No women.

 

PEC: No women. (The Relief Society President may be invited but there is no requirement or recommendation, and when she is present, it is only to discuss welfare matters and home and visiting teaching assignments).

 

Ward Council: includes Young Women's President, Primary President, and Relief Society President. The function of this group is limited: "Typically, the full ward council considers only matters that (1) would benefit from coordination among organizations, (2) would benefit from the discussion and unified efforts of the council, or (3) are of general concern for the ward as a whole. Most matters that are specific to a priesthood or auxiliary organization should be addressed by leaders in that organization, not by the entire ward council. Additionally, individual ward council members may raise sensitive or confidential matters privately with the bishop."

 

And there we have it. So, I am not sure that this represents any closing of the gender gap in a ward. What steps do you think could be taken to close the gender gap (apart from Priesthood ordination)?

 

Ben M.

Too bad you focused on what isn't in there that meets your criteria. Here is what I think does (and this is just Handbook 1!)--sorry to take up so much space but perhaps you didn't see it all for some reason:

 

4.1.

Under the keys of priesthood leadership at each level, leaders counsel together for the benefit of individuals and families. Council members also plan the work of the Church pertaining to their assignments. Effective councils invite full expression from council members and unify their efforts in responding to individual, family, and organizational needs.

 

4.4

Members of the ward council strive to help individuals build testimonies, receive saving ordinances, keep covenants, and become consecrated followers of Jesus Christ (see Moroni 6:4–5). All members of the ward council have a general responsibility for the well-being of ward members. Priesthood and auxiliary leaders also have a specific responsibility to watch over and strengthen each member in their organization.

 

Typically, the full[*] ward council considers only matters that (1) would benefit from coordination among organizations, (2) would benefit from the discussion and unified efforts of the council, or (3) are of general concern for the ward as a whole. Most matters that are specific to a priesthood or auxiliary organization should be addressed by leaders in that organization [still a type of council1], not by the entire ward council. Additionally, individual ward council members may raise sensitive or confidential matters privately with the bishop [still a type of council!].

 

4.5.1

Members of the ward council do most of their work outside of ward council meetings. They work with their counselors and with home teachers, visiting teachers, and others in reaching out and ministering to those in their organizations and others who need assistance.

 

Ward council members strive to stay informed[*] about the needs, well-being, and spiritual progress of members in their organizations. They also stay informed[*] about members who face special challenges or changing circumstances. This information allows them to strengthen those who most need their help. At the same time, they respect individual and family privacy. Only the bishop deals with matters of personal worthiness. * councils can be small, intimate groups of even two people.

 

4.5.2

Members of the ward council work together to build spiritual strength and unity in the ward. The ward council also oversees the planning of activities for the ward. Activities should be planned to fulfill gospel-centered purposes.

 

4.6.1

Priesthood and auxiliary leaders attend ward council meetings in two capacities: (1) as ward council members who help the bishop address needs and concerns in the ward and find solutions and (2) as representatives of their organizations. These leaders seek the guidance of the Holy Ghost as they unite in love and concern for those they serve.

 

Ward council meetings should focus on matters that will strengthen individuals and families. The council spends minimal time on calendaring, activity planning, and other administrative business.

 

During the meeting, the bishop explains each matter being considered, but he does not normally decide how to resolve the matter until he has heard the discussion. He encourages discussion without dominating it. He asks questions and may ask particular council members for their suggestions. He listens carefully before making a decision. These discussions should foster a spirit of inspiration.

 

Council members are encouraged to speak honestly, both from their personal experience and from their positions as organization leaders. Both men and women should feel that their comments are valued as full participants. The bishop seeks input from Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary leaders in all matters considered by the ward council. The viewpoint of women is sometimes different from that of men, and it adds essential perspective to understanding and responding to members’ needs.

 

After open discussion, the bishop may make a decision, or he may wait to discuss the matter further with his counselors. After he makes a decision, council members should support it in a spirit of unity and harmony.

 

If council members have strongly unsettled feelings about an important decision, the bishop may wait for another council meeting to consider the matter further and seek spiritual confirmation and unity.

 

Council members must keep confidential any private or sensitive information about members, families, and subjects that are discussed.

 

4.6.3

The ward council seeks inspiration in developing a course of action to bless the lives of members. The council’s focus is on helping people, not administering programs.

 

Priesthood and auxiliary leaders use their own leadership meetings to review ward council decisions and enlist the help of other leaders and teachers in their organization to fulfill council assignments. Similarly, the ward mission leader holds a missionary coordination meeting with the full-time missionaries and ward missionaries to carry out the decisions of the ward council. This work in the organizations is an extension of the spirit and purpose of the ward council.

 

When undertaking a course of action, council members should be careful to avoid overburdening individuals and families (see Mosiah 4:27; D&C 10:4). Each member’s first priority is to his or her family. The ward council ensures an appropriate balance between the member’s family obligations and his or her responsibilities in the Church.

