We Were Meant to be Courageous

Updated 7/15/14: Op-Ed by Mormon women on the “End of the Mormon Moment”

Kate Kelly’s ex-communication from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has me thinking. I’m not Mormon, but I’m a member of a (local) church that has seen some turmoil over the last five years. We’ve lost three pastors – some by choice, other by grave “sin” – and the effect has been a heavily splintered congregation. The latest split has perhaps been the most profound, not due to “sin” per se, but to a large chasm of opinion about the “right” amount of influence, insubordination to church leaders, and the sowing of discontent — much like the charges brought against Kelly. It split our church, and left me with a sour taste regarding our current church leadership and their abilities to be good stewards. Honestly, I think they really messed up.

I think part of the problem is a lack of diversity on the Elder Board. See, my church also does not allow women to hold the penultimate positions of leadership, eldership, similar to the LDS church where women cannot hold the priesthood. Women do important jobs in the church, no doubt, but women cannot hold the title of Elder, part of the group that “heads” of the church and who makes decisions about the path of the church, the employees, the finances, etc. Women can’t do those jobs.

Prior to the Kelly story, I was troubled by the lack of women in high positions, especially since I think a dear (female) friend of mine would make an excellent elder in our church. I think at least one woman might have been able to temper the egos involved in the decision. But I wasn’t TROUBLED by it. True, my church attendance has been pretty spotty since our last pastor left, but I’d chalked that up to the turmoil and the fact that more than half our church left, leaving worship services feeling empty, even of God’s presence. I told myself I just needed to be more faithful, for scripture says that God is anywhere two or three are gathered in his name, and at least my husband was there.

But now I’m TROUBLED. I don’t know if Kelly violated the rules of her religious organization, who likely has the right to kick out whomever it chooses — it’s an organization in addition to being what their members believe to be the voice of God’s church. But I cannot help but feel a great sense of compassion towards her, and some admiration for her bravery. She likely knew that her actions would lead to serious repercussions, even if she didn’t agree with the results. I think she chose to sacrifice herself for a purpose larger than herself. From what I can tell, Mormons are having deep conversations among themselves and in public with non-Mormons about what just happened.

But now I feel like a coward. I love how Kelly has refused to accept the ruling that she must repent, for insisting on equality cannot be wrong. It just cannot. MLK said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” There are few things I believe in more than the equality of humans. While I believe we all have roles to pay, outside of what is ruled by biology (childbirth, breastfeeding…not sure what else) I don’t believe that there is some “natural” divisions between who can be a leader and who cannot. Between who can guide and teach and who cannot. Between who can make decisions affecting a large number of vulnerable people and those who cannot. Not everyone is meant to be a leader. Not every woman or every man should be a leader, guide, or teacher. But I have yet to hear any good reason, other than because the Bible says so, which is usually a ridiculous argument, and in this case even notable Biblical scholars disagree on this issue of requirements for elders that includes gender. And even if the Bible says so, why should I believe that God intended me, solely because I’m a woman, to not have a equal say as to the leadership of His church? Why would I believe that?

Of course, there is a larger argument as to why believe in God at all. Short answer, for me, is that it’s the only way I can understand the purpose of life at all. I choose to believe in God and in the divinity of Christ Jesus because it makes sense to me. 

The exclusion of women from the highest seats of power and influence in the church is something I do not understand, something that does not make sense to me. So why do I continue to support a church who does not believe as I do about one of my core values? How can I continue to support a church that sees me as inferior, for everything a woman can do a man can also do, but not vice versa? How can I continue to be a part of a practice that I believe oppresses me but cloaks itself in “obedience”? 

For this reason, I am deeply TROUBLED. For now, as I (sort of) keep my distance, all I can do is pray. I hope, if nothing else, He gives me courage, either to accept what is despite my misgivings (and hopefully also understanding of why what is…is) or to be brave enough to seriously not just question, but challenge. God Help Me.

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23 thoughts on “We Were Meant to be Courageous

  1. “The exclusion of women from the highest seats of power and influence in the church is something I do not understand.”

    We live in a patriarchal society. Mormonism is scapegoat for a general frustration with that. If I told you that everything that Kelly did and did not do engineered her own excommunication for professional gain, could you consider that?

    • I would consider it. Again, the Mormon church is an organization who is free to excommunicate whomever it likes as a private organization can. I believe she likely broke the rules of the church, and the church removed her for that reason.

