Updated: 31 My 2014
Michael Otterson, managing director of Public Affairs for the LDS Church, sent out an open letter on the issue of Mormon feminism. The letter was posted on both timesandseasons.org and bycommonconsent.com. On the latter, there are currently 244 comments and counting.
I have two concerns about the letter. First, there is the statement: “I suppose we do not know all the reasons why Christ did not ordain women as apostles.” In point of fact, we know little about how the ancient Church was organized. For example, we aren’t positive that Christ didn’t ordain women as apostles and/or disciples. Most of the organizational structure was developed after His crucifixion. And it evolved during a very male-oriented Roman Empire society. Julie M. Smith (in T&S) notes:
It is not clear whether Jesus’ (apparent) lack of female ordinations represent an eternal principle or cultural expedience or temporary policy. I think it is excessively speculative to conclude that Jesus’ non-ordination represents an eternal principle.
So using biblical history in defense of a male-only priesthood is probably not the best idea. It’s a little like using Christ as an example to justify celibacy.
Additionally, and more importantly, we need to understand that we live in a fluid time. And the LDS Church, whether we want to admit it or not, is evolving along with everything else. According to President Uchtdorf:
Sometimes we think of the Restoration of the gospel as something that is complete, already behind us . . . In reality, the Restoration is an ongoing process; we are living in it right now. It includes “all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal,” and the “many great and important things” that “He will yet reveal.
Now would be great time for a serious reconsideration of the role of women in the LDS Church, and I’m not talking about the recent tokenism.
Second, according to Otterson:
As managing director of the Public Affairs Department, I work under the supervision of two members of the Twelve apostles, two members of the Presidency of the Seventy and the Presiding Bishop.
So Otterson is telling Mormon feminists and others that his PR supervisors are all male. Really? And the LDS Church couldn’t have women in this oversight group? If it did, it might not be in its current bind. The overwhelming male dominance in the LDS Church organization/leadership needs to end, with or without women getting the priesthood (preferably with).