 

Ward council members regularly evaluate each course of action and report on their assignments. In most instances, progress will require sustained attention and follow-up assignments.

 

So if there is a gender gap in a ward, the councils would be the best place to address it.

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Here is the latest about priesthood power in the June Liahona:

 

https://www.lds.org/liahona/2014/06/priesthood-power-available-to-all?lang=eng

 

Who holds priesthood keys?

“Jesus Christ holds all the keys of the priesthood pertaining to His Church. He has conferred upon each of His Apostles all the keys that pertain to the kingdom of God on earth. The senior living Apostle, the President of the Church, is the only person on earth authorized to exercise all priesthood keys (see D&C 107:91–92). … [He then] delegates priesthood keys to other priesthood leaders so they can preside in their areas of responsibility. … Auxiliary presidents and their counselors do not receive keys. They receive delegated authority to function in their callings.”9

There is a difference, however, between priesthood authority and priesthood power. Priesthood authority is conferred by ordination, but priesthood power is available to all. Since priesthood power is something we all desire to have in our families and homes, what do we need to do to invite that power into our lives? Personal righteousness is imperative to having priesthood power.

 

 

I think that it is spot on with regards to the priesthood. I think that this should give answers to OW and an answer to their requests that the GAs pray about women ordinations.

Edited by why me

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What evidence do you have that such a gender gap exists ordinarily in a typical ward organization?

I am not sure why a gender gap is an issue. That stuff happens every where and until fairly recently it was a "problem". Oh wait I can't say this because I am a guy.

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If I were to develop written teaching materials in order to sway my co-religionists to use their joint efforts to compel 50 E No Temple to my way of thinking, would I or should I be subject to Church Discipline?

 

At what point does disagreement with doctrines or policies become apostasy?

 

I think that's the big issue of the topic.

 

Obviously some people believe that doing such a thing is closing in on apostasy.  Other people disagree.  

 

In this situation it is probably best to sit back and let 50 E. N. Temple handle it and to just follow their lead.  Personal opinion, when it comes to declaring apostasy in others, is a pretty worthless measuring stick.

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So you are suggesting that the women's movements had no impact on the question of women praying in General Conference? That this had been an issue already percolating through the system? That the general broadcast of the priesthood session had nothing to do with the women asking to attend? I think you have blinders on.

 

More to the point, perhaps you could point us to some official directives explaining how women are to be included in the councils. And show me where this is done in a way that isn't by invitation of the priesthood and at their discretion as opposed to reorganizing the makeup of these councils ...

 

Ben M.

I think there is a good chance that the OW group has had an effect on the Church, perhaps including the points you have raised.

I do not, however, think that this justifies the inappropriate conduct of the OW group. The ends should not justify the means.

Thanks,

-Smac

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CV75, you seem to be really missing the point though. Take the councils that you link.

 

Bishopric: No women.

 

PEC: No women. (The Relief Society President may be invited but there is no requirement or recommendation, and when she is present, it is only to discuss welfare matters and home and visiting teaching assignments).

 

Ward Council: includes Young Women's President, Primary President, and Relief Society President. The function of this group is limited: "Typically, the full ward council considers only matters that (1) would benefit from coordination among organizations, (2) would benefit from the discussion and unified efforts of the council, or (3) are of general concern for the ward as a whole. Most matters that are specific to a priesthood or auxiliary organization should be addressed by leaders in that organization, not by the entire ward council. Additionally, individual ward council members may raise sensitive or confidential matters privately with the bishop."

 

And there we have it. So, I am not sure that this represents any closing of the gender gap in a ward. What steps do you think could be taken to close the gender gap (apart from Priesthood ordination)?

 

Ben M.

Our ward council also has a "Communications Coordinator" who is a sister. These sisters have a very strong voice in the administration of our ward.

Regarding your question about closing the "gender gap," that includes a number of unestablished presuppositions, including A) that "gender gap" in ward councils merits correction, B) that such correction is the province of self-selected folks within the Church rather than the Brethren, C) that gender quotas in ward leadership are part of God's plan, or that the absence of gender quotas contravenes God's will.

I'm not sure there is value in identifying steps we should take to "close the gender gap" until these presuppositions are substantively addressed and established. And the problem is that I don't think they can be established.

Thanks,

-Smac

Edited by smac97

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Smac writes:

 

I do not, however, think that this justifies the inappropriate conduct of the OW group. The ends should not justify the means.

 

But Smac, this reflects the problem. Women struggle in the Church over gender issues precisely because they have a hard time expressing their needs - their voices have not been heard. And while you may suggest that the ends don't justify the means, that does not mean that the progress achieved through this voice has not been good. Which may in fact mean that the ends did in fact justify the means. Especially since we remember that fully half the members of the Church (and the potential members of the Church) are women. When we put that into perspective - that it took this kind of effort to engage certain kinds of change in the Church is absolutely staggering.