      The fact that we live in a patriarchal society in no way excuses the Mormon church or any church for the exclusion of women from leadership. It’s not scapegoating to point that out. Just as the fact that we live in a racist society does not excuse any organization from discriminating against non whites.

      What Kate Kelly did or did not do really doesn’t matter when it comes to the larger issue of women in religion.

  2. Good and agreed.

    Are you aware of the leadership positions women hold at the exclusion of men in the LDS Church? You write as if they do not have leadership. Understand that Kelly’s ongoing organization is demanding that women be ordained to the Priesthood in our church. The great majority of (Male) Priesthood holders do not attain leadership at any level in their lifetimes. So Priesthood does not equate to leadership in most cases. I have been deeply involved in the Mormon Church since my conversion in the ’80s. As a High Priest, I have enjoyed the opportunity to lead during 4 brief periods totaling less than 8 years total. I am now in the pasture at 63.

    • As a matter of fact, as a high priest I teach the 3 year olds (SunBeams) in Primary under the leadership of 3 women. They direct the activities of all children under the age of 12 in our ward (congregation).

    • Hmmm… No I am not aware of positions women hold that are categorically denied to men. While I understand not all men will hold leadership positions in the church, what I object to is specifically the idea that one can be categorically denied a leadership position due to gender. In my church, a stated requirement for Eldership is that one be a man. In our church, ultimate leadership held by elders. They determine the path of the church, they lead the flock, they discipline. Women cannot serve on the highest leadership board due to their gender. No matter how wise, how great a leader, how willing a heart to serve and worship, how devoted to ones God, a woman possessing all the qualities one would want in church leadership except for a penis is denied the opportunity to serve god in this way. From my understanding, this is the same for the Mormon church. Please correct me if I am wrong. As a woman, this reality is sad and ultimately very painful.

  3. the following is not a cut and paste. I am dictating it through my Dragon software.

    To the extent you describe itFor your own church, The line of authority in the Mormon church begins with God, who we know as our father and his only begotten son. Since we get our justification from a Judeo-Christian sense of things, we have tens of thousands of years to draw upon to know where authority begins. Perhaps you believe that God is an androgynous being and therefore the “son” is likewise (or perhaps even the same being). Under those terms it would not surprise me if you had a certain disdain for the authority that is said to descend from God if it is described as a priesthood that is male in gender. Those of us in the Mormon church believe that the androgynous God is a recent invention.

    In the Mormon church, the ultimate authority on earth is a living prophet who out of position gets privileged knowledge from God. Descending from him are the 12 apostles (all men), and descending from the apostles there are quorums of the 70 (all men). This is our worldwide upper leadership. I do not know of a time in history in the Judeo-Christian way of things where women served in priesthood positions, ever. the corruption of male leadership has been well documented in the past; that is why the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a restoration church. We believe the priesthood of God was removed from the earth and now has been restored.

    From my view as a Mormon, if something has always been done in a certain way as originally defined by God an eon ago, I am reluctant to see it changed. After all it is the fashion of our times to change it, particular to the intellectuals of the earth (the “civilized” world), that we think ourselves wise enough to rewrite judgments.

    The Mormon church is quite different than you probably imagine. A devout Mormon woman, one who actively participates in the sacrament and is devoted to her priesthood-bound husband is the dominant force for women in this church. Each of these women are deeply devoted to priesthood leadership both in the church and in their homes. They participate equally in the affairs of the home. Such devotion in the Mormon church is the standard and dominant predisposition of all endowed women. There are, however, exceptions. These get the press.

    My wife and I converted to the LDS church in our 30s over 30 years ago. Prior to joining, I did not have discipline in my life. My wife back then did not feel safe with my judgment and behavior, for good reason. She could not rightly trust me; nor as a consequence could I trust her. As you might suspect, this deeply undermined our relationship. I rather suspect if that continued over an extended period she would have little regard for a male priesthood and be openly suspicious of their intent; not to mention we would most certainly be divorced. As for us, the Mormon church healed us because it brought discipline to my life and encouraged my wife to trust me with the leadership in our home, as properly ordained by God. That was a process but here I tell you the true priesthood of God heals. After all it should, shouldn’t it?

    so I guess what I’m saying is: when you make judgments about our priesthood while drawing from your own understanding of your own and your church, your making a mistake. After all, what you know of us has been exclusively gained through our critics.

    • We will have to disagree here. I think it is a mistake to believe that someone who seriously challenges long held beliefs that you even acknowledge to be steeped in patriarchy is less “devout” than others. I totally understand that there are women who are completely satisfied with their role, and I in no way judge them in their belief.

