An Announcement from April Young Bennett

temple recommendAs a condition of renewing my temple recommend, my new stake president has required me to resign from the board of Ordain Women and, with the exception of my Ordain Women profile, take down posts I have written that raise the question of women’s ordination to the priesthood. I do not believe that temple recommends should be used as leverage to censor ideas or silence advocacy, but if I hadn’t complied, I would have missed my brother’s recent temple wedding. Choosing between following the dictates of my conscience and being present for a family wedding has been heartbreaking. In the end, I concluded that while others may take my place as an author or an advocate, no one can replace me in my role as my brother’s sister.

The 11 posts I have deleted were published here at the blog site of Exponent II, which has provided a safe forum for Mormon women to share their opinions since 1974. This is the first time an Exponent blogger has deleted posts due to the mandate of a priesthood leader. Some of the deleted posts literally raised the question of women’s ordination simply by posting an opinion poll question for Exponent readers, but others, such as Ordination is the Answer to Correlation, Confirming our Hope: Women and Priesthood, and Shouldn’t It Be Obvious? How Women Hold and Exercise the Priesthood Today, represent months of scripture study and analysis of church history and the teachings of living apostles and auxiliary leaders.

I feel that my work at Ordain Women and the Exponent has been spiritually enriching and compatible with temple recommend criteria. However, I recognize that under our current system of church governance, a woman’s assessment of her own personal worthiness carries less weight than the conclusions of male priesthood leaders. Local priesthood leaders have a great deal of authority to enforce their personal interpretations of worthiness standards, leaving women susceptible when leadership rotates to new men with differing opinions.

I am comforted when I consider that I am only one of many Mormon women, more every day, who have dared to voice concerns about women’s status in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS). Fortunately, most of the women who have participated in Ordain Women, the Exponent, and other forums for Mormon women have found that their local leaders are supportive or indifferent toward women who voice their opinions and advocate on behalf of women. Other voices will continue to be heard while mine is silenced.

I have committed not to replace the posts or rejoin the Ordain Women board while my temple recommend remains valid.  My stake president and I will revisit these conditions when it is time to renew, unless we come to a better resolution sooner. As a matter of personal integrity, I intend to keep my end of the bargain.

My stake president is a good man and I hope that as we get to know each other better, under less stressful circumstances, we will eventually resolve our differences. He has told me that during his long career as a lawmaker, he was able to have good relationships with people with whom he disagrees. As a lawmaker, he demonstrated egalitarian ideals, placing women in leadership positions and sponsoring legislation that ensured open, transparent government and freedom of the press. It saddens me to observe that he now feels obligated to censor me for expressing the opinion that women should participate in religious governance. I do not fault my stake president; his actions are just another symptom of global problems within church policy and culture. I hope that he will use whatever influence he has to work toward a healthier environment for Mormon women to bring their concerns and ideas to the brethren without fear of censure.

I continue to hope that the brethren are too wise to be annoyed or even threatened by female advocacy. Our scriptures teach that “he that is ordained of God and sent forth, the same is appointed to be the greatest, notwithstanding he is the least and the servant of all.” (D&C 50:26) Because of their stewardship as servants of all, and their sacred callings as special witnesses of our Savior Jesus Christ, I hope that the LDS First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve will eventually respond to the sincere pleas of women with genuine concern, welcoming women’s ideas, requests and suggestions as valuable to the kingdom of God on earth.

I bear testimony that Jesus Christ, our great exemplar, does not look upon women who express their desires to participate in his work as nuisances or threats, but “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.” (2 Nephi 26:33) While it may be difficult for some to empathize with the pain gender inequity brings to many women, Christ does understand us. He is “filled with mercy.” (Alma 7:12)


April Young-Bennett
April Young-Bennett
April Young-Bennett is the author of the Ask a Suffragist book series and host of the Religious Feminism Podcast. Learn more about April at


  1. This saddens me immensely because you are all of us. Though I have not been as public in my support of women’s ordination (still pondering what that would look like– i.e., should there be female priesthood and male priesthood with different functions?), my feminist and LBGT views are pretty well known to my stake president. It did not seem to affect his endorsement of my decision to become a temple worker, something I felt called to do this past year following the death of my husband. My temple recommend is coming up for renewal next month, and though I am not seriously worried about its renewal, I am only too aware of how subjective the process can be, depending on the views of a given priesthood leader.

    It is clear you are a woman of integrity and I salute you for the courage and the wisdom that went into making this decision. Your influence will continue to be felt even though your voice is temporarily silenced.

  2. I am so sorry about this, April. It saddens me that we are in a church where women have little recourse in such situations, that our thoughts and feelings can literally be turned against us and that we can be threatened with the things we hold most dear in order to conform to men’s ideals and wishes.

  3. I’m really sorry, April. This is absurd. I 100% agree with you that a temple recommend shouldn’t be used as leverage to shut people up when they say uncomfortable things. This is a symptom of a sick church.

      • Or, you know, her actions contribute to problems.

        If you have a personal issue with an organization, take it up to them, personally. But if you spread your issue and plant it in others, and then EXPECT to be given all the benefits and permissions within that organization, then well.. you’re an entitled baby and need to deal with the fact that not always will be as you want.

        I think most religions are sick. some are not. I use the word organization because I those principles apply to every organization. I myself am an atheist.

  4. April, I admire your courage and integrity. I very much agree with Cherie Pedersen that your influence will still be felt even though you’ve been censored. But I’m disgusted that this has happened at all, and I think it’s wrong. I thought the point of scripted questions in a temple recommend interview was that a person gives her own honest answers after reflecting on them, therefore declaring her own worthiness, not a process where a priesthood leader does detective work outside of the interview to determine someone’s worthiness. That’s really disturbing.

    I’ll continue to look forward to reading what you write at The Exponent, and am glad the Church has women like you pushing us toward fuller equality.

  5. This is heartbreaking. I’m so, so sorry. I’m selfishly resentful that the “Ordination is the Answer to Correlation” essay is no longer posted, it is one of the most satisfying pieces on women’s ordination in the Mormon church that I’ve ever read.

    I hope this is a temporary gag-order. And someday I hope this kind of thing isn’t so common and impossible to fight.

  6. I’m so sorry you were put in this position. It must have been horribly difficult to make that decision. Even though I don’t know you, I have loved your writing and it seems obvious to me that you have always written from a position of integrity.

    A huge AMEN to your last paragraph: Jesus welcomes us all, with our questions and our feelings and our belief in equality. I wish the church did too.

    God bless you, and God bless us, every one.

  7. April–I’m so sorry that this is happening. Sorry you had to make a painful choice, sorry you are being treated as a threat and an enemy, and (selfishly) sorry that your posts came down. Your posts are amazing because they are so thoroughly researched and relevant. We will get them

  8. Eloquent, moving and courageous. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your local leaders in finding a way to resolve this in a way that leaves everyone’s dignity and integrity intact. I trust your brother and family appreciate the sacrifice you are making on their behalf.

  9. I couldn’t help noticing the reorganization of your stake listed right under the reorganization of my stake in the Church news last week . I’m outraged that under one stake president your temple recommend is safe. *Boom* stake reorganized = censorship/blackmail by temple recommend. I’d like to think that with former politico Martin “Marty” Stephens as your new SP you would enjoy greater autonomy and protection of speech. For goodness sake HIS WIFE IS CAROLE STEPHENS! I can’t help but think that her voice is limited as a counselor in the General RS Presidency if her husband has censorship of female voices at the top of the New SP To Do List! Was your stake due for a change or is this like the Avraham Gileadi excommunication with GA’s releasing an uncooperative SP and then giving orders to the new SP?
    You’re very kind in your description of your SP and call for greater understanding. I’m hopeful that he is being controlled by others, but simultaneously disturbed that our GA’s as a body might be so fearful of voices from women. How terrible is it that I hope Marty Stephens is a puppet of the Church and not acting as an individual dominator and oppressor?
    It smacks of unrighteous dominion and reminds me of the comments I’ve heard on how Mitt Romney was OK with powerful women in state government, but anti-feminist as a SP. Free speech for non- Mormon women, oppression for LDS women.
    I’m so sorry April and frightened for the inevitable damage to Zion by the silencing of good women with vital information on how to strengthen and expand the stakes of our Zion tent. How can we ever hope to be a people of one heart and mind when good minds are not welcome and women remain very poor in voice among us? I’m deeply saddened.

    • As a politician who has been the Speaker of the House in Utah, Marty Stevens is one of the most powerful men in Utah. I’m so heartbroken to hear that he’s used his new power as a SP in the church to add to the temple recommend questions and while still allowing you, April, to affiliate with OW, has made you take down questions asking others what they think about it or otherwise make you miss your brother’s wedding. I just don’t get how this can be a proper use of power, and it certainly doesn’t look like servant leadership.

