LDS spokesman sends open letter about Mormon women

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  • FollowMyHeart Provo, UT
    June 20, 2014 11:29 a.m.

    Grr! I want to hear from church leadership on this issue, not from the PR team. Interestingly, many of the public statements about women in the church have been issued (conveniently?) by female PR staff. They talk about engaging womens groups, but it seems they have carefully selected which groups to listen to. That's a bit like doing a survey of only people who match your desired outcome...and then being affirmed when the results match your opinion. Per the PR department's representative herself "there is no doctrine that says that women can't have the priesthood". Indeed, history would indicate otherwise. I'm not pushing for ordination, but I want the church to stop trying to pull the wool over everyone's eyes and start speaking honestly. We believe in being honest.....and the way the church is approaching this just doesn't feel honest to me.

  • Whyargue Salt Lake City, UT
    June 8, 2014 7:26 a.m.

    If you don't agree with the Church then leave it. If you can't leave it because you believe it is true then accept it. If you can't accept it pray about it. If you aren't getting the answers you seek then speak to your Bishop. If you still feel the same way then humble yourself. If you can't humble yourself find an opportunity for service.

    The Church isn't run by committee. The Lord still guides and directs His Apostles. To believe that you can change His organization through lobbying and demonstration is misguided. If it is meant to happen it will happen. Don't worry about what the Lord is going to do, place your trust in what he wants you to do. Forgive those who have wronged you. Have patience with those whom you disagree. Leave your personal admonitions at the door. Be honest with yourself and those of your faith. Seek not for His power, because it comes to everyone who is worthy.

    I know this letter came from the Lord. To question it or His chosen Prophet is to question Him.

  • Midwest Mom Soldiers Grove, WI
    June 5, 2014 11:40 a.m.

    "They" are individual people, not a one-gendered mass of thought and emotion.

    As for me, I have no problems with men holding the priesthood. They need it and we all need for them to have it. Without their authority and responsibility, women would have to run everything. We see this in many other denominations.

    The priesthood is the part that men have been assigned. It is not an entitlement, nor is it a badge of superiority, although many men behave in that way. That is there loss and burden of guilt. Not mine.

    My faith is not dependent, nor is it affected, by the dysfunction of others. My faith is in God and I am saved by the atonement of the Savior, Jesus Christ.

    The Church would not have to make these statements if women had not been made to feel inferior over the years. Read the qualities of honorable priesthood holders in the Doctrine and Covenants. No feminist would object to a man like that.

    We area all works in progress. Even women.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    June 4, 2014 11:57 a.m.

    Another way of looking at is that men should not own women or control them. Women are humans, and should be considered and treated as equals to men with the same rights and privileges (including being subject to male dominance if that is what they choose; but it should be woman's choice and not mans dictate).

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    June 3, 2014 2:52 p.m.

    "Is it any coincidence that groups such as Ordain Women have sprung up during the exact same time same-sex marriage is becoming more and more legal throughout the country?"

    There are some comparisons, one of which is critical. You worry that same-sex marriage will be imposed on your church but people outside your church generally don't care, I mean they'll disagree if they don't like it, but generally they just won't join and it's left at that. They pretty much just want you to not stop them from marrying elsewhere and don't care about marrying in your churches (except for some members of the churches themselves). That's how churches had gone so long with no female clergy without really any outside pressure. Outsiders who dislike it just don't join. Ordain Women (almost typed Occupy Women) is largely internal, coming from people who either are or were LDS. That's the sort of thing that is where challenges to church doctrines generally come from, inside the church not outside, because it's those inside the church or connected to it that have the largest stake in the matter.

  • ClarkHippo Tooele, UT
    June 3, 2014 3:07 a.m.


    "Until the church gives women the priesthood..."

    (In other words, until the LDS Church is forced, by Congressional or court order, to give LDS women the priesthood)

    "...It is all just politics and male chauvinism."

    Politics? In other words, the separation of church and state only goes one way? Churches can't tell the government or courts what to do, but the government and the courts can be used to forces churches to change policy and doctrine?

    Is it any coincidence that groups such as Ordain Women have sprung up during the exact same time same-sex marriage is becoming more and more legal throughout the country?

    But of course, churches can't be forced to change policy such as giving women the priesthood or marrying same-sex couples and churches won't face government sanctions for openly opposing either.

    At least... not yet.

  • Fred Vader Oklahoma City, OK
    June 2, 2014 12:23 p.m.

    Brit said, "Ordain Women asked, not demanded, the prophet for an answer." And they have received several answers; from Elder Oaks, and from the PA department, and others.

    "But the Prophet himself did not answer", seems to be the claim being made now.

    Which reminds me of Naaman in the Bible, who was a great military leader, and who had leprosy. He went to the prophet Elisha's home and asked that he come out and heal him of leprosy. However, the Prophet sent out his servant to deliver the message that he should simply go and wash himself in the river Jordan 7 times.

    Naaman got angry and stormed off, because the Prophet himself did not speak to him, and did not give him the answer he sought. Then Namaan's servants reminded him that if the Prophet had responded by telling him to do some great thing, would he not have done it? Then why wouldn't he do the simple thing provided by the servant of the Prophet?

    Namaan recognized his error and went and washed as directed, and was healed and cleaned. Should not those of Ordain Women do likewise?

    June 2, 2014 11:34 a.m.

    I really do not appreciate the few comments degrading women on this thread. The sisters I serve with in my Ward leadership are amazing leaders and have the mantle of their calling.

    There is no organizaton in the world with more women in leadership than the LDS Church.

    It is sad that some members are being "stirred up" by apostates and those who hate the Church. God has spoken through His apostles on the Priesthood. Elder Oaks did this in the last Conference. To demand that the Prophet answer is akin to sign seeking. We don't counsel God, He counsels us....