      I also understand the healing that comes from god when we submit to His will instead of our own. I’ve experienced that first hand. But I do not think my god meant for me to passively accept oppression bc others believe this is the way it’s always been. Again, my people suffered through centuries of oppression as blacks largely because that’s the way it has always been. God gave us free will for the very purpose, I believe, of making decisions. Following Jesus was an unpopular and dangerous thing to do, but He endowed us with judgement to be able to do what is right instead of what is popular. Jesus was a new way of thinking. If I accept Jesus, I am already making a radical statement. That gives me hope that less fraught ideas, such as women and men being completely equal in duties and roles and the ability to lead the flock, are possible without being considered less devout.

  4. DR,

    I’m in my dissertation phase of my Ed.D in curriculum and instruction, finished with all my required academics through the University of Phoenix. In spite of this I am at an all-time low motivation only the completed and find myself dragging along and making progress. Now, isn’t that odd?

    • Lol — I think it’s hard for everyone. For me, the task seemed so huge that it was hard to feel motivated to do it. What I found useful was to find accountability partners who were also doing the diss, and to break the task down into doable tasks. For me, it was completing my interviews, coding an interview a day, writing sections of my lit review, etc.

  5. I’m an LDS woman who happens to not agree with the mission or tactics of Kate Kelly or her organization Ordain Women. I think it’s important people realize that “leadership” positions in our church are not like leadership positions in a business or corporation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a lay church, meaning all members have duties and responsibilities, but nearly all are unpaid (those in the most demanding positions do receive a stipend to cover living expenses). People don’t apply or try out for different positions. There aren’t promotions. There are no material rewards (neither money, fame, nor public recognition) for our church service, no matter what our position. For example, I was called by my Bishop to work with the youth in my congregation, but I would have served anywhere I was asked to serve. We believe those who have the authority to call others to certain responsibilities are inspired by the Lord to put them in the positions where the Lord needs them, not where they or anyone else thinks they should go–as the man before me stated, a man could go from being a Bishop to teaching toddlers. There should be no pride or prestige in any position of the church. We also believe the Lord doesn’t call people based on their intellect or degrees or temporal skills, but on their heart and the talents He knows they possess. If people are striving for church leadership positions based on their own ego or need for power, they probably lack the humility to be in that position in the first place. I have no desire to “obtain” any leadership positions in our church. I trust that the Lord will put me where I’m needed, and that the people who currently have leadership positions are there because that’s where the Lord needs them. Also, if people truly have an understanding of what the Priesthood is (the authority God gives to man to act in His name), they understand that the Priesthood may only be held by men (we believe this is the Lord’s direction, not a choice made me men), but all people benefit from it. It doesn’t give a man more power than a woman or make me as a woman any less equal–it’s just a different responsibility and affords different opportunities for service, because that’s what the Priesthood is meant to be used for–to heal, bless, uplift, and serve others.

    • I appreciate your perspective. And I wish I felt the way you do about the role of gender in Christianity, be it LDS or any other denomination. But I think it would be wrong of any of us to profess that we know what God wants or intends.

      As I understand it, there was once a time that LDS believed Blacks unfit for membership or black men unfit from the Priesthood, and it was justified that it was what God wanted. Until someone got a revelation that God had changed His mind? Do we really believe that there was a time that God saw Blacks as lesser?

      That is my problem with the idea of believing that these differences between humans are God’s direction and not choices made by people. The fact that reasonable people disagree also shows me that these differences are being attributed to God but are really men’s interpretation to fit men’s goals and objectives.

      Just as I cannot accept that God once saw me as a lesser human because I am black, I also cannot accept that God meant for me to be excluded from the spiritual gifts of leadership in the Church – or in my family – based solely upon my status as a woman.

      • Thanks for your reply! I guess my only question would be, what spiritual gifts do you feel women are being denied? I don’t know of any spiritual gifts a man has access to that a woman doesn’t. I have just as many opportunities to do good and serve (which is what church service is about) in my calling in the Young Women’s Presidency in our congregation as any man has in his calling. As I said before, the Priesthood is held by men, but it is used equally by all. Women still hold leadership positions in the LDS church, both locally and as General Authorities. The fact that the Lord has given men and women different responsibilities doesn’t denote that one is more powerful than the other; my husband doesn’t feel slighted that I as a woman have been given the ability and opportunity to create and bear our children, a gift that gives me a different and in many ways deeper connection to our children; it’s just the way the Lord designated it.

