These Are Our Sisters

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Just stop it

By Cal Robinson and Juliann Reynolds

The internet is buzzing in response to the March 17th news release written by Jessica Moody of Public Affairs to the leaders of Ordain Women (OW) on “behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints”:
Women in the Church, by a very large majority, do not share your advocacy for priesthood ordination for women and consider that position to be extreme. Declaring such an objective to be non-negotiable, as you have done, actually detracts from the helpful discussions that Church leaders have held as they seek to listen to the thoughts, concerns, and hopes of women inside and outside of Church leadership. Ordination of women to the priesthood is a matter of doctrine that is contrary to the Lord’s revealed organization for His Church.
The point here is not to reiterate the Church’s position. It is made very clear in the statement above. Rather, the purpose is to address how best to help members have a more respectful dialogue. A recent Trib Talk provides an excellent discussion by three dynamic women with differing viewpoints. Jennifer Napier-Pearce questioned Kate Kelly (the spokesperson for Ordain Women [1]), Neylan McBaine (editor of the Mormon Women Project [2]), and Julie Smith (blogger on Times and Season [3]).

McBaine and Smith take issue with the need for priesthood ordination and the methods being used by Ordain Women to achieve it. However, all three women look forward to more inclusion and recognition of women, echoing a sentiment of President Linda K. Burton of the General Relief Society that the church would benefit as “men’s vision of the capacity of women becomes more complete.” [4] But most striking was that all three were in complete agreement that the insults and ridicule directed at OW and its members from some of those defending the Church is “horrific.” [5]

Rather than engaging in a respectful and compassionate discussion of what is obviously an extremely divisive topic, many participants have responded with derogatory and dismissive remarks.  Often we are unaware of how our comments are viewed by others. By always responding with kindness in our disagreement, we will be better able to create a safe space for all, without pushing those who feel marginalized to the more extreme positions.  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.” [6]
Of equal concern are those well-intentioned counter arguments to women’s ordination that not only diminish women in general, but the priesthood itself.  Any defense that involves a refusal of the priesthood as if it was just one more thing to add to an already full schedule is no defense. Likewise, declaring that its primary purpose is to force men to be responsible is not consistent with statements by church leaders that describe the role of the Priesthood with utmost reverence. For example, Elder John H. Groberg said in the April 2001 Priesthood Session, “I hope we appreciate the priceless privilege of holding the priesthood of God. Its value is unfathomable. ” [7] Comparing the authority and power of God to everyday tasks in an effort to convince women they shouldn’t want the priesthood certainly does not elevate or show respect for such a priceless privilege.

Actual comments found on blogs and message boards, such as those shown below, provide examples of what not to say when discussing the priesthood:

1.  Questioning or dismissing women’s worthiness or faithfulness.

“[H]ow tainted by the “philosophies of men” have some women become.”
“These are not faithful women in our church! If so, you would not be questioning The Lord.”

2.  Questioning women’s motives.

“If I trusted that these agitating sisters were approaching things out of sincere and pure motives, I’d be the first to  sympathize…I see no indication that they are seeking it, wanting it, or even expecting it. They really are living beneath their privileges.”
“Why would women want the priesthood other than mortal pride or self satisfaction?”

3.  Questioning women’s knowledge or understanding.

“What I believe is happening is a group of uninformed women are fighting for something that they don’t even understand completely…They do not even understand what they are asking for!”
“I think that women who are seeking for the Priesthood, do not fully understand the nature of men, and how the Priesthood helps them.”

4.  Discounting men and/or the priesthood.

“[W]hy do you want the priesthood?…I feel like I have enough responsibilities in the church already. And I have never felt oppressed in those responsibilities.”
“Honestly, what earthly need would we have for men if the women should be ordained? Why would a father need to bless his children with the priesthood? Why have men run the organization of the church?”