      And I can’t believe the place you’ve been put in, April, trying to keep your integrity intact while being there for your family. A friend reminded me: John Larson says it best, “The church takes things from you and then sells them back to you in exchange for time and money.” I wish that power was not used in these ways, for coercion and dividing of families at otherwise celebratory events.

  10. I feel to weep.

    I’m so sorry you were forced into this corner. I admire greatly the grace with which you’re handling it, at least in public. May God grant you in particular, at this tough time, patience to ride out the storm.

  11. What a sad and troubling development, April. Your account is a disappointing reminder of how vulnerable we all are to the personal point of view of our local ecclesiastical leaders. I’m sorry that your SP would attempt to muzzle your convictions in this way but am grateful to you for sharing your story here.

  12. This makes me sick. I can’t believe he’s asking you to remove posts, as though you’re not allowed to think through these issues in writing and also be temple-worthy. It’s disgusting.

    LUCKILY… nothing is ever really gone from the internet! Behold, a list of April’s removed posts that are found in the internet archives:

    Mother in Israel, Judge in Israel

    Shouldn’t it be obvious? How Mormon Women Hold and Exercise the Priesthood Today

    Conference Talk Makeover (Thanks A Lot, Ensign)

    Confirming Our Hope: Women and Priesthood

    The Spirit of Fear

    Will You Fast for Women’s Ordination?

    Ordination is the Answer to Correlation

    Two Poll Questions About Ordaining Women

    Mormon Women’s Ordination Conversation with Animation

    Priestesshood Session

    It’s Not About the Pants

    • I thought that no additional questions were to be added to the temple recommend questions. I think your stake president is out of line for adding conditions for your temple recommend.

      April, I am very saddened by this event.

    • So sorry, April, to read you were silenced and had to draw back.

      Especially because it is so opposite to what Jesus Christ stands for: to have your free will and learn through experience. Satan had his plan based on obidience. I don’t think Jesus stands behind SP decisions, but rather notices that His church is misused for narrowminded patriarchal thinking whom created excuses to rule over a person instead of celebrating wisdom, good experiences and freedom.

      However I do think you made your choice with good intention. You can be replaced .. and thanks so much to you Liz: never removed !!!!!! HUG ! … while as a sister there is only one you and I think you made the right decision to put the rest on hold, but went to be with your brothers wedding ! To me I see it as a momentum … you can allways return to what you did for OW, it won’t be vanished ! ;o)

      I’ve got easy speaking, I was a mormon from my 13th till 26th, 1976-1989, I was the only member in the family, so, would never face a decision like yours. However, looking at 2015 women still have to face this kind of treatment in church I am glad I left instead of waiting for better times. This confirms I have made the right decision back than. How strange it might sound: Thank you for making me realize !

      No one can imprison your wisdom ! How great the abuse, how much your body might be held back, left out or kept on it’s place like a puppet on a string, your visions, your insights are yours and roaming free ! You might be silenced for a while, but your thoughts will break down bounderies, for patriarchy has to face they can’t hold down the 100th monkey : change is about to come ! I hope you will find comfort in this ! …. as I hope you had a wonderfull celebration of your brothers wedding ! :o)

      Adrie de Jong
      The Netherlands

  13. I think her Stake President is about to get a rather compelling lesson on the power of the Streisand effect…..

    So sorry April. <3

  14. First, in full disclosure, I am not a supporter of OW; I read these blogs because of my concern for friends who are associated with the group in hopes that I can understand their point of view and that I can persuade them to turn away from it. With that said, I think it would be very wise for anyone involved with OW to read Elder James E Faust’s Conference talk from October 1993. (Keep in mind that it was given immediately after the “September 7 purge”.) In it he quotes exactly what the Church defines as apostasy. One paragraph warns that priesthood leaders who cover up the sins of others who should be disciplined will be held accountable by the Lord. He also states that local priesthood leaders are expected to be loyal to the General Authorities. He goes on at length saying how women in the Church are valued and should be treated. He also states that those who oppose the Church leaders lose there opportunity to be influential in important matters. I think all members of the Church would benefit from reviewing this very closely, regardless of which side we are on concerning this issue. Please read it in its entirety.

    With all that in mind, are we to expect some local priesthood leaders will be released for not “playing ball”? I don’t know. Should a bishopric or stake presidency just rubber stamp temple recommends? I wouldn’t if I were in that position; they are to be judges in Israel, if they know something is not right, I expect them to pronounce a righteous judgment. Frankly, I think this stake president was lenient in giving a temple recommend but allowing her to keep a profile on the OW website. The question asked in the interview is do you “support, affiliate with, or agree ” groups that might be considered apostate. A profile on OW’s website certainly hits all three points. The only question that remains is, “Is OW an apostate group?”

    • Heather, I think is very kind of you to read this blog only to try to understand friends that affiliate with it. My issue with what you are saying is that things do not remain the same in our church, they evolve and change. One day, even if there won’t be women’s ordination, there will be other changes. Where are all these brethren, bishops, leaders and members like yourself going to find peace for their attitudes towards others? Regardless of our ideas and imperfections, aren’t we all the body of Christ? I believe so and excommunicated or not, silenced or not, he will ask all these judges of Israel and all of us as members “what did you do when you saw one of mine hungry, undressed and sick?”. I guess all of us will have to find an answer to that question. I hope He will accept all of them but I also doubt it.

      • I am completely at peace with how I treat others, even those who disagree with me. And I am confident that my local priesthood leaders and the Brethren follow the council that Elder Faust voiced in how women should be treated and listened to in the Church; I see this in countless ways every week. Yes, some men need to change- that is why Elder Faust said what he said, and also why the Proclamation on the Family includes the line, “Those who abuse spouses or offspring will be held accountable…” Yes, we believe in continuing revelation, but in general, the Church doesn’t need to change, we do.

  15. I am a former member of the LDS church. I was born in the covenant and became a devout member; I even received my endowments and served a mission. I have been loosely following the Ordain Women movement (oh, how I wish it had been around when I were younger, as the rampant sexism in the church is among my major reasons for leaving!). There’s another larger question that I haven’t yet seen anybody else ask: Why stay? Why voluntarily stay in a religion that promotes sexism (among other things)?

    I truly don’t mean that to be offensive in any way. I ask it sincerely. Why not just leave? If you believe in the biblical teachings of Christ, then why not join another Christian church where women are in positions of authority? Or if you believe in the veracity of the Book of Mormon, why not choose another BoM-based sect, such as the RLDS or FLDS? I would love to see references to any posts that might be out there, if this question has already been asked and received some feedback.

    And I’d like to add my testimony: I assure you, my life has only improved since I made my choice to leave the LDS church. I live life to the fullest, without fear of imperfection and daily guilt. And it is awesome. And I am happy. 🙂

    • Andi, surely you don’t think someone leaving the LDS church due to sexism would consider joining the FLDS church where women in polygamous relationships have it much, much worse. If you think women are censored here, it’s nothing to what those women go through.

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but I stay because Mormonism is my tribe, because I really do believe Pres. Monson is a prophet, and because I believe God has the ability to redeem even our deeply flawed church.

      I am glad you are happy. I no longer think being LDS is for everyone, and I fully support the agency of each individual to determine their own life’s path.

    • Andi, surely you don’t think someone leaving the LDS church due to sexism would consider joining the FLDS church where women in polygamous relationships have it much, much worse. If you think women are censored here, it’s nothing compared to what those women go through.

      I can’t speak for anyone else, but I stay because Mormonism is my tribe, because I really do believe Pres. Monson is a prophet, and because I believe God has the ability to redeem even our deeply flawed church.

      I am glad you are happy. I no longer think being LDS is for everyone, and I fully support the agency of each individual to determine their own life’s path.

    • There was an interview done in a radio program – I think This American Life – of a devout Catholic nun who served her whole life in the Catholic church. And the interviewer asks her, how can you stay a part of this church (referring to the cover up of child abuse done by priests). And this woman replied, it’s my church. They should leave.

      I wish I could find the original recording so you could hear the iron in her voice, and her personal story of loss. My struggle with sexism in the church always ends with her words now. So yes, I struggle with the inequality and acts of injustice (my love to the author). But in the end it is my church. I love it and believe it is true. Why should I be the one to leave it?

      • But if you believe it’s true, you also believe the old white men on the hill are passing things along straight from God. Anyone who doesn’t understand this missed a few seminary classes. Seriously. You really can’t have it both ways in the LDS church. It’s not a la carte theology. It just boggles my mind seeing otherwise intelligent and talented women who somehow ignore this VERY BASIC concept.

