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Carli Gressman
Professor Harris-Ramsby
May 8th 2015
From childhood up until now, I have always been considered a rather rebellious youth in
the eyes of my LDS side of the family. I always had questions that they considered 'silly'. Why
do girls have to wear skirts when they go to church, but boys get to wear pants? Why do girls
have to be separated from boys when they reach a certain age? My number one question that
aggravated my grandparents to no end though was the question: Why can't girls do what the boys
can do in Church? I was too little to understand properly just what was going on. All I knew was
that when people would give blessings, the only ones to lay their hands on the head of a baby, a
child, a man or a woman, were male. This bothered me all the way up to the point where I was a
sixteen year old girl, realizing through my own eyes and experiences that this 'longtime tradition'
the Church had was in fact sexism.
This continued to the finalizing point in which I was thrown out of a seminary class for
asking questions on the subject of why women had different expectations than men in the
Church. Due to this, I decided to leave it altogether. I had had enough of what I saw to be blind
following and ignorance.
For the past few years, there have been random articles floating throughout the local Utah
media of men and women other than myself who are beginning to realize the inequality the LDS
Church has been practicing. I have watched video footage of Mormon women standing outside
the closed doors of their Men's General Conference, being refused access because of the fact that

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they are women ( ). Among many other acts of what the
Church considers 'defiance', this is a huge topic that has been spreading throughout the LDS
community and even stirring up attention and controversy from onlookers in and outside of Utah.
Because this has become such a huge topic for the past few years in and around Utah, I
have decided to make it my subject of writing. My piece is going to be focusing on what is being
talked about on the matter of LDS women being allowed the Priesthood? An opportunity they are
only offering males at the moment. I will be covering both points of view from members and
non-members of the Church and their viewpoints on the situation at hand and where they stand in
it all. Afterwards, I will give my own opinion on it all.
According to an Author known as Maxine Hanks, who wrote Perspective on Mormon
Women, The history of the LDS Church in and of itself has drawn much attention all over the
world because of it's past with Polygamy on such a large scale. The Church's founder, Joseph
Smith, was a polygamist at one point himself. Of course, not long after they began practicing
polygamy, it was abolished from the religion altogether. There is an interesting fact of their
history that many people do not know, and that is that women were in fact allowed to practice
acts of the priesthood when Joseph Smith was still a living leader of the Church. They would
give blessings to their children, pregnant women, and other female's who were in need of some
type of spiritual relief.
Up until now, the biggest subject that has been said time and time again to be the main
focus of the LDS Church is family. It is such a huge concern to it's leaders and members that
many family's who portray themselves as Mormon have more children than the average

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American family.
Because of such an affinity with family and people's role's in the family, it does make
sense as to why women and men are so segregated in their positions. Women have the
expectancy of all feminine qualities upon their heads, as do men with masculine qualities. For an
average Mormon family that is considered 'perfect' would be where the husband has an
upstanding career, the wife stays home and works on her home-skills, including baking, cleaning,
and of course, taking care of all of her children. And every Sunday, they show up to church and
attend church events as much as possible.
As this seems to be their daily lives, it is understandable that when a group of women has
come forward, and is growing every day, stating that the Church is not being fair to it's women
members, it makes sense that many of it's members would not only find this confusing, but
would be offended and angered by it. An article that I read by Amy Hoyt, Beyond the Victim
Empowerment/Paradigm: The Gendered Cosmology of Mormon Women Explains from an
outside perspective on the Mormon religion as a whole that the majority of women in the Church
do not realize or understand that they are the lesser gender. In fact, they take pride in their
positions in the Church and even go as far as refusing to claim that they are feminist for fear that
they will be considered 'overbearing'.
Now, though, there are not only women but men realizing how unequal the sexes are. In
fact, there is a website called Ordain Women that has up to a thousand members both male and
female who are speaking out against the different treatments towards gender in the LDS Church.
Just recently, it's founder, a woman by the name of Kate Kelly who was an active and devoted
member to the Church has been excommunicated because of her speaking up and starting the