    June 1, 2014 11:15 p.m.

    The Prophetess Deborah is one of my favorite people in the scriptures. Lilalips needs to carefully read the whole story of Deborah. She was called by God when there were no righteous men to lead the people. As long as the leaders of God's church are righteous, there is no need for women to be called as prophets for the church.

  • rlsintx Plano, TX
    June 1, 2014 5:52 p.m.

    It's just a matter of fact; there's nothing anyone will say that will change the minds of those set in their own impressions of the LDS Church and the viewers impression of their actions. To truly learn requires the aspect of humility which leaves one teachable and my experience has been that is sadly not present nearly all of the time for whatever reason. If President Monson said it himself from the pulpit, people would take issue with that too. A fine effort well made. Will it change anyone ? Hopefully.

  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    June 1, 2014 3:58 p.m.

    I suppose it won't be over until, due to "the war", we have so few men left they (men) are valued again and are not always having to defend themselves against unreasonable and vicious attacks. When a man becomes as rare as "fine gold" they will be valued for their scarcity.

  • skeptic Phoenix, AZ
    June 1, 2014 11:11 a.m.

    Until the church gives women the priesthood and church management leadership positions so that they may speak for themselves, it is all just politics and male chauvinism.

  • Rustymommy Clovis, NM
    May 31, 2014 10:19 p.m.

    Mack2828...You don't need to wonder why the prophet doesn't speak out himself. The prophet has already spoken out as have a number of other top church leaders. The problem is not whether they have spoken but whether you want to hear what they have said. In fact, when I was reading up on what prophets have said on the subject, it is a subject that has been addressed for many years, not just the last few. You may not like the answer, but an answer has been given. I wouldn't expect it to change anytime soon. Since God is the same yesterday, today and always, you can expect the answer from his prophets to be similarly consistent. Times may change but truth doesn't.

  • Brit Hillsboro, OR
    May 31, 2014 3:38 p.m.

    Ordain Women asked, not demanded, the prophet for an answer. Not to be read over the pulpit, but however he chose to address them. It's the same process that so many people used with Joseph Smith as he received revelation for each one who had a question. Those revelations became part of the D&C. There is a huge difference between asking for a sign and asking a question. It actually shows their great faith in the prophet to accept that he would receive an answer for them. Why is it that we can accept that process in 1840 but not in 2014?

  • ideasnstuff Orem, UT
    May 31, 2014 12:49 p.m.

    For those who wonder why the senior brethren don't speak up, please see Dallin Oaks' address from the most recent general conference.

  • suzyk#1 Mount Pleasant, UT
    May 31, 2014 11:50 a.m.

    When a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints truly has a testimony of the Truth they will always follow the Prophet, without question. The Prophet receives direct inspiration from the Lord and it is their hope that we as members will trust and want to follow their counsel wherein the greatest blessings will come.

  • Brit Hillsboro, OR
    May 31, 2014 10:39 a.m.

    @ Bleed Crimson

    You misunderstood my comparison to blacks holding the priesthood. It was that a prophet prayed about changing the accepted policy of the church, not regarding who has held the priesthood in the scriptures. Priesthood has indeed been limited in the past, consider the sons of Aaron and the tribe of Levi. If you accept statements made by Joseph Smith, and promises made in the temple also as scripture, then the priesthood will be given to women also.

    So as to governing the church as God sees fit, I agree completely. Let's ask if this is the time to receive those promised blessings that He has made.

  • Lilalips Attleboro, MA
    May 31, 2014 9:52 a.m.

    @gmlewis Deborah was a Prophet of God who led Israel. She was God's spokesperson on earth. Guess what? she didn't need the priesthood. Yet she had the authority of God. She was a judge in Israel. If you go back and look at the leadership, even in the Book of Mormon, you will see that leaders were not always priesthood leaders. Look at the genealogy of each Prophet. Let me ask you this. In ancient Israel, only the tribe of Aaron was authorized to hold the priesthood. And yet, Lehi's family was not of the tribe of Aaron. To my knowledge, there was no one authorized from the tribe of Aaron to officiate in sacrifices or ordinances of the Old Testament, that went with Lehi's family. How then did they perform sacrifices as spoken in the book of Mormon? They were from Manasseh or Ishmael. How then did they sacrifice? How was Alma "baptized"? How can you then, limit what the Lord can do?

  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    May 31, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    I don't know if Samuel the Lamanite was a prophet or a ticked off missionary. I lean toward ticked off missionary.

  • hockeymom Highland, UT
    May 31, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    @ Brit

    Again - to insist that the prophet pray about it and make a formal statement over the pulpit is akin to Thomas in the New Testament, or any others who seek for a sign. "I will not believe until I see it for myself" attitude. As soon as we demand answers, there is no longer any faith involved. I

    'd love to know exactly where eternity "began" .... it boggles my mind to think of eternity as being without beginning or end. I am fascinated thinking about that concept, yet I am content to have sufficient faith to believe it is so. I have theories, but until I am on the other side of the veil, I will exercise faith sufficient to believe until I know for sure.

  • Bleed Crimson Sandy, Utah
    May 30, 2014 11:34 p.m.

    @ Brit

    Sorry Brit, but i'm not buying that. Ordain Women is an activist movement that demand change with Church doctrine regarding women. The answer was given during last General Conference by Elder Oaks. Every speaker at General Conference fasts and prays about the talks they will give at conference before hand. The answer is "no"! Unfortunately they won't take "no" for an answer, so they will continue this movement to try and force change. They won't stop until they get what they want.