        If your sole purpose in supporting OW is to disrupt a sexist organization, then definitely keep going for it. More power to you. But if you pretend you are honestly seeking to assert “truth,” you really need to reassess some basic logic principles. It’s really like a woman who won’t let go of the guy who rejects her while crying, “But he’s my soul mate! If only he’d change! Blah, blah, blah.” Yeah, we’ve all either been there or had friends who were her. At first it’s sad, but after a year it really is pathetic.

        Move on. I don’t say this as an adversary, I say this as someone who is no longer LDS and–holy fetch!–doing fine. This life is short. There are definitely more productive uses of our time and talents.

      • Jenny,

        I am not alone in believing that God can lead a church through imperfect – even clumsy – people. And that the truth can endure through hurtful and confusing times. Any student of our religion should know that we do not believe in an infallible leadership.

        Please, let’s be constructive toward one another. Kind. Polite. I would not presume to demean your life choices – they have, after all, led you to greater happiness. Please do not do so to mine.

  16. “My stake president is a good man … I do not fault my stake president; his actions are just another symptom of global problems within church policy and culture. ”

    How can you justify saying that your stake president is a good man? A good man will not ask a woman to subjugate her personal identity, her personal voice in order to conform to his idea of thinking. A good man will not ask a woman to choose between her family and her ideals. A good man will support a woman.

    How is he not at fault for his actions? He has the power to act as an individual agent and as such should be held accountable for his decision. Sure he is a leader in an organization that is deeply flawed in how it administers to woman, but he can be an agent for change. He has demonstrated that in his work career he has the ability to treat woman as equals. He needs to demonstrate that same level of professionalism and equality in his religious position. A man who behaves differently when in different environments lacks integrity, and to me, that does not make a man good.

    How? How is it that in the stories I read of women who have experienced this type of ecclesiastical abuse do these woman continue to write that their “leaders are good men”? In order to for the continuance of religious coercion to continue there needs to be a dynamic of men who will manipulate obedience and woman who will continue to call these men good for doing so.

    April, my heart aches for you and I’m angry. Super angry that this is your reality. I’ve enjoyed your writings and the work you have done for Ordain Women. I know you made a choice to attend your brothers wedding and I would have probably done the same. However, please do not call write that your stake president is a good man, because this action clearly shows that he is not.

    • You are placing judgment on a man you obviously do not know. Placing judgment on someone’s interpretation of the accounts. The fact is every human is flawed. We agreed to come to this earth, to take the assignment placed before us and to make choices and to receive the consequences for those choices. We are guaranteed absolution when we fail, if, and only if, we go through the repentance process.

      April is upset with the circumstances that she created for her life. She has aligned herself with those who do not adhere to the Gospel principals and do not support our male leaders, simply because they believe they can do a better job. I would like to know how that could be when they are shirking their own responsibilities as women in the church.

      April resents having to choose between what is right and what is wrong. Her decision wasn’t the right one. She may have been able to go to the temple (one last time perhaps?) but the problem isn’t going away. She has now thrown back in the face of the Stake President creating a whole new problem for her. Maybe this was her intent? Maybe she felt slighted and wanted her 15 minutes of fame?

      It is of my opinion that the women of OW are cutting of their noses in spite of their faces.

  17. I started getting tears in my eyes when I read this: “In the end, I concluded that while others may take my place as an author or an advocate, no one can replace me in my role as my brother’s sister.” Your brother is a lucky man.

    But no one should have to make that choice. The truth is, you are irreplaceable with your unique gifts for clarity and courage in advocating for women. Those gifts shine through again in this beautiful and painful post. Thank you, April, for everything. Also, what Andrea R-M said about the roar.

  18. I’m so saddened to read this, not because you complied with this ridiculous “request”, but that it can happen at all. Nothing ticks me off more than unrighteous dominion. And clearly, this fits the bill.

  19. Love and prayers, April. I’m sorry that this has happened. What you have been doing in your advocacy for women in the Church has had a big impact on me and on many others. Thanks!

  20. This is a terrible injustice, April. I am so sorry about this. It does say a lot about your stake president, though. I wonder, having heard he once considered running for Governor, perhaps having retired from politics, and with his wife in a position of political power within the church, perhaps he is really just entering the world of church politics in hopes of obtaining a “higher” calling in the church.

    Even good men can have big egos, so perhaps he is trying to gag Ordain Women -through you- in order to make himself feel more righteous/important (especially should he compare himself to his wife’s church position).

    Like I said, it says much more about him than you. It also speaks significantly on your dedication to the church, your family and Christ in what you have been through to attend this wedding. Your family and the church are lucky to have you. something

  21. What would LDS life be like if the church didn’t use our loved ones and family as tools in a game of emotional extortion?

    What is the value of obedience, testimony and loyalty if they need to be coheresed?

  22. In my previous post I referenced Elder Faust’s Conference talk from October 1993. In it he quoted the definitions of apostasy from Handbook 1. One of those definitions is “persist in teaching as Church doctrine information that is not Church doctrine after being corrected by their bishops or higher authority”. I want to ask, did this interview also include “correction” from the stake president? (it sounds like it did to me.) If April were to repost these essays after the wedding, or teach other similar things, would she find herself being summoned to a disciplinary council? Does she even know the answer to this herself? If not, I suggest she ask for clarification.

    I say this out of love, hoping that you will understand clearly where you stand so that you are not blindsided after painting yourself into a corner where more than a temple recommend is at stake. It seems to me that if the stake president has said, “these things you have taught are wrong”, if you teach them again, you will be excommunicated. Some bishops or stake presidents might not come right out and say it because it would obviously come across as a threat to many. Please see it as the warning it really is when a priesthood leader tells you something you are teaching is wrong.

    • Your comment is not of love. It is critical and presumptive. It is the foundation of gossip and disrespectful to all parties involved.

    • Clearly all men who are abusive in the many forms that can take, are justified in doing so because they “love” the people who they are abusing/correcting, and as women not eligible for the revelation that only comes through priesthood authority, we should bow to the interpretation of a talk, that is a particular favorite of a person who has admitted that their only purpose in being on the site is to stop the folly of thinking that women should be allowed to say what they think.

      Did I miss any of the dog whistle cues Heather 70?

  23. I don’t personally feel a need to be ordained, but I do feel that women need to be better heard and represented. We are not all SAHMs nor do we need to be, nor are we without useful, constructive suggestions from our own points of view. I was touched by your concluding testimony.

  24. This is quite disturbing. I’m definitely going to read all the banned questions/thoughts/opinions of April Young Bennett.

    I’m happy she will be at her brother’s wedding.

  25. I’m sorry that you have to go through such a mess. I have appreciated your insights. I hope that you realize that even though your posts were removed, your voice was heard.

  26. I agree with Heather and I am so concerned by what I hear and see. I also think that Andi is right. If you don’t believe, don’t stay. Don’t be closer members who come onto sites to discuss your dismay and say, “look, I have a link to this erased article”. Be who you want to be. Out in the open. If you truly have a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and you have a testimony of the purpose of prophets and believe that the prophet will never lead us astray then there shouldn’t be a problem. President Monson, the first presidency and the 12 Apostles are amazing, caring individuals who love the Saviour and serve faithfully. You talk about these men as if they are separate from the mission of the Saviour yet they are not. This is His church and He is at the head. These men stand as His witnesses and always have. We are told in the scriptures that when the Lord wants us to know of His will for His church it is given through His prophets. Is it not enough that you are given the right to bear and rear the children of our Father, one of the most sacred of callings? That women are given such high praise and spoken of with tenderness and men are chastised and rebuked and reminded over and over ancient scripture and an modern times that the daughters of our Father in Heaven are to be treated with love, tenderness and respect, even the way Mary, the mother of the Saviour was treated. And those of you who have been through the temple, do you not pay attention? Of course we have priesthood duties. Anyone who is intelligent and pays attention understands that the priesthood is present during temple sessions. You have been given SO MUCH, Daughter’s of God… are you that ungrateful? Are you that greedy? Must everything be done on your timetable? Do you not understand that yes, it is ok to ask questions, to ponder and to learn…but what is your end game? If you truly believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Plan of Salvation then you understand that we don’t receive answers to everything here on this Earth. We receive what is needed. And you also understand that in order to grow into who we need to be that requires a large dose of humility in order to be teachable and to recognise the spirit. You can’t demand things of Heavenly Father, sisters. That isn’t how it works. You also can’t demand Presidnt Monson demand, or even ask it of Heavenly Father. So to say, going back to a comment I read before posting, that you won’t leave because Mormonism is your ‘tribe’ and you believe in certain aspects…either you believe or you don’t. It’s tied together. Temple recommend questions haven’t changed. They ask if you affiliate or sympathise with certain groups. They aren’t doing ‘detective’ work on you. You put yourselves out in the open. And for you to get online and secretly point fingers at them is doing the same thing that you say they are doing to you. It’s wrong. Somewhere, sometime, you knew that. You have covered it up with so many layers of self-righteousness in the name of being offended, wronged and hurt that you have forgotten. You have forgotten that you chose HIM. You chose to follow HIM and to return home. You are now mothers in Zion, raising children that have also chosen, in these last days to follow the Saviour and to return home. Valiant sons and daughters of our Father who you have stewardship over. What are you going to do, sisters???