5. Misrepresenting and mischaracterizing.

“Giving women the priesthood outside of their connection to the priesthood through their husbands would be the same as removing men altogether from the plan of salvation. At least it would be equivalent to removing women’s role as child bearers and nurturers.”
“If women received the priesthood, relief society would need to be disbanded and all would be in the elder’s quorum.”

6. Inviting them to leave the church.

“If these women are so unhappy there are plenty of other churches out there that [might] be more in line with [their] views about ordaining women into the priesthood…why would a person want to worship in a church they don’t agree with? Other than to advance some modern feminist agenda.”
“May I suggest that it would be a simple thing to find a church who ordains women to the priesthood?”

 7. Calling out Satan to finish the job.

“I have seen many parallels to anti-Christs in the Book of Mormon. That does not mean that I am judging all of these individuals as anti-Christ; but, they indeed appear to be pawns in Lucifer’s hands.”

These are only a few examples of common sentiments and may leave some wondering what would be a better response. 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…”

Why does the way we speak to each other matter? The gospel is supposed to be a refuge for all. It welcomes all, and so must we as church members. A quick look at the Mormon Women Project website or the member profiles on shows the dazzling array of cultures, opinions and personalities that have found a haven in the church. It’s completely acceptable to voice disagreement with OW’s purpose; what is not acceptable is to deny these women, our sisters in the church, the same attempt at love and reconciliation that we would extend to others whose viewpoints are more in line with our own.
If Neylan McBaine, Julie Smith, and Kate Kelly can have a heartfelt discussion despite their fundamental disagreement over the ordination of women, so can we. For those of us who reject the belief that ordination is a necessary step in spiritual progression for women and for the church, and as we support our leaders, we should remember President Uchtdorf’s counsel against contributing to a soul-breaking rift in our Church family when he said, “If you are tempted to give up: Stay yet a little longer. There is room for you here.” [9]

We can share his message not only those who have left the faith, but also with members who may wonder if they are even still welcome.  We can stop the rejection, insults, and condemnation and make a place on the pew for all who want to follow Christ.

Note: “This topic of judging others could actually be taught in a two-word sermon. When it comes to hating, gossiping, ignoring, ridiculing, holding grudges, or wanting to cause harm, please apply the following:

Stop it!

It’s that simple. We simply have to stop judging others and replace judgmental thoughts and feelings with a heart full of love for God and His children. God is our Father. We are His children. We are all brothers and sisters. I don’t know exactly how to articulate this point of not judging others with sufficient eloquence, passion, and persuasion to make it stick. I can quote scripture, I can try to expound doctrine, and I will even quote a bumper sticker I recently saw. It was attached to the back of a car whose driver appeared to be a little rough around the edges, but the words on the sticker taught an insightful lesson. It read, ‘Don’t judge me because I sin differently than you.’”   “The Merciful Obtain Mercy”, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor of the First Presidency, April 2012 General Conference,…-mercy?lang=eng


1: Kate Kelly is also an international human rights attorney.  Kelly has stated that the goal of OrdainWomen is “[t]o improve the situation of women in the church and to achieve fundamental equality. . . we want to not only be consulted about decisions but we want to be part of the decision making  process. We want to bless the lives of others and we want to be transformed by what we know is the power of God.”  She adds, “We believe in the priesthood and we believe it is the power of God. Otherwise, none of this would be worth it.” See…church.html.csp

2: Neylan McBaine works for Bonneville Communications as a brand strategist, including on the “I am a Mormon” project. McBaine states her stance on women’s roles in the Church as “There are many things that we could be and should be doing in the church to increase the way we see, hear, and use women in our local administration and the general administration.  I think where we diverge is the root cause of the problem…I don’t believe that the doctrine of the priesthood is the root cause of that.” See…church.html.csp

3: http://www.timesands…JulieIntro.html Julie M. Smith is also the author of the book Search, Ponder, and Pray: A Guide to the Gospels.  Smith sees the core of the contention to be “[t]he methods OW uses [which] are alienating to a lot of people, I think they provoke a backlash and I think they are fundamentally foreign to Mormonism.” See…church.html.csp

4:   http://www.nytimes.c…tw-nytimes&_r=2

5: Julie M. Smith:  “I have to say I find it largely disheartening, while I don’t support OW, a lot of the response has been horrible.  I have heard comments about being burned at the stake and vitriol along those lines.”

