Today, the LDS Church-owned publication, the Deseret News, published an article about Ordain Women's upcoming protest at the priesthood session of general conference. The Church seems to be responding by changing the traditional delivery medium for the priesthood messages: instead of being shrouded in mystery and exclusiveness, the priesthood session will now be broadcast through a range of news media outlets just like the other sessions of conference.
Here's what I loved about this article: Joseph Walker is a fair-minded reporter. Kudos to him for a fair-minded approach. Kate Kelly -- yes, the founder of a group called "apostate" in the reader comments -- is not only quoted but given extensive space in the article to fully spell out her motivations and arguments. She's portrayed as the self-respecting, seeking and faithful member she wants to be seen as. This, in my opinion, is remarkable in itself. It really is a big deal for her to be given a voice in this outlet in such a respectful fashion. In addition, the explanation for why the women will not be given their own tickets is delivered by a woman: Ruth Todd, the Church's spokeswoman can deliver the message stripped of patronization, and critics of the Church's position may be disarmed by Ruth's practical approach.
Am I pleased that the priesthood session will be broadcast more widely? As a symbol, yes, I'm pleased that there will no longer be a spector of exclusion to those two hours every six months (an exclusion which I thought was particularly ironic since I as a woman could read the session online or in The Ensign without any barrier). However, it is nothing more than a symbol. I'm not particularly interested in attending the priesthood session or in the Ordain Women movement, but I will celebrate when my female community's own bi-annual gathering, the General Relief Society meeting, is no longer a "meeting" but the sixth official "session" of general conference. (Are "meetings" optional and "sessions" are not?) I'll celebrate when members of the Relief Society general board can speak at the RS session, not just the RS presidency and a member of the First Presidency. I'll celebrate when we can see that there are levels of female leadership beyond just the Relief Society presidency that are equivalent to the Seventy, rich layers of participating and vocal woman who are directing the future of the Relief Society as the Seventy are directing the future of the Priesthood organizations. Lastly, I'll celebrate when the Relief Society Session is broadcast as widely as the priesthood session so that husbands, fathers, brothers and sons can share the messages we hear, just as we now will be able to share in the messages they hear.
What I listened to today:
- The Killers' new song Shot at the Night
- Sleigh Bells' album Reign of Terror
- Edward Elgar's Serenade for Strings
- And a little Eurasure. It was blasted at work for good fun. Hello, freshman year of college.
What I'm Reading:
- Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain
- The Truth of Untrue Storytelling in Mormonism Worlds Without End