        Also, our church (and the entire history of Christianity) is based on the belief that we can know what God wants because He communicates with those whom He calls. We believe that God called prophets in Biblical times (Moses, Abraham, Isaac, etc.) and has continued to call prophets today. The prophet and President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is a man named Thomas Monson, and we believe He directs our church with the direct authority of God; many churches don’t share this belief, but this, along with our belief in the priesthood (the literal authority from God to act in His name) is a fundamental aspect of our faith; one that Kate Kelly, as a baptized and temple-endowed member of the LDS church professed to believe.

        It’s true blacks were not able to hold the priesthood for a very long time, and as a half-black LDS woman, this was something I spent a lot of time studying and praying about. There were many reasons given for why the priesthood ban existed, some blatantly racist, and all have been declared as untrue and inaccurate speculation. We are taught in the LDS church that we are all children of God, and that the Lord loves all of us equally. A verse from the Book of Mormon states:

        “and [the Lord] inviteth them all to come unto him and partake of his goodness; and he denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female; and he remembereth the heathen; and all are alike unto God, both Jew and Gentile.” (2Nephi 26:33)

        LDS church leaders today still stand by the priesthood ban on blacks, asserting that it was part of the Lord’s plan, although they now admit that no one knows why it existed. Honestly, I can accept that answer. Why did the Lord allow His chosen people (the Israelites) to endure slavery for 400 years? Why was it the Lord’s plan that His only Son should be mocked and scourged and crucified? Why were Christ’s apostles tortured and martyred? The Lord has always allowed his people to endure trials and suffering and difficult things they didn’t understand, but it’s always to fulfill His greater plan for us. The Lord’s ways and timing may seem unfair to us now, but I believe it’s only because we can’t see or know His plan in entirety. I also believe this counsel given by LDS apostle Joseph Wirthlin:

        “The Lord compensates the faithful for every loss. That which is taken away from those who love the Lord will be added unto them in His own way. While it may not come at the time we desire, the faithful will know that every tear today will eventually be returned a hundredfold with tears of rejoicing and gratitude.”

        I didn’t grow up in a patriarchal household. All of the women in my family are incredibly intelligent and self-sufficient and independent. I have a graduate degree. I am equally yolked with my spouse. My only gripe with Kate Kelly and her movement is that she has caused (whether advertently or inadvertently) people to view the LDS women that don’t agree with her as either oppressed or as brain-washed puppets. I just want people to know that that’s not the case.

      • Honestly, your answers/thoughts are the best I’ve heard so far on this issue, and has given me a lot to think about.

        “What spiritual gifts do you feel women are being denied? I don’t know of any spiritual gifts a man has access to that a woman doesn’t.” — If priesthood is “the literal authority from God to act in His name,” that seems to me to be a particularly special spiritual gift. Why would God give only that gift to men and not women? This probably goes deeper than this conversation, but I don’t literally believe God is a man – again, I think that calling God a man reflects the prejudices of the people who wrote the Bible, not the eternal truth of what really is. I see God as someone/thing to whom we can all relate to, someone who represents all of us — or, in another way, we represent all of It. I pray to God as Father only because that is the way I was taught, and my cultural reference has always been to God as man. Jesus may very well have been a man, but I don’t think God put spiritual significance on that choice — again, God may have done that in order to be able to speak to God’s people who already had gender prejudices.

        I don’t know what I think about God giving only women the ability to bear children. I think biological distinctions (i.e., “sex”) are, however, different from societal distinctions, (i.e., “gender”). Only women can bear children because only women have the “parts” to do so, and yes, that was intended by God. What is the biological basis for only men being Priesthood holders? What is biological about the ability to “perform ordinances such as bestowing the gift of the Holy Ghost and giving blessings to the sick by the laying on of hands.”

        I believe in prophecy, and also believe “that we can know what God wants because He communicates with those whom He calls.” But the Jewish Bible, which serves as our Old Testament, identifies seven female prophets, seven women through whom God spoke. It could be that the Christian Bible, once again, fails to write about more female prophets after Jesus because of the gender prejudices of the time (although some translations call Anna a prophetess). And God communicates with all of us. A fundamental truth about Christianity is that we are all called to have a personal relationship with God, that we believe that He dwells inside of us. That we can discern God’s voice for ourselves through deep contemplation and prayer.