Neylan McBaine:  “The response has been horrific. One of the things I hope that we are modeling here, and what I have tried to do throughout my entire time in this conversation, is model the Christlike respectful conversation that makes our points very clear but also is understanding and respectful of the other point of view.  So I would just add my plea to all of us to bridge the conversations that are happening online with what we know is right and with what we are enacting in our Sunday experiences.”

6: “The Merciful Obtain Mercy”, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor of the First Presidency, April 2012 General Conference,…-mercy?lang=eng

7: “Priesthood Power”, Elder John H. Groberg, April 2001 General Conference,

8:  Ruth Todd’s comments were reported in numerous articles and videos.  In our opinion, the fullest treatment with all the included quotes is available in the video at:…for-that-right/

9:  “Come, Join with Us”, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2013 General Conference,…ith-us?lang=eng



22 thoughts on “These Are Our Sisters

  1. Mickey

    I am concerned that some of the comments listed as offensive are judged on the basis of a written word. When one cannot see the person making the comment (facial expression, etc…) or hear the timbre or tenor of the voice, one often misreads the intent of the comment and, therefore, makes a more harsh judgment of the person – an offender for a word, perhaps. We often speak of open dialogue, but couch such dialogue in our own opinion rather than open oneself to additional knowledge.

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  3. pengpeiyi

    Mickey- I think you make a fair point that it is easy to misinterpret a comment when it is seen in print form and without the corresponding body language and voice tone to go along with it. However, I think that’s also one of the implied points of this article: we need to be careful how we communicate. The comments which it is referring to are comments made on online forums. Most likely, they were never spoken out loud. It is important for all of us to understand how our written comments can/will be interpreted and to proceed accordingly. Comments which are not intended to do harm but written in such a way as to be interpreted as if they were can be just as damaging as those written with malicious intent. It is the responsibility of all of us to learn not only how to communicate respectfully, but how to do so in the limited medium of writing.

    Also, many of the comments written above should never be said regardless of intent such as “These are not faithful women in our church!” and “they indeed appear to be pawns in Lucifer’s hands.” There is no positive light that these can be interpreted in. These comments in and of themselves are judgmental, rude, and narrow minded regardless of the voice tone or body language. If the writer of these comments was not attempting to be judgmental, rude, and narrow minded (which is quite possible) then the writer should have taken the time to rephrase these comments in a manner which is not inflammatory and more in line with civil dialogue. This goes for people on both sides of this or any discussion. The words used matter. We do not wish to alienate our brothers and sisters regardless of their viewpoints, standing/membership in the church, or lifestyle.

  4. JNR

    I’m not sure how any of these comments, except “I have enough responsibilities already,” could be interpreted as anything other than an attack or misrepresentation. We could have picked a better example of what might be the most common reaction, “I don’t want the priesthood because I am too busy/overworked, etc.” This often involves jokes about setting up chairs and other unpleasant tasks. The point we were trying to make is that we should always speak of the priesthood as something wonderful rather than just another unwanted burden, not that we should not express our opinions. ~ Juliann

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  6. Allen Wyatt

    I applaud the major thrust of this post: We should strive for civility in discourse, especially on sensitive topics such as this one. There have been (as pointed out) “horrific” comments directed Ordain Women and its members.

    One needs to remember, though, that Elder Uchtdorf’s two-word sermon (“Stop it!”) applies not just to those opposed to Ordain Women’s goals or tactics, but to those who support it. While the examples of incivility cited in the post are one-sided (being drawn overwhelmingly, but not exclusively, from Ordain Women’s opposition), similar expressions of incivility can be found among Ordain Women’s supporters, as well.

