Priesthood and Women

Twenty-five years ago I delivered the McDougall Lecture at the Cathedral of the Madeleine. Some modest part of that essay recommended that it is time and beyond time to ordain women to both the Mormon and Catholic traditions and, by implication, all other faiths. A productive firestorm erupted that continues still. How tragic, how brutal, how disconnected to real people with real hearts, real children, dear mates to be so abused as the Mormon church discards with no more than a pious statement, or simply a sniff, their best and brightest.

I’ve said before that Mormon leadership all too often reflects an anti-Darwinism, that is, the survival of the least fit, by cultivating a culture that obeys leadership with no sense of the necessity of checking any act of leadership with one’s own brain, one’s own agency. This tendency,if unchecked, will produce at least two terrible results: poor leadership at the top and right on down the ecclesiastical ladder. Second, leadership will continue to boast of growing membership but it will be looking only at those coming in the church’s front door but not noting those exiting the back door either formally, or just by staying home on Sunday, de facto un-churched.

Mormons need not fear its loving critics. Mormonism, Catholicism, and all faith traditions really should be terrified at the prospect that huge numbers now see churches as irrelevant to their lives. People who engage their leadership quite obviously care very much about their faith, or they would not give such enormous time and energy to help, as they see it,their churches. The really scary elephant in the room is apathy. An even scarier specter is when hundreds of thousands of members, each year, determine that perhaps, just perhaps we really don’t need priests or bishops to mediate between God and all of us. We can, after all, talk directly to God and cut out the middleman and his ten percent finder’s fee. Women should hold any priesthood for which they qualify by abiding neutral rules. And priests and sisters should have the god-given right to choose marriage or celibacy, as they choose, by serious thought and by prayer.There is nothing in holy writ that requires that men mediate God to women.

  1. #1 by Becky Stauffer on June 30, 2014 - 8:26 pm

    Excellent points, Ed. I would also like to say that the church’s statement that women share equally in the “blessings” of the priesthood just doesn’t wash with me. It’s not about getting, it’s about the privilege of serving. Some women want the opportunity to be leaders and also to conduct the sacred rituals of the church. This no longer matters to me, but i empathize with the women remaining devoted to the church to feel as I once did.

    • #2 by brewski on July 2, 2014 - 6:50 pm

      “the church”?

      what is “the church”?

      It isn’t my church. This seems to only apply to Mormons and Catholics and ignores the billion or so other Christians.

  2. #3 by Larry Bergan on June 30, 2014 - 8:35 pm


    You may have noticed that we have a new problem here at OneUtah. If your comments don’t show up immediately and you still have admin access, check the spam filter and un-spam your comment, then go to the dashboard and approve it.

    I just had to go through almost two thousand spams to find yours and others comments.

  3. #4 by Becky Stauffer on June 30, 2014 - 8:54 pm

    Wow, thanks, Larry. I figured my earlier comment went to spam, but I didn’t free it.

  4. #5 by Larry Bergan on June 30, 2014 - 9:04 pm

    I have to scroll though these spams pretty fast, but your name certainly jumped out at me.

  5. #6 by Larry Bergan on July 2, 2014 - 6:59 pm

    By the way…

    Ed’s posts blow me away. It’s like reading something that is really far above your head, but you sort of understand it. I like that.

  6. #7 by Becky Stauffer on July 2, 2014 - 7:49 pm

    In context, you’d get it Brewski. But really, it’s just all about you, isn’t it?

    • #8 by brewski on July 2, 2014 - 8:20 pm

      Nope, it isn’t about me. It is about Statist-Authoritarianism.

    • #9 by Shane on July 2, 2014 - 10:07 pm

      Lets be honest, context is not really a thing brewski has ever been concerned with…

      • #10 by brewski on July 3, 2014 - 4:08 am

        Let’s be honest, all you got are ad hominem slurs. You have no substance. I beat you years ago.

        • #11 by Shane Smith on July 3, 2014 - 4:08 pm

          …ad hominem slurs, from the guy who referred to a site that collects clinic data as “” and who informed me I should have been an abortion.

          I know this is hard for you, but do you have anything to actually say about the topic?

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