    As for your comparison regarding blacks and the priesthood. Your comparing apples with oranges. Worthy men of all races can hold the priesthood which can found in the scriptures. But women have never held the priesthood. This is God's work and this is the Lord's church and he will govern His church as He sees fit.

  • Broc9 Council Bluffs, IA
    May 30, 2014 10:36 p.m.

    Someone recently posted, Who was the PR person for Christ?

    Simple answer: Paul. He done good!

  • wrz Phoenix, AZ
    May 30, 2014 10:19 p.m.

    "I have nothing but respect for our senior church leaders but I wish in these troubled times they had the courage of a Samuel the Lamanite. He didn't send a PR spokesman up on the wall..."

    For all we know Samuel was a PR spokesman.

    "Who was the marketing guy back in the days of Christ...or after?"

    I think it was Paul the Apostle and others of the original 12.

    "There is evidently some dissatisfaction with the numbers and/or visibility of women in leadership positions within the Church."

    Well, I think it might have something to do with her taking a bite of the apple in the Garden. On the other hand had she not, none of us would be here.

  • scamp1776 ALTOONA, PA
    May 30, 2014 9:10 p.m.

    Ah, the wish for Kings... I do NOT need to hear from the PR flacks... or anyone else... God has spoken and it is done... most of these women (and the quasi-men who support them in their rebellion) should simply join the Community of Christ church... then they can be ordained or "have more leadership roles" -- regardless of how they parse their language God knows their hearts and they are found wanting.

    Disclaimer: I am a convert to the Church and therefore not a Mormon but rather a Latter-day Saint... (See Brother Brigham for the difference) and I will not give a farthing for the worlds ways or the WORSHIP of authority... for me and mine it is the Lord Jesus Christ and His Laws and Ordinances... As laid in in the 4 standard works.

    The fact that they will not go somewhere else to worship shows their true nature... enmity towards God... the fruits of their sin -- Pride.

  • Arizona2 Tucson, AZ
    May 30, 2014 5:36 p.m.

    I haven't had time to read even close to all the comments that have been posted here, but I have seen a number that have asked why the prophet and apostles haven't addressed these issues. To those who have posted such comments, I would ask, "Have you not been listening to General Conference? They have addressed and readdressed many of these issues.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    May 30, 2014 4:44 p.m.

    LDS women are unique in the world among all women. LDS women still beleive in modesty and morality which pretty much separtes them from the rest.

  • Brit Hillsboro, OR
    May 30, 2014 4:11 p.m.

    @ Bleed Crimson

    The leaders of Ordain Women said that they would accept the answer to their question if President Monson prayed about it, in the same way that the prophet prayed about the question of ordaining blacks to the priesthood. As it is, we won't ever know if they would follow through with their statement, but if we assume that they made it in good faith, then we can assume that they would "move on" as you put it. They understand that they cannot receive revelation for the Church, which is why they exercised their faith in the prophet by asking him to pray about it. Surely that is a good thing? Their question was not answered in General Conference, the talks there were a restatement of current policy, without addressing whether any prayers had been offered. Finally I must object to your characterization of the leaders of Ordain Women as ignorant. I am not a member of their group, nor do I know any personally, but from what I have read they are intelligent and faithful women.

  • apairofpennies washington, UT
    May 30, 2014 3:36 p.m.

    @IA Cougar
    "I think about how the General RS Presidency, YW Presidency and Primary Presidency were seated prominently front and center on the stand in the Conference Center (where prior they were on the side), the age of missionary age changed, women praying in conference, etc. etc. All of this shows that the leadership of the Church at the highest levels are responding to the needs of women who are so incredibly valuable to the Church."

    I hardly think that a new seating chart and being allowed to say a public prayer constitutes "responding to the needs of women".

  • Bleed Crimson Sandy, Utah
    May 30, 2014 3:10 p.m.

    @ Brit

    What if they did pray about the Ordain Women's question and the answer was still "no"! Would these women of Ordain Women accept that answer and move on?

    Of course they've prayed and sought revelation regarding the subject especially when they're addressing the members of the church.

    The answer to the Ordain Women's question was answered at General Conference by Elder Oaks. He couldn't have said it any better. The problem is the leaders of Ordain Women won't take "no" for an answer and are completely ignorant.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 2:50 p.m.

    "An attack on the Public Affairs department — which was created and is still overseen by the Brethren — is an attack on the Church itself. "

    Wouldn't that kinda be like saying that an attack on Jay Carney, a spokesperson (until now) for the Administration, is an attack on America itself?

  • Brit Hillsboro, OR
    May 30, 2014 2:37 p.m.

    Michael Otterson did not address the question that Ordain Women asked. As was the pattern of revelation from the early days of the Church, please would the prophet pray about the question of women being ordained to the priesthood. They were willing to accept the answer given. But no meeting, no prayer, no response. Revelation always comes when a question is asked. Perhaps the leaders were worried that the answer might surprise them.

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    May 30, 2014 1:58 p.m.


    The quote from Elder Oaks talk April 2014, Priesthood Session, is slightly different, but similar in meaning.

    "At general conference many years ago, President Spencer W. Kimball reminded us that there are other priesthood keys that have not been given to man on the earth, including the keys of creation and resurrection."

    The principle is that not all the priesthood keys are available even to the Prophet of the Church today.

  • gmlewis Houston, TX
    May 30, 2014 1:54 p.m.

    Deborah was a prophetess, in that she had a testimony of Christ which is the spirit of prophesy. She did not hold priesthood office or keys. Everyone on earth should be a prophet, filled with a testimony of Christ.

  • rw123 Sandy, UT
    May 30, 2014 1:49 p.m.

    @Liberal Ted

    "As explained in the last conference, even the prophet and apostles who hold the keys are not allowed to use all keys for this dispensation."