    The temptation to sink to lower, courser, harsher, uncharitable methods of communication afflict all of us, regardless of the position we may take on any given issue. Similarly, the tendency to see fault and excess only in one’s ideological opponents knows no bounds.

    Civility is needed, but it is needed on all sides. Indeed, it is lacking on all sides.

  7. randomguy

    Thank you for this article, which makes some legitimate points. However, a few points of correction are in order.

    First, the article headings and text conflate women with feminism. This leaves the false impression that the conflict is between women and the church. (emphasis added) Actually, the conflict is between a small minority of feminists–probably around 85 to 90 percent–and everyone else. (

    For example, the article states: “Comparing the authority and power of God to everyday tasks in an effort to convince WOMEN they shouldn’t want the priesthood certainly does not elevate or show respect for such a priceless privilege.”

    The sentence should say: “Comparing the authority and power of God to everyday tasks in an effort to convince SOME FEMINISTS they shouldn’t want the priesthood certainly does not elevate or show respect for such a priceless privilege.”

    There are many other places where the authors conflate women and feminists. For example, one of the subtitles should read, “Questioning SOME FEMINISTS motives,” rather than “Questioning WOMEN’S Motives.” Again, these mistakes mean that the article gives the false impression that the dispute is between women and the Church, when it is in fact between a small minority of feminists and everyone else.

    Some of the points, if followed, would stifle legitimate debate. For example, the article attempts to forbid the Church’s defenders from claiming that Ordain Women’s proponents “do not fully understand the nature of men, and how the Priesthood helps them.” But isn’t this the heart of the argument on both sides? Isn’t OW claiming that traditional members don’t understand the nature of the priesthood? And aren’t the traditionalists permitted to respond similarly? The foundation of any rational, valid argument, is the assertion that the other side has misunderstood some critical fact or failed to understand some important point.

    If people aren’t allowed to question the knowledge or understanding of those they disagree with, then they simply aren’t allowed to disagree. Civilized discourse requires that we not take undo offense when other question our knowledge or understanding.

    This very article, for example, argues that some opponents of the ordain women movement lack knowledge or understanding of how to disagree appropriately. Isn’t that ok?

  8. C Robinson

    Sorry for the delay in commenting…for some reason the blog wouldn’t send me my password. I understand that some think Cal is a he; he is not a he, he is a she. I am also known as calmoriah if that helps (probably not for the vast majority of you). No apologies necessary, I chose the nickname in part for its ambiguity.

    With all the Facebook likes and other comments out there, it appears that we struck a positive chord with many. Very happy about that and hopeful for what it means about where people want the discussion to go.

    For those very, very few 😉 who have disagreements….perhaps it would be helpful to note that we recognized that any discussion on this topic, including how to discuss the discussion could end up being a massive undertaking and so we chose to limit ourselves to the absolute necessary point that we felt needed to be made now. In doing so, we meant in no way to ignore the Church’s position on ordination and in fact we thought we made it quite clear, if not in specific language at times, then by providing links. Choosing the Church leadership as our primary positive model was also intended to emphasize our support of the Church.

    Allen, anyone who likes our article is hopefully unlikely to argue that those associated with OW should not make the same effort to be civil, etc. However, we were concerned with certain common attacks being used on those seen as associated with OW and even just feminists in general that we saw as counterproductive (to say the very least) to the goals of the Church. The blog is not just about being civil to each other, but it is also about helping to maintain the integrity of the Church’s faith community. We need to see our sisters and brothers as sisters and brothers and not as outsiders. This is not an error that most OWers make. In fact, I am not sure I have ever seen someone from OW suggest to a person telling them ordination is not for women to look for another church. Hopefully where attacks can be equally applied to either side (such as in claims of not understanding doctrine), anyone who has used those in the past will think again if tempted to use them in the future.

    randomguy, your second “correction” first…we are not saying that valid arguments can’t be made about someone not understanding doctrine, etc. and then demonstrating that using scriptures, church teachings, etc. The fact that the Church does this and we use the Church representatives as our primary example of what to do so make this clear. We are saying using that as the only argument is an inappropriate attack, not a valid approach. This is what we have been seeing in many places, no attempt to understand the actual argument or to compare with church teachings, but just dismissing of any necessity of engaging the other by labeling them as not understanding.

