Neyland McBaine, a brand strategist at Bonneville Communications, has come up with suggestions for enhancing the role of women in the LDS Church (She proposes a middle path between the status quo and what groups like Ordain Women are advocating.).
- Establish parity in budgets and fun activities between Cub Scouts and girls’ Activity Days.
- Honor girls in front of the congregation at key ages, just as boys are.
- Involve women in baby blessings led by the all-male priesthood.
- Assign young women to be permanent Sunday greeters.
- Have young women hold the microphones at testimony meetings.
- Allow members to have a woman sit in a worthiness interview with the male priesthood leader.
- Quote female sources in sermons, Relief Society and Sunday school lessons.
Unfortunately, this list is little more than tokenism. Nothing on this list provides Mormon women with a greater role in the governance of the Church. It is largely an argument for slow incremental change. Small steps here and there.
We are living in a world of rapid scientific, technological, and social change. So for me the issue becomes, is slow incremental change really feasible in the modern world? Dave Banack, in a largely ignored comment on timesandseasons.org, made the following observation about slow change:
There is something of a mild crisis (Banack’s emphasis) in the sense that a not insignificant number of LDS women now appear to be tuning out or simply walking away from the Church. One can’t simply ignore this development. And while I agree that changes must be made prudently, so as to not alienate a good chunk of the current membership, gradualism may not be enough. The Church is so conservative that gradual changes appear to some of us as significant changes, but if the rate of gradual change is still slower than the present rate of change in society at large, we’re still losing ground and becoming more out of step with society. “Gradual change” sounds positive but may actually mean “we’re slowly falling even farther behind the beneficial changes in society.”
The LDS Church is losing out by not including more women in important leadership positions. Priesthood or no priesthood, we can’t continue to disenfranchise 50 percent of the membership. It’s time for institutional Mormonism to speedup change.