Understanding the Other Side 

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I just wanted to say thanks for the musings spurred by your latest cover story about women and the priesthood [“Restoring the Priesthood,” Oct. 3, City Weekly].

I had been under the impression that this group of ladies (who are probably already starting to congregate outside of the conference center as I type) were a touch on the crazy side. Now, I’m thinking I want to go over and chat with some of them.

See, I still consider myself a Mormon, though I haven’t regularly gone to church in 10 years. And my first reaction to all the hubbub about this was probably like that of most LDS women: Men and women are different; we were given different gifts. Women have the gift to bear and nurture children, and men get the priesthood. If these women are true and faithful members, why are they making such an ugly feminist stink about this? If you don’t like it, go to another church that lets women do more, because this one obviously isn’t for you.

But examining my own life gave me room for pause. I’m not a mother, biologically or in any other sense of the word, and though I’m nearly 30, I really have no desire to become one anytime soon. I’m in the process of getting out of an abusive marriage. I don’t have a very good relationship with my dad. There’s really no man in my life, and certainly not one with the priesthood. Under the prescribed logic, I have no access to the blessings and revelations that only the priesthood brings.

Men and women are different—they got that part right. We have different needs and feelings. I think about the horrible problems I’m coming to terms with after years in a hellish relationship … which, you know, I would be very, very freaked out to talk to a man about. How the heck would I get a blessing?

What is really irksome to me is that for some reason, “only men can have the priesthood” has turned into “all men are automatically entitled to the priesthood unless something is wrong with them.”

If you stick to the doctrine, there’s a lot of really good, positive stuff to be found in the church. The problem is the people. It shouldn’t have to be about men versus women, black versus white, gay versus straight, or us versus them.

We are not identical, but we are equal in the eyes of God. And we all probably need to do a better job of remembering that.

Salt Lake City

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