    This is a sincere question. Were these the actual words used in conference, or are you paraphrasing? Could you give me a reference? I would be interested in knowing the context as well. Thank you.

  • Globetrecker Arlington, va
    May 30, 2014 1:15 p.m.

    I needed to mention something brought up by others but "conveniently" left out of the discussions on the fringe groups' discussions i.e. Mormon women's feminist housewives pages and the "ordain women" group:

    It seems to me critics of the Public Affairs department are really grasping at straws, coming up with any excuse they can to still say they follow the Brethren while continuing to murmur. And they pretend that they are not murmuring about the Church and its leaders — they are just complaining about the PA department.

    News flash: the Public Affairs department reflects the will of the Brethren. It is simply a modern-day vehicle for the Brethren to lessen their already huge work load.

    An attack on the Public Affairs department — which was created and is still overseen by the Brethren — is an attack on the Church itself. As Pres. Uchtdorf would say, “stop it!”

  • sonofabronc Boise, ID
    May 30, 2014 1:07 p.m.

    Moses had a spokesman.

  • Schnee Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 12:45 p.m.

    "I agree with On the Other Hand. Samuel the Lamanite was Nephi's PR person."

    I thought Samuel the Lamanite was several generations after Nephi or is this a different Nephi than the first one noted in the Book of Mormon? (I assume you two are right, I'm just mixing something up and would appreciate my memory of that part of the Book of Mormon being fixed).

  • Lilalips Attleboro, MA
    May 30, 2014 12:41 p.m.

    @ Here
    Did you read my post? What I said was the complete and polar opposite of what you suggest. I said that Deborah in the Old Testament was a Prophet, capitol P, who led Israel. She was so important that the General of the Israeli army would not go into battle without her blessing. I'll say it once again, IF women are the counter-partners to the Priesthood, because of their innate femaleness, then women DON'T NEED to have the Priesthood to LEAD in the church, our church. Deborah didn't and she was a prophet. We DO need more women leading in the church in areas where there righteous men are few and far between and also simply where they are the best leadership. Who God has traditionally chosen to be his apostles has been men. But as we know, God is no respecter of persons but WE are. It is not GOD who needs the gender gap but WE who need it. We need it because this is an imperfect world. Many men have difficulty accepting women in leadership positions.

  • wzagieboylo Nofolk, MA
    May 30, 2014 12:37 p.m.

    7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

    8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

  • Mack2828 Ft Thomas, KY
    May 30, 2014 11:49 a.m.

    It sounds like many have misinterpreted my original comment. I'm supportive of our leaders, and I'm grateful for what they have said in General Conference on this matter. But for someone like me who lives outside the Wasatch front, having a guy I have never heard of post something on a blog that I have never heard of, just doesn't carry the same weight as having the Bishop read a letter from the First Presidency over the pulpit. Those of us that don't live in the blogosphere could really use some clarity on this issue. And not from a PR guy.

    I personally think that with Ordain Womens recent announcement that they are going to start holding cottage meetings and teach missionary like discussions in an effort to recruit more members of the church to their cause, this will all be a mute point before long. Isn't that pretty blatant apostasy? It's one thing to quietly hold private beliefs that are contrary to church doctrine, but to go out and recruit other members to join you in those false beliefs? Wow! Apostasy.

  • The Caravan Moves On Enid, OK
    May 30, 2014 11:28 a.m.

    I see it every day on any article the Deseret News publishes that pertains to the LDS church. What do I see?

    Negative comments about / towards the LDS church by those who say they are members.

    Like I said I see it every day.

    And because of it I can see, clearly, that the warnings of Heber C. Kimball of a large falling away is ripe to occur. I mean, it's happening right in front of us. Homosexual 'marriage', our history, polygamy and now the most recent addition, criticisms of how the Church treats women. Heber C. Kimball said the day would come "in this now peaceful valley" that it would be difficult to "tell the face of a saint from the face of an enemy to the people of God." If you don't believe, I feel sorry for you. I can't force you to believe not will I try.

    As for me, I'm staying. I know too much to leave.

    Choose wisely.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 11:25 a.m.

    These women may be more productive, if they could activate more men into church activity. Also, when they accept a calling, they are operating in that capacity of the Priesthood. As explained in the last conference, even the prophet and apostles who hold the keys are not allowed to use all keys for this dispensation. They are limited in their capacity to use the priesthood. The same for each calling within the church and how the priesthood is used. The other example is sisters serving a mission; they are filling a priesthood responsibility, they are given certain functions and abilities to fulfill that responsibility.

    It seems these women are looking for more of an ability to get themselves into a position, to push their own personal views and agenda onto the body of the church, rather than asking the Lord what he would have them do and give him all the glory.

    I think it's pretty clear. I guess Joseph asking the Lord over and over again if he could let his scribe take the pages that had been translated, you eventually get the answer you were pushing for; but in the end it was still a bad choice.

  • Moracle Blackshear, GA
    May 30, 2014 11:09 a.m.

    Often, when some of us feel discontent in our lives, instead of looking within to see if we need to make changes in our own selves, we look outward to see if someone or something else is causing our problem.
    Frequently, we place the blame on the organization (Church) and people (Prophet & Apostles) who have the most influence over us.
    This misplacement of blame can often be resolved by asking ourselves this question: "Am I receiving, recognizing, following and obeying the Spirit's voice?"
    In its infancy the Voice speaks to us through our conscience and can be amplified later by reception of the Holy Ghost.
    When we learn to listen to that Voice of the Lord (conscience) we will find ourselves in harmony with the Lord's Church and His chosen servants.
    Also, any feelings of discontent will be replaced with feelings of fulfillment, confidence, harmony, and peace.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 11:08 a.m.