    • “If you truly have a testimony of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ and you have a testimony of the purpose of prophets and believe that the prophet will never lead us astray then there shouldn’t be a problem”

      Actually, I think this idea of prophetic infallibility is rather bizarre, and hopefully not shared by most members. It’s very rude of you to try to push people out of the Church for not sharing your strange beliefs.

      • Now I completely understand the problem. Apparently many of you don’t know basic LDS theology. Google “prophet will never lead astray.” I’ll wait…. There, got it? This is one of the fundamental tenets of LDS theology.

        It’s very simple. If you believe the LDS church is true, then you believe the old white men on the hill tell it like God wants it. If you believe that the old white men on the hill are doing something wrong, well, ergo, ipso facto [and whatever other cute Latin phrase you want to add], the LDS church is NOT true. It really is that simple. And I say this as one who understands how hard is it to make the break. I was a 100% honest-to-goodness, BYU-attending RM excited about the next steps in my eternal progression. I realize how hard it can be to reconcile one’s beliefs with actions.. It took me years to work through and it hurt like heck. Actually, no–it hurt like hell. No reason to minimize it. (And yeah, I had to wait outside during my brother’s wedding, and my other brother’s wedding, and all of my close friends’ weddings.)

        Look, I get it. It’s our culture, our family, our heritage. It really does have a lot to commend. But let’s all put on our grown up pants and realize how unintelligent we appear to be when we cry “I want to stay because it’s true….well, I mean, except the fundamental parts that are core to the theology that I don’t believe!”

        Don’t be afraid to follow your inner voice. Maybe you’ll stick around the church. If that’s your destiny, more power to you. Maybe you’ll find something else. But by all means, please at least understand the basic premises of the organization you’re trying to hold onto.

      • And thank you for clarifying the complete disconnect from rational thought that apparently is at the root of much the angst here. It is sad and very unfortunate.

        If people are trying to change LDS Inc. simply because it is a sexist, racist organization, then great, more power to you! Do it! However, anyone who claims to believe the church is true while at the same time ignoring and/or attacking the key underpinnings of that supposed “truth” (and even going so far as claiming that the key underpinnings are NOT necessary foundations of the purported “truth”) is severely lacking in rudimentary life and logic skills. In that regard, it is a simple if-then/conditional (or “black and white,” as you prefer) statement.

        I truly love hunter green
        she said.
        However, it must become
        a deep dark red.

        Feel free to attack away. I’m out so won’t be responding further. And by the way, my world is saturated with gradations of grey. Interestingly, I’m guessing most theorists would contend that the black and white, all-or-nothing thinking belongs to those who maintain–in spite of all their leanings otherwise–that the LDS church is true, at a sad and extreme cost to their mental and social well-being.

        Good luck all in your respective quests!

      • I’m glad that you’ve found so much happiness in leaving, but it’s unfortunate that you’ve come back only to heap scorn on those of us who might try to stay and make things better.

      • ‘@Ziff, it actually is shared by most members. We believe in the Book of Mormon and the King James Version of the Bible, both of which testify of Jesus Christ. It’s actually a comforting things for us as members to know that the prophet receives directions of how to lead and guide the church. It is set up the same way Christ himself organized it while he was on the Earth, with 12 apostles. There is nothing bizarre, rude, or unkind about it. There is no profession of being infallible, as the only infallible person to walk the Earth, we believe, was Christ. My comments were not meant to be unkind. I do not judge this sweet sister. In fact, my heart hurts that she finds herself in this quandry. My statement, however, is valid. If you truly have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and a secure foundation, then questions such as the one she is dealing with aren’t an issue. They just aren’t. Fact is fact. It isn’t rude. I find it interesting that you can take my comments, as I knew someone would, and turn them into something ugly or confrontational against me. I will give you the benefit of the doubt that those are not your true colors, and were, perhaps only a defense mechanism or the result of a bad day. When I make comments online I always try to do so with thought behind my words and the person to whom I am addressing in my mind’s eye.

        And let’s be clear, this sister has not been kicked out of any church. She has her agency, just as I assume you do, and knows full-well what her choices mean. I wish her well.

      • Thanks ever so much for giving me the benefit of the doubt, Marcie. I’ll never dare to read rudeness, nastiness, lecturing, or hatred into your love-filled comments again!

      • What? Who has April encouraged to leave the church and where? She has encouraged us by example to study the scriptures and attend the temple. I’m clueless as to where you’re getting your church-leaving encouragement from.

      • Tara,
        Wow. I find it so interesting that there is always the highest level of anxiety/scorn/hate/defensive behaviour among those who have left the church or those who are undecided…
        I would never, and I will never encourage anyone to leave the church. Ever. It breaks my heart. I have had to fight for my own testimony, I wasn’t born into a family full of worthy priesthood holders, having access to father’s blessings and missionary farewells, etc etc. I have been through my own very dark times, and the answers I have received are very personal and very real and I cannot deny them. Nor will I ever. To do so would be, to me, to give up on it all. Everything my ancestors fought for and before. My grandfather choosing to be baptised in the sea in Denmark, leaving his home in Aarhus to find a life here. Another grandfather who died crossing the Mississippi in February when his Uncle Brigham’s horses fell through the ice and my grandma came alone with her 18 month old after spending the winter in Winter Quarters. So what? Was that all just a fun game? We just give up now? Or, Tara, is there actually still a Jesus? Do we still believe in God? And what part does he play? Are we his children? Is the temple really a place where we can be sealed forever to those we love or is that all a part of the farce? All the prophets, from Isaiah, Abraham, Moses, Lehi, Nephi, Mormon, Joseph, Brigham?? David O. Mc Kay. President Kimball? Thomas Monson? Are they all a joke? Really? And I’m asking in honesty.

        April knows what she believes and what she doesn’t believe. She understands the questions in the temple interviews. She is a grown woman. I’m not, nor have I ever made anyone leave the church. I don’t feel that my comments were biting or unkind in anyway. They contained facts. For me, after everything that I have been given, and when I look at the world around me, the beauty of the birth of my children, the feelings I experience when I attend church, when I pray, when I attend the temple, when I listen to the prophet and apostles speak, when I read my scriptures, serve and live try to be a good person every day…I cannot deny that. We have been told that things like this would happen before the second coming. You can read about it in the Bible as well as the Book of Mormon. It is a fact. Either you believe or you don’t. I have many friends who are of different faiths and Iove them dearly and respect them, but they also respect me.

        Tara, your comment was very glib. I hope that April is able to continue with her membership of that is what makes her happy.

      • Well, except that you did encourage people to leave the Church. Read your previous comment.
        As to the remainder of your questions, I’m not sure what you are on about. Has anyone said that there is no Jesus? That we don’t believe in God? That the prophets are a joke? I am 100% sure that I didn’t say that and I can’t recall anyone on this post stating that, so I don’t know where that came from. If that is the assumption you are making about commenters here or about April, perhaps you want to engage a little more fully, because I’ve gotten the exact opposite impression.
        I hope you understand that the personal witnesses and revelations you have received are just that. Personal. They are yours and don’t actually address or affect the witnesses and revelations received by others.
        It’s nice for you that the world is black and white, that you either believe or you don’t, but for many, many people, it is much more nuanced than that, and therefore requires us to do what the Lord has asked us to do, that is, ask, search, learn for ourselves. Your testimony is yours. Mine is mine. And you are not welcome to judge it, nor to tell me (or anyone else) that “if you don’t believe, then don’t stay.”

    • One day, many who think they know better, will come to a realization that they have sadly wasted their lives away. I know I did, but will be eternally grateful to my Heavenly Father for preserving my life long enough to be able to try to make up for some of that lost and wasted time, and to patient and loving family members and friends who stuck by me and allowed me to find out for myself what I needed to.

      As I look back on those wasted years, I see nothing but counterfeit and superficial happiness. My joy is full since returning to full activity in the church and serving in any capacity I have been blessed to serve in, for nigh on 40 years now.

      Marcie, thank you for articulating your thoughts, feelings, and testimony so well. I concur. Thank you.

      I know with all my heart that the church is true and that President Monson is the Lord’s living prophet today, and I sustain him, his counselors, and the Quorum of the 12 one-hundred percent.

      • “One day, many who think they know better, will come to a realization that they have sadly wasted their lives away.”

        Oh, I so agree. The Church will eventually turn away from its sexist practices, and the people who have devoted their lives to defending sexism will find themselves having a strangely empty feeling.