        “The Lord has always allowed his people to endure trials and suffering and difficult things they didn’t understand, but it’s always to fulfill His greater plan for us.” True, but that doesn’t mean that the people inflicting the suffering are not wrong. Perhaps God meant for blacks to be enslaved for 400 years, but that doesn’t absolve the slaveholders from slavery simply because it was a part of God’s plan. Jim Crow may have been a part of God’s plan, but that doesn’t mean it was not also in God’s plan for those involved in the Civil Rights Movement – Christians – to practice non-violent resistance. There were those who asked MLK to wait, to slow down, to give equality a little more time. And he said no – we’d waited already way too long. God does not intend for us to be complicit in our suffering and oppression.

        We don’t tolerate not feeding that hungry or not caring for the sick because their suffering is all a part of God’s plan. Also part of God’s plan is for us to advocate for change, and to be the change we wish to see. I can’t fault Kate Kelly for trying to be that change, for seeing oppression where others say she should be content with her lot in life if in her personal relationship with God He’s told her something else.

        I agree with you that Mormon women who don’t agree should not at all be seen as brain-washed or puppets. Not. At. All. But I still have to say that I find her excommunication troubling, if only that disagreement with Church leaders can lead to a declaration of apostasy: “When a man begins to find fault, inquiring in regard to this, that, and the other, saying, “Does this or that look as though the Lord dictated it?” you may know that that person has more or less of the spirit of apostasy.” To me, and correct me if I am wrong, this means that the LDS President, among others, are thought to be without fault, incapable of getting it wrong. That would put them on the level of Jesus, and that would be blasphemy. It seems even thinking a leader is wrong leads to a charge of apostasy: “One of the first steps to apostasy is to find fault with your Bishop; and when that is done, unless repented of a second step is soon taken, and by and by the person is cut off from the Church, and that is the end of it. Will you allow yourselves to find fault with your Bishop?” (same link) I suppose that Kate Kelly can choose to join another church, or Christian denomination that will accept her questioning and confusion not as a sign of weakness or darkness, but as a sincere desire to better understand God’s will and purpose for her life.

      • Thanks again for your reply, I’ve appreciated hearing your thoughts!

        The priesthood is an incredibly special gift, but just like all spiritual gifts, it’s not given for the benefit of the holder–it’s given to bless and serve the lives of others. My husband gets no greater benefit by holding the priesthood than I do by using it. We believe the priesthood is necessary to perform ordinances (sacred religious ceremonies) such as baptism and confirmation, but these ordinances are done on men, women, and children alike. We believe blessings for healing can be given by those who hold the priesthood, but the blessings are for men, women, and children.

        We also believe that God communicates with all people through prayer, and that we are all entitled to revelation from Him. The difference with the Prophet is that he is the only person authorized by God to receive revelation for the entirety of the Lord’s church.

        I’m in no way attempting to absolve those who have committed crimes against others by chalking it up to “God’s will.” What I am saying is that I trust that those who have been called to lead the LDS church have in fact been called by God, and that when acting in that capacity they act based on the will of the Lord. That doesn’t make them perfect or infallible. President Uchtdorf (a member of the Presidency of the LDS church) has said:

        “And, to be perfectly frank, there have been times when members or leaders in the Church have simply made mistakes. There may have been things said or done that were not in harmony with our values, principles, or doctrine.

        I suppose the Church would be perfect only if it were run by perfect beings. God is perfect, and His doctrine is pure. But He works through us—His imperfect children—and imperfect people make mistakes.”

        But their callings do entitle them to divine help and communication with God. I do believe the priesthood ban on blacks was designated by God; for what purpose I don’t know. But I also know that God doesn’t forsake His people, and that there was a purpose in it and there will be just compensation for the hardships. I know this wasn’t what your original post was about, but if you are curious about hearing about this topic from a black Mormon perspective, the documentary “Nobody Knows: The Untold Story of Black Mormons” is phenomenal.

        We are encouraged to question and ponder and pray about church doctrine–everyone in the LDS church has wrestled with difficult questions about our faith. But we are encouraged to speak respectfully with church leaders, to study the scriptures, to pray earnestly to God–that’s how we better understand God’s will and purpose for our lives. The dilemma with Kate Kelly is that she wasn’t merely questioning doctrine of the church, she was attempting to coerce the LDS church into adopting *her own* doctrine. For awhile she stated she still supported the Prophet, and that her mission was to encourage him to pray sincerely about women receiving the priesthood so that he could get revelation from God to change the doctrine for the church (the only way change happens in the LDS church). Since her organization was founded, the General Authorities of the LDS church have spoken very clearly on this topic, and have indicated that after careful prayer and consideration, the Lord’s designation for who holds the priesthood hasn’t changed; Kate Kelly simply didn’t like the answer she was given, and her group continued to hold events and vigils and protests in an attempt to sway the LDS church to change its doctrine. She’s also been very clear that she won’t be satisfied until women have the priesthood, and that she doesn’t agree with the LDS church’s current stance on women and the priesthood. It’s not my place to judge whether or not she should have been excommunicated, and I don’t celebrate the fact that she’s gone; I actually think it was a very sad thing for her and her family. But I do think that publicly denouncing the doctrine, authority, and integrity of one’s church is tantamount to apostasy.