    I wonder how many of these women, pushing for priesthood, go to church every week and hold a calling?

    My experience has been the ones that cry louder are the ones who do the least in their ward. Always a victim, but, never the rescuer. Always complaining, but, never giving a solution. The person I'm describing is the first to put their name on the list for welfare, but, never volunteers for welfare assignments. Even after promising to fulfill a welfare assignment, once they have received help they disappear until they need more help. Always wanting relief from fast offerings, but, never contributing to it.

  • Kirk R Graves West Jordan, UT
    May 30, 2014 11:00 a.m.

    "whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants, it is the same:" D&C 1:38.

    The prophet is simply following the same pattern we are taught God uses. When the prophet delegates responsibility to share a message, it is the same as if he had spoken it himself. Those who kick against the prick on this issue are simply looking for wiggle room to keep fighting against Church leadership .

  • Morgan Duel Taylorsville, UT
    May 30, 2014 10:55 a.m.

    Seems to me that the 80/20 rule stands out here. If the leaders spend 80% of their time trying to respond to the grievance crowd, they will hurt the 80% who are faithful members. It should also be remembered that the Father did not try to change his manner of doing things because his child had lost his way. He waited and when the child returned he welcomed him with open arms.

  • DLC/Orange County Placentia, CA
    May 30, 2014 10:51 a.m.

    So many of the comments on this feed represent the problem that the Church is facing now and will continue to face in the future. Too many members do not understand doctrine. The Church is not and will never be the progressive, liberal entity that some desire. It is the TRUE CHURCH OF CHRIST, and as such is under his explicit leadership. Christ is not going to be bullied and pressured by unhappy, prideful members of his church. It is those seeking the change that need to do some studying and soul searching to understand what the Lord requires of each of us to reach exhalation. It is really of no importance what position you hold in the church. There are some who perceive their intelligence and understanding to be superior to Christ. Christ requires a broken heart and a contrite sprit, not bloggers and activists seeking to question his divine authority. These actions and attitudes currently being expressed by these groups are the exact reason the Church was restored through a 14 year old boy. Some have lost their way and it is sad that Church Leaders even have to give their time and energy to these issues.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    May 30, 2014 10:46 a.m.

    I have heard the prophets and apostles speak literally hundreds of times over my lifetime. Hundreds. And when I listen / pay attention I never hear them speak without coming away impressed, uplifted and, generally speaking, leaving the room as a better person. They speak the words of God. Again, if one will simply listen and watch, you will feel it. Good grief!, you can't help but feel it.

    I find it simply amazing, even incredulous, for anyone to claim that the Prophet, his counselors in the First Presidency or the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles don't listen to women, don't care about them and/or try to oppress them.

    Totally, totally false. And that IS putting it nice.

  • Dan Maloy Enid, OK
    May 30, 2014 10:30 a.m.

    @ MapleDon - Springvill, UT - "So is this doctrine? Is this to be read over the pulpit? Help me understand why anything a "PR spokesperson" says matters. He's the marketing and advertising guy. I don't recall being asked to sustain him."

    Don, it isn't rocket science. The head of the Public Affairs department would never put out such a statement without the full approval of the Prophet, the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostels who you DID vote to sustain.


  • Herbert Gravy Salinas, CA
    May 30, 2014 10:25 a.m.


    Oh, my. What was the size of the Church during the Savior's ministry? How different were the ways to communicate back then? How "complex" were the issues back then? Apparently, there have been no significant changes over the centuries that impact where we find ourselves today.

    Appears that some of us need to wake up and smell the coffee. (Ha ha).

  • Kjirstin Youngberg Mapleton, UT
    May 30, 2014 10:10 a.m.

    I loved the comments by OC Fan. I'm in there somewhere. I also have a dil who is involved in the movement, so I try very hard to be supportive and understanding of all sides.

    One thing, imho, needs to be addressed by the Prophet himself. In Jesus' day, women were nothing. Often less than the animals, to esteem the woman as highly as a man would have been instant blasphemy, and Christ would have been stoned at his first meeting instead of getting three years to preach. He DID bring about changes to the way women were viewed. He told parables that included women. This was a HUGE step back then.

    Today, women are educated. There is no question they are capable. President Monson will hopefully soon address this head on, and while I expect the answer to be the same, Vern001 made some good points.

    Men may be the only priesthood holders for one reason: they NEED to feel necessary. They go to church, because church couldn't run without them. If women held equal callings, there would be no need for them! They'd leave in droves, as happened once the Episcopal Church ordained women.

  • Here Sandy, UT
    May 30, 2014 9:50 a.m.


    Frankly, as a man, I don't know why women don't hold the priesthood. I don't claim to know the reason for that. All I know is that they don't. I'm pretty sure the Lord could extend the priesthood to women fairly easily if He felt to do so. But apparently He doesn't. And from what I'm hearing from the brethren, He is not going to do so any time soon. But, at least for me, I am assured the Lord's plan is still good, perfect, and correct. I am convinced He loves all His children the same regardless of gender or whether they are ordained to the priesthood or not.

  • J-TX Allen, TX
    May 30, 2014 9:36 a.m.


    Yes, Deborah was a prophetess. But she was not THE prophet.

    While she had the spirit of prophecy, as have many, many women, she nor the others were at any time God's Key Holding, Priesthood Bearing Representative on Earth. This has always, and always will be a man.

    This does not diminish from the truth of an individual woman's inspiration or spirit or even gift of prophesy. Our Sister General Authorities' words from the pulpit at General Conference are neither assigned, nor redacted by the Brethren, but are to be taken as 'modern scripture' by the general Church membership, because, "whether by my mouth, or the mouth of my servants, it is the same".