    As to portraying what is happening as a “conflict” between the Church and “some feminists”, IMO, the Church has in fact attempted to remove itself from any contention by responding as it has giving the group even if they continue to disagree with the Church’s position options that work within what is acceptable to the Church and calling the OW Sisters “fellow Latter-day Saints and friends of the Church”. And as far as attacks only being made to convince “some feminists”, many of these attacks were made on sites where no feminist was posting. I would suggest that much of the negativity is due to an attempt to keep faithful or questioning women from becoming “some feminists”.

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  10. randomguy

    You wrote: “We are saying using that as the only argument is an inappropriate attack, not a valid approach.” Perhaps that is what you meant to write, but it is not what you actually wrote.

    You noted that the Church is “… calling the OW Sisters “’fellow Latter-day Saints and friends of the Church.'” Perhaps, but nothing the Church has written gives the impression that the conflict is between “women,” broadly speaking, and the Church. By contrast, your article leaves the unmistakable impression that the women, broadly speaking, are in conflict with the Church. That is not true–the great majority of LDS women support the Church’s stance.

    I want to apologize for the sentence I wrote that read: “Actually, the conflict is between a small minority of feminists–probably around 85 to 90 percent–and everyone else. (” Actually, it should read: “Actually, the conflict is between a small minority of feminists–with whom 85 to 90 percent of LDS women disagree – and everyone else. (”
    I sincerely apologize for the error.

    I didn’t understand the last two sentences you wrote, so I won’t respond to them.

    Thank you for your response to my remarks–I do appreciate you for taking the time.

  11. Zac

    In reviewing you article, I’m trying to find how these defenders of the Church position could be more in line with your expectations of them.

    1. Questioning or dismissing women’s worthiness or faithfulness.
    (the opposite would be to assume they are completely worthy and faithful)
    2. Questioning women’s motives.
    (the opposite would be to assign only pure motives to OW)
    3. Questioning women’s knowledge or understanding.
    (the opposite would be to credit them with accurate knowledge or understanding)
    4. Discounting men and/or the priesthood.
    (the opposite would be to assume the Oath and Covenant of the Priesthood has not helped or is not helping men to become like God wants them to be)
    5. Misrepresenting and mischaracterizing.
    (I agree this is never an acceptable practice)
    6. Inviting them to leave the church.
    (the opposite is to hope they stay in a Church that they fundamentally disagree with)
    7. Calling out Satan to finish the job.
    (the opposite is to say that Satan plays no part in contention amongst the Church)

    So as long as these defenders assume OW members are worthy and faithful, that they have pure motives, that they are accurate in their knowledge and understanding, accept that having the authority of the Priesthood does not have any benefits unique to men, hope that members stay part of the Church without aligning their views with revealed doctrine, and discount that Satan may play any part in contention or disagreement within the Church, then said defenders will now be in line with your expectations of them. It seems to me that at this point, with your line of recommendation, the Church and its defenders will have to adjust their practices every time someone disagrees with them, simply to avoid looking judgmental or contentious.

    It cannot work this way. In order for defenders to “stand for something”, they are required to judge between right and wrong, correct and incorrect, using teachings of Church leaders as their compass. They are then counseled to join these conversations online and wherever else they can make a difference. Disagreement is naturally contention, and unless people are resorting to lies or vulgar language, their comments are a valued part of the larger conversation.