 

But in either case, (and it really doesn't matter how you view it), what is clear is that we should not dismiss the struggle that many women face within the Church in light of the gender gap issue over the fact that they should only respond to that struggle in a certain way. Nor does your approach recognize an underlying tension that continues to exist - that is, in order to have a voice in an appropriate way, all of their discussion has to be mediated by men. In the long run, since these women's voices have not been adequately heard, I am not sure that your distinction about an appropriate way matters. And I tend to agree with them on this point. If you want to have this occur in an appropriate way then you need to make sure that the women's voices are being heard in that appropriate way. This hasn't been happening, and until changes are made that will allow this, I don't see a lot of choices, do you?

 

What is interesting is that the groups that the Church has recently been discussing these issues with (like Mormon Women Stand) are also going about this in much the same way - they just seem to be publicly willing to stand a little closer to the line of orthodoxy. They are tame by comparison to OW. OW, whatever faults it may have, made space for other groups and other dialogues that are not seen as so militant by comparison.

 

Ben M.

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 that such correction is the province of self-selected folks within the Church rather than the Brethren

 

I think a certain gender gap is illustrated in this very statement, "such correction is the province........of the Brethren.

 

At the end of the day, no matter how "inclusive" the councils are, it will be the men that will have the final word and make the decision. 

 

There is an undeniable gap in such an arrangement.

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And I can offer general good principles taught in scripture that should lead us to be exclusive.

So, now what?

 

I don't think that such a thing exists 

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Nope, as has already been addressed.

 

And that is NOT "social justice" as currently being preached by progressives. So, you get a big fat F!

 

Denied, but not really addressed. I don't think applying an unfair double standard to the scriptures regarding men and women and their roles  is really persuasive. 

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Sure Wade. Whatever floats your boat.

 

That's not the issue, of course. In the long run, arguing about whether or not its appropriate to ask for change is simply a distraction to the question of whether change is appropriate and necessary. As the Church makes changes (and it has been) we can only assume that change is both appropriate and necessary. So the appeal to these other questions serves only as a distraction. A way of claiming that we can ignore the issues that many women have over this gender gap in the Church.

 

So the question of my basis for that belief i not an issue I have the least inclination in discussing with you. What I would really, really like from you is a short list, of four or five significant changes that you think would be appropriate to help close the gender gap in the Church. I asked you for this earlier in this thread, lets see if you can come up with something substantive.

 

Ben M.

 

Fine. Even though I think there is significant instructional value and pertinence in exploring the questions I posed to you, as well as the general issue of equality, I am willing to take you on your terms.

 

However, I challenge one of your premises. To me, it doesn't necessarily follow that since certain changes have been implemented, they were appropriate and necessary, any more than it would logically follow that since the changes did not occur for centuries if not millennial, they then were not appropriate or were unnecessary. For all we know, the recent relatively nominal changes could have been implemented so as to minimize the public distraction.

 

Certainly, it doesn't follow that since some changes were made, then all the requested changes (ordaining women to the priesthood in particular) are appropriate and necessary..

 

That having been said, let me attempt to respond to your request. While there are certainly gender differences within the Church, I personally trust in God and his chosen leaders, more so than myself and my fellow members and agitators and pop culture, to determine whether those differences are either natural and healthy and to be promoted, or of little or no relevance to God's gospel plan and thus rightly ignored in lieu of more pressing and pertinent matters, or whether they are worthy of consideration and change.

 

In other words, for me to comply with your request would require that I invert where I currently place my trust for governance of God's kingdom. Doing so would counter-productively compromise what little humility I have, and cater to my pride and arrogance. So, I hope you will understand if I decline.. 

 

You, of course, are free to chose otherwise.

 

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

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But, the issue isn't your seemingly overly simplistic notion of inclusion. No one here is disputing that male and female members alike are included in the body of Christ.

 

What is at issue is inclusion within the priesthood governance of the Church. Your chosen standard (the scriptures) are being applied the same. It is just that in terms of preponderance of evidence, your position rests on a tenuously vague passage that lends itself contextually better to different interpretation, as opposed to my wealth of context-rich passages that clearly and unmistakably support my position, thereby rendering your position most definitely desperate.  

 

But, you will see it however you need to see it. Confirmation bias demands it of you.

 

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

 

There are quite a few passages that support ordination of women. But even if there weren't, good principles of justice and fairness as well as learned experience that women are just as capable leaders as men make my point for me.

 

"But, you will see it however you need to see it. Confirmation bias demands it of you."

 

Only the people we disagree with suffer from this malady :)

Edited by Gray

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There is unintended irony in what you just said (you are presuming to know the mind of God well enough to know if certain human opinions and traditions are representative or not), but again, my concern isn't with what you or I may think is wise, but I prefer instead to look to God and his chosen leaders for direction.

 

Unlike you, I have no intent of dictating to God how or what he may reveal of his mind to us humans, but will humbly accept and respect what HE chooses for me.

 

You, of course, are free to rule HIM out and rely on yourself instead.

 

Thanks, -Wade Englund-

 

I don't think you need to mischaracterize my views and my approach to make your own points stronger. 

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