  • MoreMan San Diego, CA
    May 30, 2014 9:29 a.m.

    Mormon ladies.... you are smarter than this. If the thinking has been done for you, as it always will be in this church, teach your children well. They'll understand the lessons. You can't change the church except from the bottom up.

  • Lagomorph Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 9:27 a.m.

    The penultimate paragraph of the article negates any benefit of the rest of the statement. By arbitrarily defining the terms of the discussion and avoiding any difficult discussion, the church is only preserving an echo chamber, hearing what it wants to hear ("preaching to the choir" would be the other apropos expression). You might as well be debating the relative merits of shredded carrots versus pineapple in the Jell-o. It's like a wildlife official in charge of setting wolf management policy saying, "Hey, I got both sides of the issue. I talked to both the Cattlemen's Association AND the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation."-- without speaking to any wolf advocates. The only way to grow (and not be perceived as self-serving) is to confront the tough topics frankly and honestly, even if they go against your beliefs (perhaps ESPECIALLY if they go against your beliefs). Don't exclude your toughest critics, engage them.

  • Alex 1 Tucson, AZ
    May 30, 2014 9:18 a.m.

    If you pay attention in the least at General Conference, you will know that the Brethren have dealt with this issue. I don't know how the statement's by church leaders (especially Elder Oaks' talk in Priesthood Session) can be misconstrued. Its not my problem that some people have a listening problem. Wake up.

    Sorry, but this isn't the only issue that the Brethren deal with, nor should it be. The problem is with people who don't hear what they want to hear, who then go back and pretend that the Brethren haven't spoken plainly, when they have. So what do they do then? They go back and ask for another statement again and again, each time insinuating that the doctrine and the teaching of the Brethren haven't been clear. The Church doesn't have to play these silly little games.

  • Wookie Omaha, NE
    May 30, 2014 9:17 a.m.

    What is ironic is how single men in the church, let alone single men with children, have been left out of discussions in its entirety as to what resources and steps are taken to try to include us. Ask yourself, how many single men with kids do you see at church week in and week out? I have been told that the activity level is less than 10 percent. I am not trying to start a controversy, rather I am trying to express that the Church is doing its best to try to work with everyone. Its a big organization and things will happen and people will fall through the cracks. We have to be patient and learn that this is God's Church and He knows His children's needs and He will act with the time is right to fulfill His purpose.


  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    May 30, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    Each of us can only speak from personal experience. For instance, in our stake conferences I would dare say there are as many sisters speaking and praying as men. I am the organist and serve under a woman music chair and have for many years and am happy to be led by their inspiration -- I've also served in a bishopric with wonderful women leaders who were a primary source of inspiration for our ward council.

    Some are a bit critical that the Prophet instead of a PR man didn't address this issue. I for one am tired of leaders who do nothing but speak in public about issues - but then do little behind the scenes to promote their promises on the platform. I am confident that while Brother Otterstrom are speaking the mind and will of the Brethren, that the Brethren work hard to magnify their callings daily. The Prophet Elisha sent his servant to direct Naaman to bathe in the River Jordan to cure his leprosy. Prophets do work through spokesmen - even on important matters.

  • Mary E Petty Sandy, UT
    May 30, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    I know mortal life is man’s God-given tutorial in agency. It is our time of preparation to meet God.

    Taking my course from my Exemplar, Jesus Christ, as He prayed in Gethsemane: “And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.” (Mark14:36)

    Holding to the iron rod of eternal truth, “… I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded, for I know that the Lord giveth no commandments unto the children of men, save he shall prepare a way for them that they may accomplish the thing which he commandeth them.” (1 Ne. 3:7.)

    “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. (Joshua 24:15)

    In the cacophony of voices, I'm grateful for our living prophet. Thank you for your inspiration, direction, and counsel: the Feast, courtesy Aslan.

  • Gosh-DUH Burlington, CT
    May 30, 2014 9:01 a.m.

    Wondering why this open letter is not available on Why is the church apparently only responding to blogs? This letter would be authoritative and carry much more clout, i.e. read over the pulpit in Sacrament meetings if it were a First Presidency letter.

  • Herbert Gravy Salinas, CA
    May 30, 2014 8:55 a.m.

    Apparently, some of us need to watch General Conference, or be more attentive when we do. Several talks have been given in the recent past regarding women and women's "issues". We love the sisters. Where would you or I be without them?

  • hockeymom Highland, UT
    May 30, 2014 8:17 a.m.

    @ MapleDon

    "Who was the marketing guy hired by Christ to massage public opinion in his day?"

    Ummmmm - One of the twelve apostles? One of the many of His disciples?? Take your pick.

  • hockeymom Highland, UT
    May 30, 2014 8:13 a.m.

    Mack 2828

    I agree with On the Other Hand. Samuel the Lamanite was Nephi's PR person. A church public affairs person is one of the Lord's servants. He is relaying the message from the Prophet, who is another servant of the Lord. "Whether from me or one of my servants, it is the same".

    Asking for the Prophet to stand and make a definitive statement is a little like asking for a "sign". Why not just accept the words that have been already issued, exercise a little faith, and move on?

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    May 30, 2014 7:43 a.m.


    "Any attempts to discredit Michael Otterson would be blatant and purposeful attacks on the Prophet and Apostles." Really? So you're saying that Otterson is anointed and is a prophet, seer, and revelator, rather than a hireling?

    Is this Michael Otterson?

    It would have taken less effort (and cost less for the tithe payers of the Church) for the two apostles who "directly supervise" you to write the op-ed, than for you to do so and have them approve it.

    And I'll go back to my earlier question, who was the marketing guy hired by Christ to massage public opinion in his day?