  12. C Robinson

    Zac, what I personally think would be appropriate is not to make assumptions about the person at all, but just deal with the arguments.

  13. C Robinson

    “By contrast, your article leaves the unmistakable impression that the women, broadly speaking, are in conflict with the Church.”

    Given this is not a common complaint about our blog, I am not sure it is an unmistakable impression and I for one find it hard to understand why it would be given that we are trying to remove the very idea of conflict (as opposed to disagreement).

  14. C Robinson

    One more thing…

    “It seems to me that at this point, with your line of recommendation, the Church….”

    We are recommending people follow the example of the Church and provided examples of what Church leaders were asking us to do and what they were doing themselves (in the case of Sister Ruth Todd). If there comes a time when the Church starts labeling someone as apostates, invites them to leave, etc., then feel free to do so.

  15. C Robinson

    My apologies for multiple posts in response to the same comment…I have to get used to not being able to edit comments…

    To complete my thought…

    Zac, what I personally think would be appropriate is not to make assumptions about the person at all, but just deal with the arguments….while treating the person with respect and civility and as sisters and brothers in the faith if they claim membership (the last doesn’t mean I have to agree with them on everything, just that I should recognize them as my family and treat them as such….as the Church leadership urges us to do btw).

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  17. pengpeiyi

    In response to a few of the previous comments:

    randomguy- You seem to be very concerned with making it clear that the dispute at hand puts a “small minority of feminists” on one side of the issue and “everyone else” on the other with “85 to 90 percent of LDS women disagree[ing]” with that “small minority.” It concerns me that the language you use is both divisive and counterproductive not only in this dispute but broadly speaking in all disagreements among church members. What you have effectively done is isolated this group because they feel differently than the vast majority church members. By the numbers, I’m guessing you are completely accurate: most church members do not hold the same stance as the OW movement. However, It should not matter if the movement consisted of one or one million. There is a group of women who do not feel like they have a place in the Church. When they try to express their viewpoints, they are dismissed offhand by a large number of church members as just being “some feminists.” While the term feminist is not negative by nature there are many who use it as a negative term equivalent to being an extremist. Using the term “some feminists” only marginalizes these sisters even more than they already feel. As difficult as it may be at times, the concerns and ideas of ANY church member who might feel like they do not fit in with other church members should be addressed in a respectful and inclusive manner. This does not mean we always need to agree, but it means we need to always show understanding. The members of the OW movement do not want to be against the Church but wish to be heard by the Church and other members. Believe it or not, their desire is not to be ostracized. We need do our best to make ensure all feel welcome and accepted even if their ideas are very different than our own.

    Zac- I’m not sure if you are trying to be funny or not by your comment but your entire response mischaracterizes the original post and is fraught with a false dichotomy logical fallacy. The authors are not advocating that we must accept the OW movement members as infallible saints, it is stating we should not insult them. “Standing for something” does not mean we need to publicly question the worthiness of another. It also does not mean we need to assume they are completely worthy and faithful. If someone has an idea that we disagree with we can certainly disagree, but we are not to judge the other person because their understanding of the gospel differs from ours. We can certainly judge the ideas of others without judging the person. Clearly we should be able to do this without calling someone a “pawn in Lucifer’s hands.”