      • This has been a great conversation. I think where we fundamentally disagree is on the issue of belief and trust. I’m not clear on *why* you believe “those who have been called to lead the LDS church have in fact been called by God” or *why* you believe that “the priesthood ban on blacks was designated by God.” I agree that we will reap the blessings promised to us in Heaven, but to me, that doesn’t mean that we trust man on Earth.

      • I believe those who have been called to lead the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are called of God because of faith.

        You’re a Christian. Why do you believe Christ is our savior? Why do you believe the Bible to be the word of God? These are things that can’t be scientifically proven and that many people deny to be true, but for some reason you still believe them to be. I’m assuming faith has a big part in that.

        Do you believe Moses was a prophet? Or Noah? Or Abraham? Belief in prophets (past and modern) is a fundamental aspect of the LDS faith. The Bible tells us that God called prophets in the past. God designated them to be his mouthpiece on earth. He gave them His priesthood, they taught His gospel to the people and kept doctrine pure, they testified of Christ. After Christ’s death, his 12 apostles continued to lead Christ’s church the way He had organized it. But the people were wicked, and eventually the apostles were all martyred, which led to a long period of time in which there were no prophets or priesthood on the earth, and when many different Christian churches were created and doctrines established. Mormons believe that in the 1800s, God again called a person to be a prophet to lead and guide His church, and that person was given the priesthood and God’s authority to organize it; his name was Joseph Smith. Since then there has always been a prophet on the earth, even up until now. This belief in the restoration of prophets is why I believe the leaders of the LDS church are literally called of God. We believe we can come to know this for ourselves through prayer and the Holy Ghost.

        http://www.mormon.org/beliefs/restoration

  6. Mama’s assertions require certain conclusions about the intent of God that are quite disturbing.

    Mama has stated in so many words that she does not believe that God’s desires for humankind can be known or that his/her/its character traits can be known. This seems to put you into complete doubt everything scriptural. For this to be true, you seem to see deception, racism, and bigotry everywhere from the beginning of history simply because men claiming Priesthood authority wrote it.

    So, with all of God’s incredible power, He/she/it wants us to remain in the dark about divine plan and guidance. He/she/it wants to remain completely shrouded from all who seek truth. Why would God choose this path?

    • I’m not sure how you got to this from what I said. What I’m saying is that I do not believe that god intends or looks favorably upon the oppression of any people, including blacks and women. I do believe that oppression and bigotry are man-made, not divinely inspired. I believe that most of the gender differences we see today in Christianity is not due to gods will, but due to humans shortcomings and prejudices. I do not doubt everything scriptural. But I do question scripture when it does not gel with my own relationship with my god and savior. That doesn’t mean that scripture is wrong. But it does mean that I am constantly seeking the true voice of god in my life, and do believe that through constantly seeking the lords voice for myself, I can try to separate essential and everlasting truth from men’s prejudices and biases. I do think gods desires and character traits can be known, but I believe it can be known not just through scripture but through our own personal relationship with Jesus Christ. God does not want us to be completely shrouded from truth. But he wants us to actively seek it, not just believe a book or another man.

  7. I suppose I must have erred in concluding as I did about your belief in the Divinity. I did my best from the info you provided.

    Let’s get back to the subject of your own spiritual distress as you reflected upon in your topic. Before becoming Mormon, I attended and was a member of such churches in Protestantism with similar corruption. We left such churches because when our marriage suffered, they obviously did not have the tools to help us. We needed a church organization that could heal us.

    I don’t think you mean to blame the ineffectiveness of leadership as being a male problem, but rather a problem with autocracy and corrupted use of power….a cultural problem that is associated more severely with given cultures. I would speculate the power base were not the ones who chose to leave. I would further speculate that any future relative contentment you feel about your church will be sourced through a new minister whose true behavior is being concealed from you as before…until its too late. I say that because of the pattern of your last half dozen years there. Do I err here?

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