  • Ranch Here, UT
    May 30, 2014 7:40 a.m.

    At least some of you are thinking for yourselves it would appear. Good for you.

  • Christina Logan, UT
    May 30, 2014 7:39 a.m.

    It's been my experience that when women aren't heard, it's because the women in question have not effectively communicated their concerns. Some of this may be due to past misunderstandings of doctrine that church leaders have tried very hard to clear up.

  • RBB Sandy, UT
    May 30, 2014 7:09 a.m.


    It sure seems like to me the Apostles have discussed this issues on numerous occasions. I do not think they need to respond very time some group with an agenda gets holds a press conference. I think they have better things to do then constantly respond to the grievance crowd.

  • Paul in MD Montgomery Village, MD
    May 30, 2014 7:05 a.m.

    @Mack2828, we do hear from them on issues like this. Read or view the conference talks from the April 2014 conference. There were several references to these issues. No, there wasn't one talk devoted to this specific issue, but there is direction there.

    We may yet see or hear something like this directly from the brethren, but as someone else mentioned, letters like this don't go public without the approval of the brethren assigned to provide guidance to the public relations group, so these can be taken as at least conforming to the thoughts of the brethren, even if they are not written by them.

    Remember that church governance is not guided by politics, nor does it bow to the prevailing news cycle. The brethren speak directly to us when prompted by the Lord, and it is on His timetable, not ours.

  • IA Cougar West Des Moines, IA
    May 30, 2014 6:54 a.m.

    "I'm disappointed that we don't hear directly from the Prophet and Apostles on these matters."

    I believe we have. When you read their words over the past several general conferences and reflect on their actions (which speak louder than words) I believe you can see it. I think specifically of the address Elder Oaks gave in the last Priesthood Session. I think about how the General RS Presidency, YW Presidency and Primary Presidency were seated prominently front and center on the stand in the Conference Center (where prior they were on the side), the age of missionary age changed, women praying in conference, etc. etc. All of this shows that the leadership of the Church at the highest levels are responding to the needs of women who are so incredibly valuable to the Church.

    My guess is that they are not telling the world about it through press releases and direct words, rather, they are doing it behind the scenes in meaningful ways that those who are observing can see and give them credit for. I see progress and I think it is very positive.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2014 6:21 a.m.

    As far was women and the priesthood goes. Had they listened to the last conference, they were given as clear of an answer as can be given from an apostle. Their trouble is, they are so intent on getting the answer they want, they won't listen to the answer that is given. They would have also learned what the priesthood is. Which it is not the men in the church. The priesthood is used by all in the church, in different capacities.

    For some reason, this small number of women believe "revelation" comes from grass roots efforts to force God to change his doctrine. An example given is blacks and the priesthood. They believe that the church after immense pressure was forced to change doctrine. The fact is the doctrine has always been to allow all worthy males to hold the priesthood, a policy in the church prevented it from going to everyone. That policy was changed.

    There have been many changes in the church, and there will be many more changes in the church to come. However, the approach of ordain women isn't how the changes will come.

  • Lilalips Attleboro, MA
    May 30, 2014 6:11 a.m.

    This letter did a nice job of dancing around the elephant in the living room. The fact remains that women are virtually invisible in church leadership positions numerically. They are, however, workhorses in the church. Women are a tremendous resource everywhere in the web of the gospel except relating to church policy allowing women to influence church policy. IF women, by virtue of their ability to be mothers, are indeed the counterpoint, counterpart to the priesthood, then women don't need the priesthood to hold leadership positions in the church. They should be able to serve, speak, and lead quite ably. Deborah was a prophet. Yet, she did not hold the priesthood. Every time the missionaries give the discussion on prophets, I correct them on that point. It is simply not true that only men have been prophets. Women have too. Women have led Israel. You don't need to "have" the priesthood to be a prophet.

  • Uncle_Fester Niskayuna, NY
    May 30, 2014 6:11 a.m.

    This issue is one that cannot be won in the court of public opinion. It's a waste of time and resources to engage these issues with extremists and it's almost not worth the time to address them at all publicly.

  • On the other hand Riverdale, MD
    May 30, 2014 5:52 a.m.

    @Mack2828, for that matter, why did God send Samuel the Lamanite to deliver that message? Nephi, not Samuel, was the person faithful Nephites would have recognized as their prophet. Not saying Samuel wasn't a prophet, he just wasn't the Nephite equivalent of Thomas S. Monson.

    Mr. Otterson's letter doesn't provide any new doctrine or revelation; it just attempts to set the record straight regarding some points that have been raised recently in public forums, some of which involve him and his department specifically.

    We frequently hear from the prophet and other general authorities about the value and importance of women. I don't think it hurts to hear similar things from the Public Affairs Department.

  • Hawkeye79 Iowa City, IA
    May 30, 2014 5:47 a.m.

    Hi Mack2828,

    Check Elder Oaks most recent conference talk for an example of an apostle addressing some of the issues raised by these groups.

  • EternalPerspective Eldersburg, MD
    May 30, 2014 5:42 a.m.


    The Prophet and the Apostles do speak on this subject. Check out Elder Oaks in the last Priesthood General Conference. There are many others.

    The heart of the matter is this, will members of the Lord's Church follow patterns of popular culture or trust in leaders and doctrine they profess to believe? That is the real test in these troubled times. Will worldliness supplant the witness of truth the Saints receive in their hearts and minds?

    When the pertinent issues of the day that have risen from cumulative sins and corruption where people lose the ability of discerning good and evil, where should our trust reside? Should it be in the world or God? And if in God, do we trust His appointed leaders on the earth in these days?

