On May 15th of this year, Ordain Women launched their Conversations project. Throughout the summer, new segments were released that encouraged discussion about the issue of women’s ordination in the LDS church. For anyone who is interested, these are a great tool for exploring the issues, concerns, and possibilities on this important (albeit controversial) topic.
The 1st Conversation, See the Symptoms, explores the patriarchal system in the church, and the ways in which it is harmful to both men and women. It focuses on all the ways that men have most of the authority and decision-making power in the church, and some of the many, many ways that some women in the church feel unequal. It provides an opportunity to explore the imbalance of power and what it means for the church. T
he 2nd Conversation, Know the History, gives us some resources for learning more about the history of women in the LDS church. From the beginnings of Relief Society to the modern day structure, women in the church have experienced a sort of devolving in organization and authority. Many women in the church today don’t even know that women used to be free to offer anointings and blessings to their loved ones. This conversation is a great tool for learning about how the place of women in this church has changed over the years, and what that could mean for the future.
The 3rd Conversation, Study the Scriptures, encourages us to explore the scriptures in an effort to understand what the doctrine of the priesthood is and how that can apply to our lives. This conversation provides scriptures that can be talking points for a discussion on whether there is any doctrine establishing a pattern for ordaining people. This conversation is a great start in studying what prophets past and present have said about the power of God on earth and how we can access it.
The 4th Conversation, Revel in Revelation, is a place to begin a discussion about what it means to ask our prophet, seers, and revelators to seek a revelation about the ordination of women to the priesthood. Here we can find examples of questions asked in the past that have led to revelation and changes in the church. Included in this conversation are points on what revelation is, including personal revelation. If you’ve had any concerns about OW “demanding” things of the prophet, this conversation is a good place to find out more about what the real intent of the organization is.
The 5th Conversation,Visualize Our Potential, is all about hope for the future. This conversation is just about what it might be like if the church ordained women. What could we accomplish together with the men if we both had the same access to God’s power? This conversation includes stories from women of other faiths who have access to pastoral positions. It makes the impossible seem possible, even promising. If you’ve ever wondered what the ordination of women will look like in action, read the material found in this conversation.
The 6th Conversation, Be the Change, discusses ways we can approach women’s roles in the church now, with or without the ordination of women. But also, if you believe that women should be ordained, this conversation provides some very useful ideas on how to have conversations about that with the people around you—be it your ward, stake, or family. If you are looking for the courage to speak up, or if you need help approaching this topic with someone who is antagonistic towards it, this is the conversation you need.
For each of these conversations, there was also a live discussion, which you can find on Ordain Women’s Youtube channel (and you can also find the links to each video on www.ordainwomen.org). I have been having passionate public discussions about the ordination of women since Ordain Women launched. Since putting up my profile in March of this year, I have been actively involved in bringing more awareness and understanding to this issue. I hope that whether you are for or against the ordination of women or the efforts of Ordain Women, you would at least seek more information. If you truly want to understand where we are coming from, please read these conversations and start some real life conversations with the people you know. I’ve encountered too many people who start off with the conclusion that OW is an apostate group, and so dismissed any evidence that might prove us otherwise. Seek to understand instead of to condemn, and you might be surprised to discover how apostate we aren’t. Author’s note: I am not an official representative for Ordain Women. I have a profile on the site and am an active member in publicly agitating for the cause, but am in no way a spokesperson.