  18. Zac

    I think it’s difficult to separate the arguments from the person making them. So if one critiques an argument, it is naturally taken as a critique of the person making that argument, because their thoughts and analysis are what created that point of view. It doesn’t mean you are giving them their “final judgment” or sentencing them to anything. It just means that in this particular instance, a certain amount of people have decided OW is absolutely wrong, and they are going to articulate that in all sorts of ways. Sister Kelly isn’t just having amicable discussions on TV, she has taken many steps to publicly embarrass her Church and its leaders. Again, I think #5 on your list is accurate and unacceptable, but there is room in the other points to criticize the thought process and motivations behind this movement, and not be characterized as “horrific” for doing so. Even Sister Todd’s comments can be construed as marginalizing these women, and labeling them divisive. She is no doubt a very good communicator, but sometimes there is no amount of careful language that can get around the message that someone else is wrong, and that is going to offend them. Sister Moody’s response could be read as calling them extreme and ignorant of revealed doctrine.
    I also don’t see the comments under #6 as “inviting them to leave”. I read those as honest confusion as to why women would participate in a church that they fundamentally disagree with. I want them here, and I want them to feel the blessings that come from aligning their thoughts and desires with our Heavenly Father as revealed through his chosen servants. They deserve that just as much as any of us. But they have received an answer from the Lord’s chosen servants, and they still persist against it. Certainly it’s natural for outsiders to analyze and question their devotion to what the doctrine of the Church is.

    I’m sorry for the confusion. I wasn’t trying to be funny, or create any type of fallacy. My point was simply that if we’re so concerned about offending someone within the 7 points she mentioned, there would be no room for any argument. I wasn’t trying to mischaracterize anything, just making a point. I think the article could be making a mountain out of a molehill, and actually passing more judgment upon random commentators than they ever did originally. But the whole concept of judging is a confused issue anyway. There is a difference between using discretion (judgment) and “sentencing” someone. We have to make judgments about others’ understanding of the gospel every day. That’s how we come to the understanding we will adopt and stake our salvation on. If someone differs from me, I will think, discuss, analyze, and comment about it. It helps me solidify, or change my understanding. It has also been one of the great blessings in my life to have had concerned acquaintances judge my behavior and actions (sometimes harshly), and point out to me when I was out of line with the Church structure and doctrine. It was always an action of service to me. It allowed me to humble myself (never easy), and make necessary changes to my thoughts and behavior, and I’m much better off because of it.

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  20. randomguy

    One of my concerns is that a reader of your post would get the impression that the dispute is between women and the Church. Please, please genuinely try to understand my concern. Take a look at your headings:

    1. Questioning or dismissing women’s worthiness or faithfulness.
    2. Questioning women’s motives.
    3. Questioning women’s knowledge or understanding.

    These headings, as well as the text concerned, leave the clear impression that the dispute is between women and others. It is your characterization of the issue, not mine, that is divisive.

    Your characterization of the debate as being between women and others is not only divisive, it is also misleading. The dispute is not between genders, it is between ideologies. Only a remarkably small minority of Mormons support women’s ordination, but research shows that within that small minority, more men than women support women’s ordination. Please take a look at the citation in my earlier comments.

  21. Pierce


    “I think it’s difficult to separate the arguments from the person making them.”

    And there’s the fallacy. It’s ad hominem. You’re not critiquing the methods in which the OW movement brings this to the spotlight, or the merits or problems that could result in ordaining women, or whether or not God would change his mind on the matter. Instead, there’s just blanket accusations, such as worthiness, that are based on nothing but bias and do nothing to resolve the issue. To the intellectually disingenuous it is difficult to separate the arguments from the person making them, especially if you don’t even know them.

    “I read those as honest confusion as to why women would participate in a church that they fundamentally disagree with.”

    There are a lot of things that members fundamentally disagree with, and yet are still here trying to reconcile those things with their faith. The question is derisive and is more along the line of “why are you here then?” rather than “your testimony is so strong, what is keeping you going in the face of conflicting ideologies?”

    “But they have received an answer from the Lord’s chosen servants, and they still persist against it.”
    Black people got the same answer from the Lord’s chosen servants for a long time regarding the priesthood. Just because the majority of the church hasn’t considered it because of how things have been done all this time, doesn’t mean it couldn’t change later. Besides, I have yet to hear the Lord speak out about it–just a couple of people from the Church’s P.R. department. Not the same thing.

    BTW, your second paragraph in your March 31 comment seems totally different from your first. I agree with most of your second paragraph.

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