  27. April, my thoughts are with you. I’m so sorry you were put in this horrible position by your stake president. When will our leaders understand that Mormonism is stronger, more robust, and more mature when it can accommodate a variety of viewpoints and perspectives?

    • Caroline, we reap what we sow. There are consequences for our actions and we don’t get to pick and choose our consequences for said actions. The Stake President didn’t put April in the position to choose; she did. Our leaders know exactly how strong the Gospel of Jesus Christ is. Remember, “we are in the world, not of the world.” Do you understand this concept? It is amazing to see the changes in the world; we are cautioned regarding these changes within our own blessings to be ever mindful of them. Satan is working his hardest not to destroy the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but to destroy those who follow him. Be careful and choose your fights wisely, you could be justify yourself right out of the kingdom of God.

      • I agree, Ocean. April’s SP is misrepresenting Jesus and acting as a spiritual abuser. This will come back to him, hopefully sooner rather than later.

      • Are our leaders the only ones capable or allowed to know how strong the Gospel is? I was under the impression that we are all able to have that knowledge if we seek after it. I’m not a blind follower, are you?

      • Tara, where did I indicate that I thought our leaders were the only ones to know how strong the gospel was? As for being a “blind follower” I have no idea why you demean another with that response. Do you understand what having faith actually means?

      • “There are consequences for our actions and we don’t get to pick and choose our consequences for said actions. The Stake President didn’t put April in the position to choose; she did. Our leaders know exactly how strong the Gospel of Jesus Christ is.”

        This seemed to indicate that April, or anyone else for that matter, isn’t as aware as “our leaders”. Perhaps I misread you.

      • You need to read the comment from Caroline, “When will our leaders understand that Mormonism is stronger, more robust, and more mature when it can accommodate a variety of viewpoints and perspectives?” I was informing her that our leaders are already there.

      • Ah. Perhaps the misunderstanding occurred because I do not equate the word Mormonism with meaning the Gospel. To me, Mormonism is the institution, the church and the culture. The Gospel is just that, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
        I cannot speak to what Caroline actually meant.

      • Tara, the LDS church embodies the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are not actually “Mormon’s,” we are Latter Day Saints. You know, when I was younger, and I’m not that old now, during Sunday School or Young Women’s, we were taught that one day, in our lifetime, that there would be “wars and rumors of wars,” not just around the world, but within our own nation, within our faith. We were taught correct principals and that there would be some that would “let go of the rod” because they didn’t want to follow the guidelines set down by the leader of our church…..and no, they were not referencing our local leaders or even our Prophet, they were meaning Christ, who is after all, at the helm of this church. It is his Church, he decides. He has given examples throughout the New Testament of how he wanted his church to be. We, the LDS, have patterned his church, restoring his church, using his instructions. Now it saddens me to witness this turmoil, but those of us who believe in the Gospel principles, who have faith and continue to hold on to the iron rod, have been promised blessings for doing so. Ordained Women go against the Gospel, not just because they feel they have a right to be a Bishop, but because they go against Christ and his teachings.

      • Yes Tara I have. The slogan, “Ordain Women aspires to create a space for Mormons to articulate issues of gender inequality they may be hesitant to raise alone. As a group we intend to put ourselves in the public eye and call attention to the need for the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood” says it all. There is no need for women in the LDS Church to hold the priesthood. Tell me please what would filling this desire bring a woman in the LDS Church.

        • “There is no need for women in the LDS Church to hold the priesthood.”

          Ocean, I’d like to invite you to my life for a month. You can drive with me for 1 hour and 45 minutes to attend a branch where no males over the age of 12 show up, so we can’t have sacrament. We sometimes still sit and “play” Relief Society– but sometimes we just cancel that as well. Then you and I can drive 12 hours to attend the temple. Its a smaller temple, with only 5 sessions a day, 3-4 days a week… and still, those sessions are cancelled- even when we call to make a booking to do family temple ordinance work weeks in advance– because not enough men could be bothered to show up. Then we can drive back, and slowly visits the graves of church members that are still awaiting dedication because men are so busying doing “leadership” they can’t be bothered about the work of the dead. (Did I mention the branch president I had that showed up for social events but skipped or left church early on Sundays?)

          Then perhaps you can plan a road trip with April’s Stake President’s wife, Carole Stephens, and we’ll visit the area in Honduras where she described in her talk, Do We Know What We Have, about how the sisters there did not have regular access to the priesthood. Ms. Stephens’ husband missed the point of her talk– he does not appreciate that April is giving a voice to women like me, who don’t live in North America, who don’t have regular access to priesthood (i.e. Mormon MEN). Women like the women in Honduras, who have a testimony of the gospel and of the book of Mormon and want to serve Christ– yet cannot because we are limited to American traditional “roles.” We want and NEED priesthood.

          I am not saying you are– but you sound like a richly spoilt American Californian with changes of clothes in the closet, a grocery with daily fresh produce, a temple within 30 minutes’ drive, a car and an ocean view. Your view is VERY different to mine, ocean or not. But still, please feel welcome in my home. You’ll be loved and appreciated, but you’ll also need to roll your sleeves up and get to work. If you have priesthood keys you can bestow with me, we’d get even more work done.

      • Ocean, if you haven’t gleaned from reading the posts on this blog and ordain women what these women feel would be gained by ordination, then I don’t think I can explain it any more clearly. I think they’ve done a pretty good job at it.

      • Spunky, It saddens me that the men in your area are not devout. What you are describing happens often. My heart goes out to those who are without the priesthood in their own home…..mine included. But I’m not sorry that I do not support women holding the priesthood. I grew up in a home where the gospel was taught and my father holding the priesthood. My parents too had to travel to the temple closest to them and they would be gone for three days. Both of my brothers have left the church. My sister in laws left to raise their children alone in the gospel because my father passed away. I can tell you right now that all of those children respect the trials that occurred for them and not one woman in my family feels that because they did not have direct access to the priesthood that they should have that honor. We all have the power of the priesthood. You are more than welcome in my home also, and I work hard and expect the same from those around me. You know, even those you feel have more than you have similar trials, my father always said, it wasn’t the trial that was the hardest, it was the decision how to handle it.

        Yes Tara, they have. I still don’t agree. The Gospel is led by Jesus Christ, he is the decision maker. Through out our history, there have been times when women did not have men around but they called on Heavenly Father through prayer, and accessed there priesthood blessings through him. To think you don’t have the priesthood power with you is sad. I don’t believe that this will change.

        • Ocean,

          I do not mean to hijack your conversation with Tara, but I have been following along. I wanted to share another perspective with you. Many of us do not know that women should be ordained to the priesthood, but we see a lot of problems with the way men and women interact (and fail to interact) in the church. We see our sons have more access to resources and more responsibilities than our daughters. We are uncomfortable when young girls sit in private conference with grown men discussing sexual matters. We think women should not be judged solely by men in priesthood councils. We think women should be able to serve as sunday school presidents and ward clerks, as we did in the past. We wish more women had access to the church handbook, more input in church councils, and more visible positions of authority – in part so that when our daughters look up at the stand, they see a place for themselves there. We want lessons on sunday discussing the lives and teachings of great women in our church – like Eliza R Snow, Belle Spafford, Chieko Okazaki. We do not like it when a woman who has many responsibilities is defined only by her spouse – such as the Bishop’s wife or the Mission President’s wife.

          I sympathize with the ordination movement, because it is such an easy and wonderful answer to gender inequality. If women had the priesthood, women would have a voice in disciplinary councils, and in counseling young girls on sexual matters, and their teachings would be incorporated in sunday lessons, and they could serve in any calling that needed to be filled. I guess this is just my long way of asking you – do you see any problems with gender inequality in the church? If not, have your daughters or sisters felt uncomfortable with the status quo? If not, can you understand why some of us want change?

          If so, those of us who do not know if ordination is the right thing need to find answers of our own. Either way I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

          • Hijack away, Rachel. I agree with you. I am not totally comfortable with the idea of female ordination, myself, though I have no issues with those who desire it and were it to become the policy of the church, I would lose my discomfort quickly, as I suspect it is simply culturally ingrained in me.
            But, I agree with everything that you said.
            Girls have very few role models, as posted in another post here on this blog (Heavenly Mother, what?, and female ordination would certainly help that as well.
            And, I have received abuse at the hands of a SP during my interview for my marriage/sealing. It was horrifying, and I’m pretty sure would not have happened had I not been alone in the room with him discussing my (pretty damn absent) sexual misconduct. Things need to change, one way or another, and female ordination would certainly be an “easy” way to do it.

          • I’m sorry to hear that Tara. I agree with your sentiment as well – I would also lose my discomfort quickly (yesterday!) if ordination were to occur.

