But that is not my point. My point is... I have an AMAZING, wonderful friend, to talk about her and describe her would take much time and still not quite get across how selfless, kind, genuine and wonderful my friend is. She was my Faculty Secretary at Mary Baldwin. She had her first missionary discussion Friday and invited me to come. It was a wonderful discussion and she was clearly, and very touched by the recitation of the First Vision and she is very, very receptive. She has been doing some investigating of her own on the church and I have some things I would like to pose to you (she works and graduated from MBC, which is an all womens' "feminist" school).
How would you respond to these questions? In part or whole. Some of these things (like offering prayers at General conference and opening prayer of sacrament) I had NEVER EVER heard of. I am not even sure they are true.
1. Women are excluded from administering almost all ordinances in the LDS church. They are also barred from serving as official witnesses to ordinances. (ok with it)
2. Women are barred from almost all of the leadership positions which involve exercising stewardship over the spirituality of both adult men and women. They are primarily limited to exercising leadership over other women and children. (Really?)
3. Women don’t get honorific titles. That is, women General Auxiliary Presidents and their counselors are not referred to as “President Lastname,” (Really?!)
4. Women are discouraged from serving missions. President Hinckley stated that the age is held up to 21 to discourage young women from going. (really?)
5. Women are discouraged from working outside the home. The church does little to publicly encourage or acknowledge married women in careers. (well, I would love to have this option, I will be honest... am I a bad mormon for working?)
6. The church utilizes archaic translations and English versions of its Scriptures that make heavy use of gender-exclusive language.
7. Living women cannot be sealed to more than one man, in contrast to living men who can theoretically have unlimited sealings. (Really?)
8. There are very few female characters in the LDS canon and the temple ceremony drama. The few powerful female figures are found in the Bible and these are often ignored. (not sure, my favorite non-church reference for my Laurels is a book called "Clothed with the Sun" which is comprised of the women featured in the Old and New Testament).
9. The temple ceremony and the Family Proclamation subordinate women to men, wives to husbands. (I am ok with it as long as the husband assumed the role properly)
10. Women leaders are rarely cited in official teaching materials, even on issues for which they ought to be cited.
11. Women are discouraged from exercising the spiritual gifts of healing and prophecy. (I keep thinking about a scene from the movie "Legacy")
12. Almost all of the ecclesiastical offices mentioned in the Bible (prophet, apostle, elder/bishop, deacon, seventy[-two]) are restricted from women, even in the face of strong evidence from the Bible and the early church that these offices were available to women in at least some capacity. The only possible exceptions are teacher and evangelist (if we interpret “evangelist” to mean “missionary,” which seems reasonable). (no idea)
13. Women are restricted from offering prayers at general sessions of General Conference. There are a significant number of wards are restricting women from offering the opening prayer in sacrament meeting and only allowing them to offer the closing prayer. (heh? Really??)
14. Is it true that women are never invited as speakers in the priesthood session of General Conference, even though men are invited as speakers in the Relief Society and Young Women sessions? (I personally really dont care about it, but...)