I’ve heard several LDS women say recently how they are equal with men in the church. They have a very different definition of equal than I do. Below is a list I’ve put together to point out the inequalities:
- Women cannot have the priesthood – only male leaders can make religious decisions for women. A woman can never preside over a man in any capacity.
- All women’s organizations (relief Society and Young Women) have their leaders selected by men, their funding decided by men, and their manuals written and approved by men.
- Women cannot organize or hold events without the permission of male leaders who have to preside.
- Women have no say on the disposition of their tithing (The Council on the Disposition of Tithes does not contain the Relief Society presidency).
- Women (as young as 12) are interviewed about private sexual matters in private by men.
- Only 9 women can see the Handbook of Instructions that governs all women – Over 122,000 male leaders have access to it.
- Women promise to follow the counsel of their husbands in the temple, but a man does not have to take counsel from his wife.
- Women can be arbitrarily excommunicated by their bishopric, they have no advocate, and they cannot appeal to the presidency of the church. (Whereas men require a 15 man court, have 6 advocates, and can appeal to the presidency)
- Women are taught that their primary role is motherhood. But some women cannot or do not have children and even those that do only do so for about 20-30 years of their life.
- Fathers with young children can be temple workers. Their wives cannot.
- If a woman is raped and becomes pregnant she must leave BYU university until after the child is born and adopted. Whereas a repentant male rapist can often stay.
- Women are discouraged from working outside of the home.
- Contraception is strongly discouraged – so a woman doesn’t have control over her own fertility (if a woman follows this).
- Women are blamed for men’s sinful thoughts.
- Men can still be sealed to more than one spouse – this will lead to an unequal polygamous relationship in eternity.
- Women can’t be president over the Sunday School or an executive secretary, neither of which are priesthood callings.
- Mention of heavenly mother is discouraged and praying to heavenly mother is forbidden.
- There were prophetesses in the Old and New Testament but none acknowledged in Mormon history.
- “Men are punished for their own sins and not for Adam’s transgression” – but women are punished for Eve’s sin.
- Women cannot know their husband’s temple name, but a man knows his wife’s new name.
- Women require a man to be resurrected and lead them into the celestial kingdom.
- Men are taught that they can become gods, while there is no mention of the word “goddess” anywhere in doctrine.
So in summary:
But, at least some things have changed over time:
- Prior to 1978 the only black woman sealed to a man was one sealed as a servant to Joseph Smith.
- Prior to 1978 women couldn’t speak in sacrament meetings. Prior to 2013 women couldn’t pray in General Conference.
- Prior to the 1980 the general presidents of the Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary didn’t sit on the stand with the male general authorities during general conference.
- Prior to 1984 women didn’t speak in General Conference.
- Prior to 2011 women had to wear pantyhose to work for the church.
- Prior to 2013 women couldn’t pray in General Conference.
- Prior to 2014 women with children couldn’t be full time Seminary teachers.
Question: “Where does it say in Mormon doctrine that women can’t hold the Priesthood?” Answer: “It doesn’t” – Official LDS Church representative, 17 June 2014, Radio West.
What Don’t LDS Women Get:
- Any say on decisions made regarding them.
- Any female voice to speak on their behalf for the church.
- Equally treated in church disciplinary courts.
- Equally financed young women’s programs.
- Any say on their Relief Society manuals.
- A chance to go to heaven without a man.
- The chance to have private worthiness interviews with a woman.
Another thought on Feminism which is often thought of as a dirty word in the LDS Church:
- Feminism does not mean being treated as a man, it means not being treated as less than one.
- Feminism doesn’t mean giving up the feminine qualities you like, it means being taken seriously whether you have long hair or painted nails or wear a dress.
- Feminism isn’t a fight against men, but it can be a fight against male superiority or privilege, and a fight for equal treatment.
- Feminism isn’t about a woman not needing a man, it is about a woman choosing how much she wants a man in her life and expecting equal respect and responsibility within a relationship.
- Feminism isn’t a threat to men or women – it is women asserting their rights in a way that helps them and men. It can lead to more constructive, fulfilling friendships and relationships in every area.
Thats how I see it.