      • Rachel, I empathize with the women that feel that there is a problem. I have been the rebellious child within my family. All of them thought I would be the one to leave the church because of my perceptions; they were a lot like those voiced here. Fortunately my wise father, who was more patient with me than I deserved, was able to instill words of wisdom that remind me everyday of who I am and why I am here. To be honest, it seems you think your identity would be lost being known as the wife of “so n so.” I don’t think it’s that big of a deal, (while I acknowledge that to others it is) we all have different identities depending where we are and it certainly doesn’t make any of us less than what we actually are or who we are. Do you think Sister Monson was less than who she was when someone said, “that’s the Prophet’s wife”?

        Tara, you stated that girls have few role models in the church. Maybe I was the lucky one who had more women role models than I can count, both in and outside the church. Having a woman hold the priesthood the way OW would like , certainly would cause discomfort for me, maybe because it is wrong, and I know it to be wrong, not because the feeling was “ingrained” in me. It goes against the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and only he makes this decision. OW think that if they yell loud enough, kick enough shins, they may get what they want. All I see are people chopping off their noses in spite of their face. OW are for “gender equality,” does this mean they should be sealed in the temple to a same sex spouse?

        • Ocean, thank you. I know voicing these thoughts sounds rebellious, but please know that many of us who do so love the church and love our place within it. We voice these thoughts and strive for change precisely because we love the church. It has changed so much in its history – even our most sacred rites have evolved over the years. We think now it is time for the church to change for our daughters.

          I’ll give you a small example. On church last sunday in my mother’s ward the bishop asked two girls to stand who were advancing from Beehive to Mia Maid. Then he asked a young man to stand up who was advancing from deacon to priest. This might seem like an exceedingly small thing – maybe it is – but it had never happened before in that ward. And the message it sent to those girls (and the ward) was that their progress was valued equally with the young men.

          These are the kind of changes I am talking about. Many of them are not big things – but if you add them up together, what we are trying to say to our daughters is that they matter. That they are expected to work as hard as their brothers. That their contributions are valued equally. That they have a voice. Although I think every person here would say that is true, it is often not reflected in the structure of the church. And it could be! It would make the church a better place, and a better reflection of the gospel.

      • Thank you Rachel. Please forgive me as I write these words because I have never been able to show compassion in my writing, I have always been direct, that doesn’t mean that I don’t feel for the situation; with that in mind, I grew up in a Stake that acknowledged EVERYONE, regardless of age. Even my grandmothers stake/ward in a small town in Utah, (I did not grow up in Utah) did the same thing. No one was excluded. In fact many of us hated standing up when our name was called, we didn’t like the attention, (yes I was one of them…..go figure). As I grew up, went out on my own, it never changed in any of the wards I was in. Recognition is something I have grown up with in every ward and stake. But see, these incidents can be continued, but a woman “holding the keys to the priesthood” is not something that should take place. And I think the examples that OW are setting are hurting them more than helping them. What April did, including producing this blog, was wrong, she went against her leaders wishes. I find that disturbing. Jacob just added a video to this blog. Please watch it, I have had similar experiences and she expresses herself so much better than I can.

  28. IMO the SP in question may or may not be a “good” man. We don’t know. I will give him the benefit of the doubt as did April. It is naive to think that the SP is acting independently on this issue. He has to answer to area authorities and they answer to regional authorities. Having been through something akin to this, April will either renounce her membership voluntarily, or it will be taken from her, or she will acquiesce to the church and stay silent. There will not be an ongoing tug of war. Many question motives of members who pick and choose doctrinal concepts, believing some and realizing others make no sense. In my view every member of every religious sect does this to some degree, apart from strict fundamentalists. Every person of faith compartmentalizes and lives in a form of cognitive dissonance with those doctrines which are ridiculous, of which there are too many to list. Add on the immense price to pay when leaving the church and that adds another painful layer of complexity. The church offers great rewards but only if you are wholly obedient. It takes everything away if you don’t obey, It takes your membership, your baptismal covenants, your ability to partake of the sacrament and it takes away your eternal standing and place with your God and family, spouse and children, parents and extended family. And it takes away your ward and stake family. Because of Mormon’s levels of commitment, this is a huge percentage of an LDS, person’s social contacts, of not all. It is present day shunning and it is a striking thing to witness from family and former “friends”. Very few of these people will understand April’s position if she leaves the church on her own accord or through excommunication. Her entire social structure will collapse. This is why the church is abusive. It promises great things but requires blind obedience and money in the form of tithes. If you don’t comply you lose everything. April stands to lose much. It will be awful if you leave April. But you will gain much and there is another side. All people you know, family and friends will declare themselves, one way or the other. And eventually you will come to peace with who are and in what you believe. Letting go of an abuser whether it be church, spouse, employer or other, is a difficult step because you have learned how to live in a world of control, of rewards and threats. Trust me, people within the church will not see it this way. They will convince themselves they are loving and respectful. They even call the church disciplinary court a court of love. And it can be filled with those who feel they love you. But they really don’t have any control on the outcome. It isn’t a court. It is a procedure and the decision will have been made before you take part in it. Follow your heart. Don’t cling to family and friends who feel more comfortable and safe in an organization than they do in showing love and support. They offer nothing but conditional love. That’s what a controller does. They love you and reward you only if you subjugate yourself. You will lose family and friends but not all. There are many good people in this world and you have a place in it. You will form new attachments and some family will come through for you. But most LDS, if not all, will just let you go. Sadly, you will be forgotten in no time. They will move on and concentrate their time on missionary work and reactivation efforts (on those who haven’t transgressed as badly as you have) and in doing temple work: all works of “love”. All these things designed to keep members too busy to actually have the time to think and ponder, meditate, read, and yes, too busy to actually love each other, apart from the members your are “assigned” to love in their calling(s). Leaving the church is an enlightening experience that few apart from ex-LDS could possibly understand. It’s tough to leave an organization we believed was the “one true church”, then come to realize it isn’t perfect, then come to realize it’s behaving poorly, obfuscating accurate history, and not acting in a Christ-like manner. It’s an evolutionary experience but it is also scary and unsettling to your foundation. Of course there is good and there are good people in the church. But watch how LDS react to differences in appearances and opinions and behaviors. Too much fear. And the brethren are clinging tighter and tighter because I don’t think they have the courage or knowledge to handle issues such as these, which will eventually bring the church to it’s knees. It’s already happening. the Church is losing many of it’s best, most loyal members because they refuse to be controlled by a church and it’s leaders that cling to arbitrary and archaic ideas about gender and sexuality and historically race, or because they feel the church has purposely misled them about historically key issues. It’s ironic that a church started by a prophet, a visionary, and a revolutionary man has become entrenched in archaic and prejudicial ideas which are nothing more than societal norms of the periods they were birthed in: blacks and the priesthood, polygamy, Word of Wisdom, temple rites etc. Eventually the church will be forced to change and admit it’s errors, or it will self destruct. It can’t continue to be repressive in an age of information and mass communication. Unfortunately, in the meantime, there will be mass casualties in the lives of it’s members and in church membership and even in the success of their missionary work (which is already taking the biggest hit in areas where people have access to electronic media). Be of good cheer, working out these problems and internal struggles and building relationships of unconditional love and becoming authentic to your core is why we are here. And yes, submitting to the will of Christ can be number one on that list if it’s based on love and compassion. These are the real reasons we are here on earth. I’ve often wondered how living a life of blind obedience” and the concept that it’s “better to never have sinned” is preparatory for “Godhood”. It wouldn’t be good preparation for a being even a marginal parent let alone an eventual god. Best of luck in finding your true self.

  29. … a woman’s assessment of her own personal worthiness carries less weight than the conclusions of male priesthood leaders. Local priesthood leaders have a great deal of authority to enforce their personal interpretations of worthiness standards, leaving women susceptible when leadership rotates to new men with differing opinions.

    The words “woman’s” and “women” are somewhat misleading in this context, where “member’s” and “members” would be more accurate.

    • So much blindness showing here, but here’s a tad bit of light. Because all males 12 years and older hold the ph, when bishops interview other men in the ward, they are interviewing someone in their group of peers of ph holders. A bishop interviewing a male member could be interviewing his own next bishop, his own next High Priest Group leader, his own next home teacher, his own next Stake President, all of whom who would have some degree or stewardship or authority over him. When a bishop or SP interviews a woman, they are interviewing someone who is always in a group of governed non-peers, the group that will always and forever exercise no religious leadership over men in the hierarchy of decision-making, policy-setting church callings.

      • “the group that will always and forever exercise no religious leadership over men in the hierarchy of decision-making, policy-setting church callings.” You got that wrong sister! You, as a woman, have the highest calling of all. You have the opportunity to raise your children to be righteous leaders, both girls and boys. You are their first role model, choose your actions wisely, honorably, without contention, you are their example.

