Everybody thinks the Brethren were pressured into letting an LDS lady get up and give a prayer at Conference this April. It is true that a very small and whiny group of sisters have been raising a ruckus about all sorts of things lately—marching in the Gay Day Parade to show that gay folks are genuine humans; encouraging ladies to go to Sacrament Meeting wearing pants like that Gertrude Stein gal did over in Paris, or like Hillary, who wears baggy trousers day and night; and pestering the General Authorities to assign a gal to give either the invocation or benediction during Conference, something that’s never been done since Lehi and his kvetching sons discovered America and were written up in the Book of Mormon.
It is important to point out that the Brethren decided all by themselves to let a gal give a prayer during Conference next month. As one of the Apostles told me personally, “Wherefore would we pay any attention to the womenfolk as regards praying in Conference, since we’ve never paid any attention to them ever since Lehi discovered America and set foot on the Jersey Shore back in 600 B.C.?”
The Brethren were unanimous as regards setting the record straight about how and why the decision was made, and I feel blessed to bear witness unto the world wherefore the aforesaid momentous decision came to pass. Usually, I prefer to stay in the background and offer counsel and service only when called upon in my capacity as Apostle at Large and Ombudsman Without Portfolio. But at least three of the Apostles approached me and urged me to tell the true facts. Letting the ladies pray in church has been a matter of debate for several years now, ever since Sister Sheri Dew, a stately presence in the high echelons of the church, challenged and defeated Brother Dieter Uchtdorf in an arm wrassle. Sister Dew made the former Hindenburg pilot cry “Uncle!” More significant, however, was that Herr Apostle Pilot Uchtdorf promised Sister Dew that if she beat him at wrassling, he would let her be the first lady in recorded history to pray at Conference.
Brother Uchtdorf’s promise caused considerable consternation among the Brethren. One faction had made it clear that it would not budge on the issue of ladies praying under any circumstances. For them, letting ladies pray during Conference was a slippery slope: Praying would lead to pantsuits in Sacrament Meeting, which would lead to ladies insisting on knowing their husbands’ secret names, which would lead to ladies praying to their Mother (or Mothers—a single Heavenly Mother doesn’t have a womb sturdy or big enough to gestate all those spirit children) in Heaven, which would lead finally to LDS ladies performing a priestly act that has from time immemorial been an exclusively male privilege—the sacred shoulder massage.
Another faction, of a more liberal bent, are OK with the sisters praying in Conference, mainly because they feel all prayed out. (A few are just plain tired of the members falling asleep during their prayers.) This faction has, in fact, held informal discussions with God about letting the ladies mount the podium for Conference prayers, invocative or bendictive. The stumbling block has nothing to do with theology or threats to the Power of the Priesthood.
As it turns out, according to the Brethren who have chewed the fat with their Heavenly Father, the only thing keeping the gals from praying from the podium is that God, once a man like us before he ascended the ladder of eternal perfection, suffers from a very human failing: The Man Upstairs is deaf as a post.
“For thousands of eons now, God has been totally unable to tune in to the higher register of female voices,” says an apostle who has sat in on several conversations with the Deity. “Of course, it’s mostly a monologue, because the Old Guy has a hard time even deciphering masculine vocables. If we talk real slow in a boring monotone, sometimes he can get the gist. By the way, that’s why we General Authorities speak in a lugubrious dying fall.
“And don’t even suggest a good hearing aid. God says they are a pain in the butt, and besides, there’s the perpetual problem of earwax.”
It seems the Church is at an impasse: Ladies praying at Conference is a temporary experiment, and unless God experiences a miraculous restoration of his hearing, we will soon return to the status quo of droning men.
D.P. Sorensen writes a satire column for City Weekly.