    It is not always easy in these days to know what is truth or manmade fabrication. But, we can through prayer and a commitment to follow the Savior gain this knowledge over time even if we are unsure in the present. Of this I am certain...

  • aceroinox Farmington, UT
    May 30, 2014 2:22 a.m.

    I find your post quite interesting, especially in light of the fact that several of the speakers in April General Conference addressed "these matters" in their talks. If you're looking for a "Samuel the Lamanite on the wall" declaration, look up and watch the detailed discussion by Elder Dallin H. Oaks on "The Keys and Authority of the Priesthood".

    I note your comment that you "have nothing but respect for our senior church leaders", but you are "disappointed" in them and find them lacking in courage.

    As for any doubt that it represents the united view and feelings of our leaders, read the entire text of Brother Otterson's letter. He makes it quite clear that he and his department work under the direct supervision of two of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve, and that "it’s important to understand that the Public Affairs Department of the Church does not freelance. For Public Affairs to initiate or take a position inconsistent with the views of those who preside over the Church is simply unthinkable". 'Nuff said.

  • Globetrecker Arlington, va
    May 30, 2014 12:24 a.m.

    Fantastic, bold and clarifying. Perfect. And it ended with kindness. This letter represents the views of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as it was obviously approved before it went out. Any attempts to discredit Michael Otterson would be blatant and purposeful attacks on the Prophet and Apostles.

    "First it is important to understand that the Public Affairs Department of the
    Church does not freelance. For Public Affairs to initiate or take a position
    inconsistent with the views of those who preside over the Church is simply
    unthinkable, as anyone who has ever worked for the Church will attest.

    As managing director of the Public Affairs Department, I work under the direct
    supervision of two members of the Twelve apostles, two members of the
    Presidency of the Seventy and the Presiding Bishop, and alongside a remarkable
    and devoted staff of men and women.

    This group of senior General Authorities often refers matters of particular
    importance to other councils of men and women leaders, to the full Quorum of
    the Twelve Apostles and to the First Presidency for further discussion or decision.”

    Again, this letter represents the views of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

  • MapleDon Springville, UT
    May 30, 2014 12:02 a.m.

    So is this doctrine? Is this to be read over the pulpit? Help me understand why anything a "PR spokesperson" says matters. He's the marketing and advertising guy. I don't recall being asked to sustain him. Who was the marketing guy back in the days of Christ...or after?

    Shouldn't the Church be concerned only with following Christ, regardless of how it is perceived or accepted by the public? And why can't one of the Church's leaders come out and say something in regards to this issue, rather than have their marketing guy handle it?

    This is one of those moments that doesn't quite sit well with me.

  • vern001 Castle Rock, CO
    May 29, 2014 11:21 p.m.

    I agree that the letter was well-written, thoughtful, and sensitive to women's concerns. However, at a certain point I feel like the Church has listened enough and it is time for action. There is no reason why a woman can't be Sunday School president, or why a man can't be Primary president. Must all the clerks always be men? And why are women so few in number in ward councils? At our recent ward conference, not a single speaker was a woman. Between the Bishop, the Stake President, the High Council Speaker, and the youth speaker, everyone who spoke and sat on the stand was a man (except for the pianist and the chorister, of course). What kind of message is that sending to women? That we should be followers and not leaders. That we need to listen and learn rather than teach.

    I'm not a radical feminist. I don't feel the need to have the priesthood. But it would be nice for women to have more important roles in church and feel that their opinions are more valued.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    May 29, 2014 11:15 p.m.

    As long as you stay within the limits of 'non negotiable demands', which you don't get to define, everything will be fine.

  • Mack2828 Ft Thomas, KY
    May 29, 2014 10:48 p.m.

    I'm disappointed that we don't hear directly from the Prophet and Apostles on these matters. When it is done by a PR person it makes me wonder why the Prophet won't speak about it himself. I have nothing but respect for our senior church leaders but I wish in these troubled times they had the courage of a Samuel the Lamanite. He didn't send a PR spokesman up on the wall...he got up there himself so the people had no doubt that the message was from God through his Prophet.

  • OC Fan Orange County, CA
    May 29, 2014 9:47 p.m.

    I'm a man, so take these comments with a grain of salt. While my experience is limited, it includes service from stake presidency to Primary.

    As I read blogs discussing gender issues, the picture painted of women's dissatisfaction with the Church is a distinct minority view. Almost all men and women I know, while disagreeing on many issues, work together across the range of Church callings with mutual respect, unity, and selflessness. Our work together generally brings great satisfaction. Our heads are not in the sand; these gender issues are discussed openly in places like stake and ward councils, classes, and in the hallway between meetings.

    I can't change the doctrines relating to gay marriage or the priesthood or any other issue, but I can strive to live so that each person in my life feels complete acceptance and love of the Lord from me. Whether serving under the direction of the stake or the Primary president, I try to pattern my service on the Savior.

    And I'm inspired by others without regard to gender or other categories; my only limitations are my own failings.

  • birder Salt Lake City, UT
    May 29, 2014 9:20 p.m.

    I am very impressed with the kind, yet direct way that Mr. Otterson responds to critical matters affecting the LDS Church. His letter was excellent.

  • Beach girl Huntington Beach, CA
    May 29, 2014 7:58 p.m.

    Well said!

  • PPryor US, CO
    May 29, 2014 7:45 p.m.

    The letter is tasteful and fair, given the hostility Public Affairs has been shown recently in the blogs referred to in the letter.

    Maybe the most important clarification in the letter is that Public Affairs works under the direct supervision of the apostles, and that it would never issue a statement that cannot be taken as a statement of the church itself.

    I may not understand everything about church policy, but I'm willing to whole-heartedly support it. This letter gives me added confidence in the wisdom and inspiration of the leaders of the church.