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An article by Jane Little from the BBC News, called Push to Ordain Women Leads to
Excommunication covers all of the events that went down; up to Kelly's response from being
excommunicated. Kelly stated when the media asked her how she responded when receiving her
excommunication letter that I was so hurt and confused because of the fact that people who are
excommunicated have to have done something terribly wrong, like committed a felony, raped or
sexually molested a child. To think that they have put me on such a level as those people is very
Because of all the controversy going on after this occurrence, more and more people have
begun to speak up either in her defense or against her, as well as people acting out even more
towards the Church. In fact, a few months ago, for the first time, women were allowed to attend a
men's general conference. Kristen Moulten, a journalist from The Salt Lake Tribune asked both
men and women after the meeting occurred what they thought and how they felt. One man said
It felt normal. They walked in, they sat down and they observed the General Conference just
like all of the men in the room did. I do not understand why it is really even that big of a deal.
We are all members of the Church here, so they should be able to listen to a speech from our
leaders just as much as the rest of us.
Moulten also interviewed a female onlooker of the occurrence and the woman stated I
was disgusted. There are rules in our Church, and why those girls had to go in there and sit with
those men is just ridiculous. There are Men's meetings and there are Women's meetings.
Because of all the different points of view going on in the LDS community, there are
many comments on anything of the subject on every single article or information I have looked

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at online for further research. On, an article written by Dianne Lawson, which was
about the Church's former Prophet, Gordon B. Hinckley stating that Women have a tremendous
place in our Church, men's roles and women's roles are meant to be different though. As
proclaimed by god. After skimming through this article, I read the comments at the bottom and
was astounded at how many people who were obviously LDS, not only agreed with his
comments wholeheartedly, but had some very harsh words when talking about the Ordain
Women project going on. One comment stated that The only reason he even had to say anything
about it is because women are just looking for excuses to start something up. I swear, they
always have to have something to titter about.
After having done all this research and looking at all of these points of view, I have to say
that my opinion is not at all swayed. In fact, I have become even more passionate about women's
rights, gender equality, and speaking up for myself in certain situations because of this project
for this semester. I believe that the genitalia on someone's body should not put them into a
category on how well they can think, how valuable their opinion is, or whether or not they are
capable of doing certain things. This goes for men as well, of course. Our society is changing day
by day, and although it is slow, I can see increases in women and men speaking out more and
more against gender bias, racism, and homophobia.
All in all, the world is slowly becoming better. There will always be kinks and flaws but
that is what makes us human. As long as we are striving towards making things better, then the
world will never be at a loss. Women in the LDS Church is but a small step, but if there is
equality in a religion, then that is a big step forward for making equality in a community, a state,
and even an entire country. I will finish this off with a quote by Edmund Birk who stated: All

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that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men do nothing.
Works Cited
Brooks, Joanna. "5 Myths about Mormonism." The Washington PostAug 07 2011. ProQuest.
Web. 10 Apr. 2015
Goodstein, Laurie. "Mormons Expel Founder of Group Seeking Priesthood for Women." The
New York Times. The New York Times, web, 23 June 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.
Hanks, Maxine. "PERSPECTIVE ON MORMON WOMEN A Struggle to Reclaim Authority the
Priesthood they Exercised in the Early Church has been Lost, but the Voice of Feminism Will
Not be Silenced."Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext): 7. Jul 10 1994.ProQuest. Web. 9 Apr.
2015 .
Hoyt, Amy. "Beyond The Victim/Empowerment Paradigm: The Gendered Cosmology Of
Mormon Women." Feminist Theology: The Journal Of The Britain & Ireland School Of Feminist
Theology 16.1 (2007): 89-100. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 Apr. 2015.
Little, Jane. "Push to Ordain Mormon Women Leads to Excommunication." BBC News. BBC
News, Washington, 26 Aug. 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.
Moulten, Kristen. "Some Women Get into Mormon Priesthood Session.", The Salt Lake Tribune, 04 Oct. 2014. Web. 16 Apr. 2015.