      • That women do more child-raising doesn’t invalidate Alisa’s point in the slightest. They still don’t get to exercise any decision-making authority over men in the Church.

      • Also…not all women on here, and certainly not all the women in the church have or raise children. That is a false comparison. And, men raise children, too. I’m not sure why we are always in such a hurry to discount fathers in our church.

      • Actually it is not a false comparison. Some are promised children later if they do not have the opportunity here. Do you think our responsibilities and blessings are only earthbound? You read too much into comments Tara, and jump to all sorts of conclusions, often missing the mark. God has given specific responsibilities to each gender….funny how women who feel put upon or slighted often want something that isn’t geared for them. I don’t see any man trying to figure out a way to become pregnant.

      • It isn’t just the bearing of the children. God has blessed us (women) in raising the children, we tend to be nurturing in nature. As women, as mothers, aunts, cousins, friends, etc.

  30. Tell you what, when a man can carry a child to term, give birth, and give nourishment from his breast, then I will consider standing and supporting a woman holding the priesthood. As it stands, the Lord has divided our positions accordingly. We should be thankful that we are following the Gospel of Jesus Christ and not Lucifer.

    • Ocean, Elder Ballard gave a talk at BYU in August 2013 where he said,

      “Why are men ordained to priesthood offices and not women? President Gordon B. Hinckley explained that it was the Lord, not man, “who designated that men in His Church should hold the priesthood” and that it was also the Lord who endowed women with “capabilities to round out this great and marvelous organization, which is the Church and kingdom of God” (“Women of the Church,” Ensign, November 1996, 70). When all is said and done, the Lord has not revealed why He has organized His Church as He has.”

      The last line is important to remember. The Lord did not give a reason why women are not ordained to the priesthood. And notice that neither Elder Ballard nor Pres. Hinckley offered a speculative explanation. The idea that men get the priesthood because women can have babies is really just a effort to find an answer the Lord has not given. Whenever we come up with speculative answers, we are almost always wrong, and at best we look silly, and at worse, our own ideas are downright hurtful. And, we run the risk of being ones who mingle scriptures with the philosophies of men.

      • Thank you Heather 70, I do appreciate your input. That actual comment was directed elsewhere to demonstrate that man and woman have different roles in Gods plan, and that Gods plan isn’t going to change. Somehow it ended up all on it’s own.

        I have enjoyed your comments though, and envy that you are able to articulate in a compassionate tone. I tend to be direct, and as my college writing teacher indicated, forceful.

  31. It is all so very sad. It is one thing to make rules to live by, and quite another to stamp on contrary opinions. I don’t find these two positions reconcilable.

  32. I had an interesting talk with a friend of mine over Christmas, where she revealed to me the depths to which her mother opposed the OW movement (and by association, the mormon feminism movement as a whole). My friend explained that her mother felt that her life’s work – raising 10+ children as a faithful sister in the church and serving in countless callings over the years – was being demeaned by women in the church demanding more responsibility and equal treatment. Although I do not think that is by any means the message of OW or mormon feminism, it did help me understand the point of view of women in the church who react negatively to discussions of gender issues in the church.

    I think those of us in the mormon feminist movement focus on the intractability of our leaders, or priesthood creep, or the damaging culture of institutional sexism. And those are all real things. But I think we forget that we also desperately need to have a real conversation with sisters in the church who have given their hearts in service and see striving for change as an attack on the values they hold dear. Too often we just knock our opposing world views against each other instead, waiting for one to crack.

    April, I hope you enjoy your brother’s wedding! Thank you for your beautiful post.

  33. April
    , I applaud your strength and ability to prioritize. Your statement about a sister not being replaceable is not only touching but deeply profound.

    In response to Joe–this is exactly the opposite of cowardice. Anyone who has read Aprils blogs previously knows how much this means to her–this wasn’t cowardice this was courageous. The easy reaction would have been to simply storm out mad after meeting the Stake President and berate him on a blog. Her words show not only courage but love, respect, and deserve our admiration.

    April thanks for sharing your spirit here. No matter how hard this was I applaud the reasons for your decision and the positive way you spoke of your leaders. Stunning display of Christianity in the midst of hard circumstances .

  34. You go, girl. The LDS faith is a young one. It is awkwardly going through its adolescence, posting a “No Girls Allowed” sign on their backyard hideout. Some of the more mature faiths, such as the Episcopals, have hundreds of vibrant priests, bishops and other religious leaders in their ranks. The first time I witnessed a woman priest lead a service, I sobbed from the depths of my soul. Then I converted.

  35. While I am in no way endorsing the unkind comments to which this is addressed, it is also not accurate to say that “[women] still don’t get to exercise any decision-making authority over men in the Church.”

    Sharon Eubank is the director of Humanitarian Services and LDS Charities of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and she has men working below her. Most of the regional and stake public affairs directors I have worked with are women, who have men on their staff. Male primary teachers report to a female Primary president. A lot of family history center directors are also female.

    When we had ward activities committees, they were often chaired by women, with men under them. And as a ward RS president, I often made assignments to male quorum leaders, who received training and direction from me, and returned with questions and reports.

    We’ve also had friends serving couples missions where she was the reason for being out on their particular mission–a health care or teaching credential–and he was the supportive appointment-and-paperwork helper.

    In my experience, I never saw problems with men refusing to recognize the woman’s authority. All worked together. I am sure it would be the same if the Prophet did receive revelation to ordain women.

  36. First, I want to let you know I am no longer a member. I resigned in 2010 over prop 8 issues and the way women, me, were treated by leadership that was untrained and in my opinion only, uninspired. My Ex husband was a philandering lying manipulating man who was part of the good old boys club, and I was just a resentful, non-harkening wife who didn’t understand that it was my duty to forgive and forget! So, yeah, I was hurt and angry…but now I am Free!

    I am free to be happy, to have a voice, to be equal with my amazing husband of almost ten years! ( I left the church in 2002 , did not resign until 2010…lol)

    With all that being said, I am avid about reading about the sisters who are left behind. I too wonder why, but accept that choice as many who I am still close to love their lives and I would wish nothing more for them. If my Ex were the type of LDS husband my son is to his wife, I would probably be very happy and content, with just niggling feelings I could easily ignore when they cropped up, as my DIL dies. That is not how the diced rolled for me…

    I am saddened that April has been gagged, I see it as nothing more than that. She speaks to those of you who need sustaining acceptance for your feelings. To be unsupported in your feelings, your beliefs is terrible and so very lonely. Take it from me, being free to voice your beliefs loudly, proudly, is so very good, healthy for the mind and spirit! Be strong…fight for what you believe in..till your dying breath, state to the world what you are about, for and destined to have eventually. Don’t be defined by anyone but yourself!

    I personally think April needs to continue to speak out… One of you share her thoughts, her messages…take your stories to the masses by simply telling, relating a conversation you had with a dear friend…no names of course! I would offer to do it, but well….I am not really the right gal for the job…lol

  37. Although I don’t know you, April, and have only a small acquaintance with a few Ordain Women supporters, there is no doubt in my mind that issues raised by OW call for serious study and consideration. As I have been thinking things through, two themes are abundantly clear. They are that at the core of the Ordain Women movement is a powerfully felt desire to serve the Lord and that this desire to serve is arising from a deep love of the Church. I am dismayed that those who fear Ordain Women cannot see into the hearts of its supporters. Fearful misunderstanding has led to great pain for you and others. I am so very sorry to see this happen. We are counseled to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, and strength. All who love the Lord should be joyfully welcomed, not pushed away.

    • Thank you Jacob. I endorse Sherri Dew’s comments 100%. This has also been my experience as well. I have never been treated less in respect or consideration than my husband. I am an educated woman, an attorney, and have had many years of experience in teaching, leading and standing before both women and men in this church. I take issue with Ms. Bennet’s comments that she was forced to resign in order to keep her recommend. The temple recommend questions we are asked every two years have been part of the interview process for many many years. To qualify for a temple recommend, a member must faithfully answer a series of questions which affirm the individual’s adherence to essential church doctrine. The questions address the following in general:

      Faith in and testimony of God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost,
      Testimony of the atonement of Jesus Christ.
      Testimony of the Restoration of the Gospel.
      Sustain the President of the Church and his authority, and other general authorities and local church leaders.
      Living the law of chastity.
      Relationships with family members as being in harmony with church teachings.
      Support for or affiliation with any group or individual with teachings or practices that are not in agreement with church teachings.
      Making a good faith effort to keep the covenants the individual has made, to attend church meetings and keep their life in harmony with the gospel.
      Honesty in dealings with others.
      Paying a full tithe.
      Keeping the Word of Wisdom.
      Payment of and keeping current on child support or alimony, if applicable.
      If already attending the temple, does the individual keep the covenants made in the temple and wear the temple garment “night and day” according to the covenants made in the temple.
      Making a full confession of any serious sins to church leaders.
      Regarding oneself worthy to enter the temple and take part in the ordinances within.

      If a person, woman or man chooses not to live the Word of Wisdom, for example, and cannot answer the question affirming their committment, the individual will not receive a recommend. If an individual disagrees with the underlying principal that this church is the Restored Church of Jesus Christ, they can answer accordingly. However, individuals who desire to participate in temple ordinances are required to follow these principles. If they choose not to – they do not get the benefits of temple membership.

      I belong to many professional organizations, one being the state bar which requires me to follow certain ethical practices. I may not agree with those practices (I cannot reveal my client’s dishonesty even though it harms another) but that is the rule for this organization I choose to belong to. Or, I could go and be a school teacher and be subject to other rules.

      Ms. Bennett is not entitled to temple attendance if she does not believe and practice those principles stated in the interview process –just as I am not entitled to practice law unless I follow certain tenants.

      The Priesthood is a representation of the Lord’s authority on earth through his servants. Bishops and Stake Presidents make decisions, with revelation and inspiration from He whose priesthood they hold, as to who goes into the temple. They represent Him.

      Ms. Bennett, in her quest for freedom of intellectualism, speech and thought for herself, in my opinion, has led others astray through OWN. That is the definition of apostasy. Perhaps she should start her own church and then she can decide the rules.

      • My but that’s an uncharitable attempt to kick April out the door, Susan.

        I think what you’re missing in your long comment is that there is not a universally agreed-upon list of organizations that Church members shouldn’t belong to. It’s up to the local leaders’ preference. You may see OW as leading people astray. I see it as preventing people from being led astray into ideas like that God wants women to be eternally subservient.

      • Susan you are certainly free to disagree openly with April’s ideas. However, our comment policy does not allow for things like questioning the testimony of others, calling them apostate or telling them to leave the church. This is a place to discuss ideas, not condemn individuals.

        I will add that your personal opinion does NOT determine who is guilty of apostasy. If anything, it seems like encouraging people to leave the church and form their own religions would be far closer to apostasy. So let’s not hurl that word around because it is deeply hurtful, and the body of Christ cannot afford to lose anyone — you, or April, or me. Our souls are precious to God, and we should treat each other in a way that reflects our eternal value.

      • Hurrah for Sister Bennett! Your example allows LDS culture to examine the life of a righteous female leader along the lines of the prophet Deborah of the Old Testament. Deborah’s father educated her and her husband supported her in this calling. I believe in the “restoration of all things” including female leadership and the “partnership” model of man and wife in marriage. (As opposed to “patriarchy” and the polygamous/doctrine that the Church teaches but does not currently practice.) Sister Bennett you are an inspiration to me. Thank you for your example. Patience and all will work out alright.

    • Robert D. Hales (April Gen Conf 2013) Standing obedient and strong on the doctrine of our God, we stand in holy places, for His doctrine is sacred and will not change.

      • Okay, not sure what your point is here. Nevertheless, a quick review of our stated comment policy: (The full policy can be viewed on the drop-down menu “The online forum” at the upper left)

        No mudslinging: Stating disagreement is fine — even strong disagreement, but no personal attacks or name calling.

        Try to stick with your personal experiences, ideas, and interpretations. This is not the place to question another’s personal righteousness, to call people to repentance, or to disrespectfully refute people’s personal religious beliefs.

        If for you “standing in holy places” means calling April an apostate, then this is not the forum for you to do that.

      • Susan, I have enjoyed both posts of yours. They are right on target; standing strong and having faith in these (dare I say last?) days can be a trial at times. Thank you for your example of standing for truth and for voicing the simplest of facts without belittling another.

    • Jacob,
      Sheri Dew has every right to express her feelings, thoughts and experiences. But her feelings, thoughts and experiences are not the same as every church member.
      I personally believe that because she is single, she has a romantic/heroic view of male priesthood. I do not share this view. She is also employed by the church, so has a financial stake in the church as it is, and in not biting the hand that feeds her.

      You might like and appreciate Ms. Dew’s perspective, just as I love the colour kelly green. But don’t presume she, or I or you or Ms. Bennett have the same experience or opinion any more than it could be presumed we all have the exact same favourite colour.

      • Spunky, for someone that doesn’t like the “judgment” factor, you seem to be right there on top of the pot calling the kettle black. You may very well want to take a second look at your own words. Don’t expect everyone to side with you. Their experiences as you have stated are not the same. You have come to the conclusion that Sheri Dew has her views ONLY because she is employed by the church and that she is single. That’s a crock and you know it. She is where she is because she has talents. She also is where she is because she stays true to the teachings of the gospel. I’m not talking about wealth and status, I’m talking about her clarity of the gospel. It has nothing to do with a “romantic” view. Do you love the gospel Spunky? Because you seem to find fault with it. We are human. Humans make mistakes. God has given us a solution for those mistakes. For you to judge our priesthood leaders in the manner that you do, shows that you feel they need to be perfect. Do we all handle each other in a perfect way? No. Look at us all here on this thread. You defending your end and I defending my end. We have all had miserable experiences with the people in the church, the choice is ours how we handle it. Do we forgive as we have been taught? Or, do we let it stagnate our progression? That chip on everyone’s shoulder is probably getting really heavy by now.

  38. This is very difficult to read. I completely stand by the decision of April Bennett to attend her brother’s temple wedding, and will continue to stand by the decisions of women in the church who decide to stay or leave for their own reasons. But I cannot overlook the men who feel it is their righteous duty to control these women, and I cannot get over the feeling of spiritual blackmail inherent in these threats.

  39. you know…I think that the reorganized church (Community of Christ) is starting to look pretty good right now…. Perhaps we consider leaving and joining them.

    • You know……God gave us free agency on all matters. If you feel the Community of Christ (the reorganized is just a memory now) would better serve your needs, then by golly feel free to join them. But remember, there are many things you would be giving up; first, the priesthood authority does not reside with in their church. They down play the Book of Mormon, so much so, they ask their clergy not to refer to it. (My great aunt is a minister with them) Also, they are selling off properties of historical value to the LDS Church, see, they do not want ties to us at all. Yes they have women clergy, but again, they do not hold the keys to the priesthood. So if you feel this faith is of value for you, by all means, they do need members; their followers are leaving by the hundreds.

      • Sarah, I agree with Ocean that the Church has the priesthood authority which is of infinite worth to you and me. However I am not anxious for anyone to leave the Church. I hope you stay with us and enjoy your association with us.

  40. While the author was required to remove, or censure, her posts, there are many copies elsewhere. The Internet Archive, for instance, has multiple copies of her now deleted posts. See:

    It saddens me to see opinions censured, especially to exert control. Why not let information flow freely? Forced censorship just draws more attention to the posts and increases healthy suspicion. If truth prevails, why worry about censoring? Fortunately, the Web never forgets.

  41. My only observation on this sad development is that I think it says a lot about an organisation when it chooses to exercise its emotional power over a human being in this way and actively requires them to censor themselves. Psychologically, this is no better than East Germany was.

  42. After 31 active yrs, doing more than the extra mile, I was upset by a conspiracy of priesthood. I was a very good st missionary, RSP, FHCD, served a p/t FH mission as well as holding many other callings. I went to the Temple at least once a month & as things got increasingly worse with my Bishop, I turned to the St P. He was very rude & insulting to the point where I felt no respect for him or my Bishop. AGter much prayer & deliberating I decided to write to President Monson. A few weeks later my Temple Recommend was taken away along with my calling & the key to the Chapel. After building up the FHC to 24 actively involved in finding their families, I have continued the work at home for 8 of them & nobody uses the FHC I fought to get. I have not been to church now for over 2 yrs, I have had my heart & soul ripped out by these men & have no testimony anymore. I served as Christ told me to in my blessing when I was set apart. The Bishop was too busy talking to a sister in the RS room to be bothered to come in & witness it. 4 sisters were present & know they were wrong & keep in touch with me. Why did I have my Temple Recommend taken from me? I can on ly assume it was spite on the SP’s part.

  43. I was in the lds faith for 50 years. Born and bred. I left 10 years ago. I was in recovery for 18 months, trying to get my thinking to where i wanted it. There is no freedom of speech in the church. Also no due process rights. And no presumption of innocense. Rights that have long been granted by the laws of man. They are not granted under the laws of GOD. Looks to me like the kingdom of GOD has a long way to go. I just know and want to bear you my testimony that god led me from that church. The mormon church is by far the biggest scam perpetrated on mankind. I wish to express support for other ex mormons. I live ij san antonio tx. Feel free to contact me. R. Austin green.

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