About a month ago, I blogged about the Ordain Women movement. It's a group of women and male supporters that want the Priesthood to be available to all people, not just to men, as it currently is. Kate Kelley, the founder of ordainwomen.org, organized a meet-up. Those who support OW gathered in a park outside of Temple Square in Salt Lake City Utah. They stood in line to try and get tickets to the priesthood session.
I wasn't there (sadly), but I've read many blogs, twitters, and facebook accounts. I've seen the pictures. So I'm going to summarize what occurred, and list sources at the end.
The supporters gathered in the park and had an opening prayer. Then they passed out cards to carry the names of people that couldn't be there physically. They walked, as a group, to the Tabernacle where the session was being held. As a group, they stood in line to get tickets. They were turned away. They still stood in line. A spokeswoman came out to tell them that the session was for men only, and that they wouldn't be admitted.
Someone asked if there were available seats. They were told there were none. It was asked if they could sit in the overflow section. They were denied. Men who were waiting in line were told to pass the women. From what I've read, men either couldn't meet the eyes of the women in line (who by this time were crying), or smirked as they passed.
The women then would go up to the door, individually, and ask to be allowed in. Every one was denied. Then a garbage truck (a small one) drove up and parked in front of the door. After that, the women went back to the park and watched the session either streamed on their phones, or via radio.
The really ironic thing is that in a prior session (like 4 hours prior), an Apostle said that if someone shows up at the door of your building, let them in.
I was really upset when I found out what had happened. I figured if OW had 4 months to plan this mild protest, then the First Presidency had 4 months to figure out a diplomatic solution. I'm hoping the garbage truck was just a frustrated last minute solution.
Here's a first-person experience: (K-Bull via feministmormonhousewives.org)
"I was there tonight, and it was one of the most overwhelming feelings I’ve ever had. There is no way for me to explain how it felt to watch those men and boys walk past us and get tickets. No words. Yet I will be trying to explain it for anyone who will listen: It was demoralizing. It was heartbreaking. Women were crying. I gave a hug to a complete stranger because she was in tears. We couldn’t believe what was happening to us. To see it happen before our eyes was…seriously unbelievable. I am heartbroken."
Those who support OW say they will keep trying to get Priesthood rights. And honestly, I'm not sure where I stand with that. Clearly, it's a NO, at least according to "God" (through the First Presidency). Part of me thinks OW should just accept that. Another part of me feels that maybe, eventually, things will change. But all of me is sick to my stomach. I'm having a hard time figuring out how a church that claims to show "God's love" can treat people like this.
All this, though, has solidified where I stand. Even though I no longer consider myself Mormon, I hope things will change. I think women should have the priesthood, because I don't want to believe a loving God created gender roles. I would hope God would create people, with individual strengths/weaknesses, talents and desires. A God that sees the individual, not the genitalia.
I think it's a tragedy that women are told they should aspire to a "stay-at-home-mom". If that's the woman's choice, then that's fine. But being told over and over that this is the only real way is harmful. Not everyone will fit in this mold. There are tons of testimonies from people that have felt isolated and depressed because their family doesn't fit within the LDS ideal. There are stories from women that did marry young and bear lots of kids, and their husbands died or divorced, and they were left with kids and no marketable skills.
If OW does something in April, I think I will try to be there. I want to see where things are going. I just hope things don't get pushed too far, from either side.
Sources and interesting articles: