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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » Excommunications (Page 2)

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Author Topic: Excommunications
Geraine
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Not just at all which is kind of my point. Also, you are assuming that there is a "right person" to find. I don't think that is necessarily true.

How am I assuming anything? I provided one example. True, some people may just not find the right person, but there are other reasons as well. Some people die in child birth. Some die in wars before they have the opportunity. Some people suffer from all sorts of mental problems and retardation that often prevent them from forming lasting, loving relationships.

Those people will have the opportunity to marry later.

The matter becomes grey when a man or woman never marries because they "just don't want to" or "It's just a piece of paper" or "I don't need no man/woman." Should they be given the opportunity again? Should they be doomed to something lesser because of their attitude? That isn't for me to judge, and I believe God will sort it all out.

But those that genuinely did not have the opportunity? I think it follows the same rule as children that die before they are baptized. God will take care of them.

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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Do you see the problem with "most recognized female in the church"? We don't get to make the big decisions; we get to the equivalent of handing out soup and blankets. "Women's work".

You say that like it's not worth doing at all. I think that's a problem with perception. How is it not important to take care of people? Isn't that one of the *most* important parts of Christianity?
I am not saying that at all. It is great and a noble calling for someone male or female who is called to that. I am saying that it sucks to have your options for service limited to that. And, coming from a man, sounds a bit like my boss sounds when she proclaims once a year on staff appreciation day that the secretaries are the most important people in the School.
"coming from a man" That's pretty sexist in itself, you know? It seems like you're completely dismissing my point of view because I'm a man.
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Herblay
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:

Do you see the problem with "most recognized female in the church"? We don't get to make the big decisions; we get to the equivalent of handing out soup and blankets. "Women's work".

I would say that this argument, in itself, is the same as Kate's. And it is doctrinally unsound.
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MrSquicky
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quote:
Men who equate holding the priesthood to having administrative and political power inside the church organization are misunderstanding it the same way that women do who want the priesthood so they can be in charge.
But don't men hold preeminent administrative and political power inside the church organization?
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Herblay:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:

Do you see the problem with "most recognized female in the church"? We don't get to make the big decisions; we get to the equivalent of handing out soup and blankets. "Women's work".

I would say that this argument, in itself, is the same as Kate's. And it is doctrinally unsound.
Well it would be as I made it.
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Herblay
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I work in engineering.

Let's say a manager holds a meeting. She sends out the invites, lays out an agenda, and so forth. Engineers show up and brainstorm a design. Certain people push the direction of the meeting. People with expertise shape an action plan and contribute additional details based on their abilities.

Is this an example where the manager holds all the power? Or are they merely acting to preside over the meeting, because someone has to? Sure, they can move things along and serve other functions to avoid disagreement and groupthink, but so can any member of the group.

I feel like this is pretty much the same way the church leadership works, or the way a priesthood holder presides over a family. Women have their own organization and leadership, but to argue that they don't have administrative or political power is simply incorrect.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
but something that is less easily put aside is this: almost the entire power structure of the Mormon church, historically and in the present, is invested in men. There isn't any of this 'co-administration' stuff in the practice of the day to day running of things.]

That's not actually true. The "Power structure," as you put it, includes many many female leaders. The relief society presidency of each ward, stake, and the church as a whole are all women. The church education system is primarily managed and staffed by both men and women. But I imagine these auxiliary positions don't actually meet your definition of being part of the "Power structure," so there really isn't a way to sway your opinion on that, and you're welcome to have that opinion. But I'd appreciate it if you would not attempt to force your opinions on me and my religion.
Boris,

I'm familiar with some of the day to day stuff. But I stand by my point. Who are the only people who may be a 'president', for example? We can discuss all we like the many ways (and I do mean this sincerely) that women play a vital role in the day to day affairs of your church. But even when you speak in defense of your position, your language underlines the weakness of your position. 'Auxiliary'.

Let me further clarify. My point was never that women play no role in any aspects of church leadership-rather that that role, when it is played, is irrevocably according to doctrine going to be a secondary or at best subordinate role when it is more active. Presidents don't have unlimited power, but you don't invest a person with that title when they answer to someone else. An auxiliary can play a vital role, but by definition it is not a leadership role.

As for forcing my opinions on you and your religion. Boris, this is going to sound confrontational and aggressive and there's not much I'm interested in doing about that. But I mean it with all sincerity when I say that I am going to give you the respect, whether you like it or not, of not treating you as though a straightforward statement of my opinion is equivalent to 'forcing' my opinions on you and your religion. It simply isn't, no more than your counter-arguments are forcing your opinions on me and my heathenishness.

This is America, and goodness knows we screw up and act wickedly all the time, but at least we can all get on board with the idea that hearing an opinion you don't like is not in any way a matter of force.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Do you see the problem with "most recognized female in the church"? We don't get to make the big decisions; we get to the equivalent of handing out soup and blankets. "Women's work".

You say that like it's not worth doing at all. I think that's a problem with perception. How is it not important to take care of people? Isn't that one of the *most* important parts of Christianity?
I am not saying that at all. It is great and a noble calling for someone male or female who is called to that. I am saying that it sucks to have your options for service limited to that. And, coming from a man, sounds a bit like my boss sounds when she proclaims once a year on staff appreciation day that the secretaries are the most important people in the School.
"coming from a man" That's pretty sexist in itself, you know? It seems like you're completely dismissing my point of view because I'm a man.
I sort of am. But it isn't so much sexist as noting the power difference in what you are saying. My boss may extoll the importance of secretaries but she isn't going to trade places with one. So, sure, I am going to be skeptical about the opinion from a person with authority who is defending that authority by talking about how great those without authority have it.

Herblay, who ends up making the final decision? Who decides who is invited to the meeting? Who decides what the meeting is about? Who decides who gets to speak? In other words, who decides?

I can't even begin to express how personally obnoxious I find Geraine's attitude toward those who are single by choice.

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Do you see the problem with "most recognized female in the church"? We don't get to make the big decisions; we get to the equivalent of handing out soup and blankets. "Women's work".

You say that like it's not worth doing at all. I think that's a problem with perception. How is it not important to take care of people? Isn't that one of the *most* important parts of Christianity?
If this role is of such pivotal importance, why is it so uniquely feminine? Are men actually less important and powerful within the church, that they have less access to this vitally important role?
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
quote:
Men who equate holding the priesthood to having administrative and political power inside the church organization are misunderstanding it the same way that women do who want the priesthood so they can be in charge.
But don't men hold preeminent administrative and political power inside the church organization?
Political power? The church doesn't really have internal politics like most organizations do. People who aspire to obtain some position in the church are usually looked down on. We don't hold elections. Obtaining political influence is generally useless in the church. You get chosen to fill a specific role, and then you choose the people who assist you in filling that role (if applicable to the role). There's really very little political gamesmanship in the church's overall operation. Granted, my view is somewhat limited to what I've seen, but I haven't seen anything that one would be able to label as political. There are social cliques and gossip mills, sure, but those usually have little to no bearing on the actual operation of the church.

As far as administration goes, it depends on what you mean by administration. Women take part in teaching and giving "sermons" (we don't call them that), just like men. There is very little in the general administration of the church that women don't play a part in, either officially or unofficially. A man isn't placed in a position of authority in the church hierarchy without approval from his wife (if he has one, and generally men aren't called to positions of authority like bishop, stake president, or general authority unless they are married). If a man's wife says that she doesn't want him to be a bishop, he won't be a bishop. That doesn't happen often, but that's how it works.

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Rakeesh
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Afr,

quote:
The priesthood is the authority God gives to us to act in his name. It's not and shouldn't be considered the domain of men only. The whole purpose of men holding it is so it can readily bless the lives of everyone. Men who equate holding the priesthood to having administrative and political power inside the church organization are misunderstanding it the same way that women do who want the priesthood so they can be in charge.
It may remain out of reach for me, but I am having a very hard time imagining how what appears to be a straightforward contradiction can be reconciled. If only men can have the priesthood, and priesthood is the authority given to human beings by God to act in His name, then how can it be said that direct authority to act in the name of God isn't the domain of men, when it is anyone's domain at all?

quote:
The church is organized at the ward level to extend the benefits of the priesthood to everyone regardless of their status. While the pattern might be for every home to have a mother and father in it, obviously there are single mothers and single women without children without a priesthood holder in the home. That doesn't mean those women don't have access to the priesthood. Through the home teaching program especially, but also through ward leaders and association with ward members, they can and should have all the blessings of the priesthood they desire in their homes and lives.
Granted, but isn't it still true that men are necessary to access these blessings? There are in your faith if I'm not mistaken vitally important things which to be done require the priesthood, yes? A woman simply cannot, ever, do those things herself. A man may be able to do so someday, if he isn't already.
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TomDavidson
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quote:
The church doesn't really have internal politics like most organizations do.
I think any close observation of the LDS church would show that this is not the case. It is very political.
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Boris
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I'd like to keep going here, but I've found myself spending 4 hours on Hatrack this morning and I do have a job, so I have to leave the discussion. I apologize if I have left some things unaddressed. I appreciate the discussion, but I don't get paid to talk on here. This is pretty much why I'm so on and off here. FYI [Big Grin]
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Rakeesh
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Herblay,
quote:
Is this an example where the manager holds all the power? Or are they merely acting to preside over the meeting, because someone has to? Sure, they can move things along and serve other functions to avoid disagreement and groupthink, but so can any member of the group.

I feel like this is pretty much the same way the church leadership works, or the way a priesthood holder presides over a family. Women have their own organization and leadership, but to argue that they don't have administrative or political power is simply incorrect.

That women have no power at all and all power is invested solely in men is not actually an argument anyone is making. Even in the most dictatorial, tyrannical power structures, power is never invested solely in a single group or person. An Egyptian Pharoah, literally a god on Earth, did not have unlimited power. That becomes impossible when you're trying to deal with thousands or more people.

No, the argument is that men have most of the power, by far, and that this is unassailable by doctrine. Men are the administrators, period. Men are the ones who are granted the ability to act in God's name, period. Men have the priesthood and are the presidents of stakes and the prophets and fill the quorum, period.

--------

Boris,

quote:
Political power? The church doesn't really have internal politics like most organizations do. People who aspire to obtain some position in the church are usually looked down on. We don't hold elections. Obtaining political influence is generally useless in the church. You get chosen to fill a specific role, and then you choose the people who assist you in filling that role (if applicable to the role). There's really very little political gamesmanship in the church's overall operation. Granted, my view is somewhat limited to what I've seen, but I haven't seen anything that one would be able to label as political. There are social cliques and gossip mills, sure, but those usually have little to no bearing on the actual operation of the church.

I think you'll simply have to accept that stating 'our organization doesn't really do politics is basically never going to be credible to any outsider. It's an institution filled with human beings, whether God exists and has inspired it or not. Politics are simply unavoidable.
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
The church doesn't really have internal politics like most organizations do.
I think any close observation of the LDS church would show that this is not the case. It is very political.
I don't think you could actually closely observe the LDS church without being a member, Tom, so pardon me if I completely dismiss your opinion.
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Herblay
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:

No, the argument is that men have most of the power, by far, and that this is unassailable by doctrine. Men are the administrators, period. Men are the ones who are granted the ability to act in God's name, period. Men have the priesthood and are the presidents of stakes and the prophets and fill the quorum, period.

You can make this argument. Heck, it's good for discussion. I'd politely disagree, but I'm not sure if you'd believe me.

I've had managers that felt this way. Regardless what their engineers say, they get to make the decisions, right? How long do they keep their positions? In the church, we believe that the Lord will remove administrators who abuse their power.

Yes, some families work when the man has sole control of the family. But I would argue that these families are dysfunctional. Organizations have to organize. A healthy organization has contributions from all parties. A healthy marriage is a partnership. But somebody has to lead.

Any good team has an appointed leader. The church appoints men as leaders. Maybe this is out of tradition. Maybe it is ordained by God. But our doctrine states that it is organized this way for a reason.

If our families, if our church, are healthy, we'll succeed. Most members would strongly assert that women have equal, or almost equal, influence in nearly all church functions. An outsider or someone disillusioned might disagree, but I would argue that they don't have the whole truth.

The Ordain Women argument is not as simple as it sounds. Should women be able to hold top-level administrative positions? Yes, and they do. Is there some room for growth and change, some room for progression? I would THINK that there is. And this is where the group is good, to make us evaluate the way we look at things, at ourselves.

Should women actually hold the priesthood, the "manager" job if you will? The LDS church believes that its doctrine is the actual will of God, and that there is a formation of the family that holds eternal significance to our very inheritance. So what, you ask?

Maybe the answer is indious. From a logical perspective, to question the nature of priesthood and gender roles is to question god's essential plan of salvation. You can't do this and believe in doctrine at the same time. It's literally a fallacy.

So, are they wrong? No, there's probably progressive work that needs to be done. It's my opinion that the whole banner of women ordination is just a rallying cry to draw attention to gender roles in general. Ordaining women makes no sense within the context of the argument, but it DOES bring attention to arguments that DO have merit.

I guess the only way to understand is to have faith that the church truly is led by Jesus and that the prophets won't lead us too far astray. It happens, time to time, because humans are fallible and mortal. But it is our belief that no matter how imperfect, it is the most perfect form of religion.

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scifibum
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I wanted to respond to this claim from page 1:

"The Church has never opposed Civil Unions or attempts to extend legal rights to gay couples."

...unfortunately this is false.

http://www.mormonnewsroom.org/ldsnewsroom/eng/news-releases-stories/first-presidency-statement-on-same-gender-marriage

quote:
The Church accordingly favors measures that define marriage as the union of a man and a woman and that do not confer legal status on any other sexual relationship."
This statement was released just before the passage of Utah's Amendment 3 which not only defined marriage as between a man and a woman, but also contained this provision:

quote:
2. No other domestic union, however denominated, may be recognized as a marriage or given the same or substantially equivalent legal effect.
This is clearly a ban on civil unions and legal rights for gay couples, and the church's support for this amendment was not ambiguous.

They later softened their stance and supported some legal protections for gay individuals in a Salt Lake City ordinance, but I'm unaware of any instance in which the church has offered support for a law that establishes or protects rights for gay couples.

------------

For those who are taking the view that Kate Kelly's excommunication was deserved, I'm wondering what you make of President Hinckley's remarks to the effect that female ordination was theoretically possible, but that there was no agitation for it?

quote:
RB: At present women are not allowed to be priests in your Church. Why is that?

GBH: That’s right, because the Lord has put it that way. Now women have a very prominent place in this Church. They have there own organisation. Probably the largest women’s organisation in the world of 3.7 million members. There own ???. And the women of that organisation sit on Boards. Our Board of Education things of that kind. They counsel with us. We counsel together. They bring in insight that we very much appreciate and they have this tremendous organisation of the world where they grow and if you ask them they’ll say we’re happy and we’re satisfied.

RB: They all say that?

GBH: Yes. All except a oh you’ll find a little handful one or two here and there, but in 10 million members you expect that.

RB: You say the Lord has put it that way. What do you mean by that?

GBH: I mean that’s a part of His programme. Of course it is, yes.

RB: Is it possible that the rules could change in the future as the rules are on Blacks ?

GBH: He could change them yes. If He were to change them that’s the only way it would happen.

RB: So you’d have to get a revelation?

GBH: Yes. But there’s no agitation for that. We don’t find it. Our women are happy. They’re satisfied. These bright, able, wonderful women who administer their own organisation are very happy. Ask them. Ask my wife.

If I try to put myself in Kate Kelly's shoes, I think I'd see an invitation implied there, to raise my hand and say "No, I'm not happy." And to agitate - to encourage other women who feel the same to raise their hands.

Now, the message is - "Don't bring attention to the fact that many of you are unhappy. Don't agitate, we won't have any agitation. If you're not happy, that's fine, work on that, but don't group together to talk about why and how that might change."

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Rakeesh
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
The church doesn't really have internal politics like most organizations do.
I think any close observation of the LDS church would show that this is not the case. It is very political.
I don't think you could actually closely observe the LDS church without being a member, Tom, so pardon me if I completely dismiss your opinion.
Boris, please be sure to bear that in mind when you make an observation about any other group of people on Earth, particularly a religion.

---------

Herblay,

quote:
You can make this argument. Heck, it's good for discussion. I'd politely disagree, but I'm not sure if you'd believe me.
I would certainly believe you meant it. I'm not being patronizing, as in, "Oh, I'm sure you believe it," but rather stating my belief that you're speaking in good faith. Anyway, I was being emphatic in one area that I think you may be interpreting to bleed over into others.

When I said that men fill the quorum, the prophet, the presidencies, period, I didn't mean that this was an open and shut slam dunk argument in my favor-though I do think it's really quite rock solid. I simply meant that on this particular point, there cannot be any argument. Only men can be a Prophet, can be priesthood holders, can be presidents and members of the Quorum.

Since this point cannot be argued, the question remains: how much power within the church do these offices and callings hold? I would argue that by their very titles and job descriptions, the answer would be 'a very great deal', but if you want to disagree I'm happy to listen.

quote:
I've had managers that felt this way. Regardless what their engineers say, they get to make the decisions, right? How long do they keep their positions? In the church, we believe that the Lord will remove administrators who abuse their power.
Well, those managers were right. They had the power. What they didn't have was the ability, themselves, to ensure a project would work-though they surely had the ability to run it straight into the ground. I mean, you said it yourself, they're making the decisions. What they aren't is unchallenged masters of their entire domains and everyone and everything in it. But there is one manager, and a bunch of engineers. The engineers do the work, and the manager decides how it is done, by whom, in what order, so on and so forth. I think if this were any other topic, one which you weren't so invested in, you would quickly acknowledge what is pretty obvious: that the manager is in charge, and has more power than the engineers. This doesn't change even if the engineers are necessary and even more important than the manager.

As for removing bad leaders, well that moves into another topic entirely. Suffice to say that the timeline for when those bad leaders will be removed-or their decisions-seems to me to be pretty problematic to say the least.

quote:
Yes, some families work when the man has sole control of the family. But I would argue that these families are dysfunctional. Organizations have to organize. A healthy organization has contributions from all parties. A healthy marriage is a partnership. But somebody has to lead.
In fact you're assuming what you have to prove here. In a partnership between two adult human beings, I don't accept as given that one of the two must be a leader. On a particular issue? Sure, that makes sense. One partner might know a lot more about gardening than the other, and then the next month one partner may know a lot more about fishing or cars or cooking or painting. But to designate one person as the leader overall is a different question, and again stating that someone has to lead undercuts your claim that the leader doesn't have more power than those who are led.

quote:
The Ordain Women argument is not as simple as it sounds. Should women be able to hold top-level administrative positions? Yes, and they do. Is there some room for growth and change, some room for progression? I would THINK that there is. And this is where the group is good, to make us evaluate the way we look at things, at ourselves.
Well, no, they don't. We've already spoken about prophets, presidents, and members of the Quorum. We would not say of another group in a different instutition that they had 'top positions' if the topmost positions were forever barred to them.
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scifibum
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quote:
Maybe the answer is indious. From a logical perspective, to question the nature of priesthood and gender roles is to question god's essential plan of salvation. You can't do this and believe in doctrine at the same time. It's literally a fallacy.
I think this is a way of asserting that heterodoxy will not be tolerated, but there's been no demonstration that it can not be tolerated. There have been enough missteps and later-to-be-disavowed claims from the pulpit in the Church's past to make it a virtual certainty* that something that is currently held to be true by the orthodoxy is going to later be questioned and rejected as a misunderstanding.

Even if you don't see that as likely, there's pretty much NO justification for calling it impossible, considering all the changes in the past.

The gendered priesthood is here being called fundamental and impossible to disbelieve in if you believe in the rest of the doctrine. But the church president himself said it could change via revelation, so I don't understand why.

*(Except, maybe, that the church has grown incredibly more conservative in the past 100 years, and new revelations seem to be limited to things like infrastructure development, so maybe they've closed the canon after all...)

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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by MrSquicky:
quote:
Men who equate holding the priesthood to having administrative and political power inside the church organization are misunderstanding it the same way that women do who want the priesthood so they can be in charge.
But don't men hold preeminent administrative and political power inside the church organization?
They do. Not all men all at once, but yes, the key leadership positions in the church are held by men: bishop, stake president, and general authorities including the presidency of the church and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Women do hold prominent positions at the general church level and at the local level, and have enormous influence throughout, but the way the church is organized means administrative responsibilities and spiritual/ministering responsibilities are often concentrated into one position.
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Jake
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
Political power? The church doesn't really have internal politics like most organizations do.

: raises eyebrow :

I am incredibly skeptical of this claim.

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NobleHunter
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quote:
Political power? The church doesn't really have internal politics like most organizations do. People who aspire to obtain some position in the church are usually looked down on. We don't hold elections. Obtaining political influence is generally useless in the church. You get chosen to fill a specific role, and then you choose the people who assist you in filling that role (if applicable to the role). There's really very little political gamesmanship in the church's overall operation. Granted, my view is somewhat limited to what I've seen, but I haven't seen anything that one would be able to label as political. There are social cliques and gossip mills, sure, but those usually have little to no bearing on the actual operation of the church.
You say the church doesn't do internal politics and then you describe how the politics work. Just because there isn't any of the trappings of open political activity, it doesn't mean there isn't politics. For example: Cardinals who to aspire to be Pope are frowned upon, but there is still politics in choosing a Pope.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
The church doesn't really have internal politics like most organizations do.
I think any close observation of the LDS church would show that this is not the case. It is very political.
I don't think you could actually closely observe the LDS church without being a member, Tom, so pardon me if I completely dismiss your opinion.
Boris, please be sure to bear that in mind when you make an observation about any other group of people on Earth, particularly a religion.


Or women. (That was a little snarky. But on point.)
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quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
Afr,

quote:
The priesthood is the authority God gives to us to act in his name. It's not and shouldn't be considered the domain of men only. The whole purpose of men holding it is so it can readily bless the lives of everyone. Men who equate holding the priesthood to having administrative and political power inside the church organization are misunderstanding it the same way that women do who want the priesthood so they can be in charge.
It may remain out of reach for me, but I am having a very hard time imagining how what appears to be a straightforward contradiction can be reconciled. If only men can have the priesthood, and priesthood is the authority given to human beings by God to act in His name, then how can it be said that direct authority to act in the name of God isn't the domain of men, when it is anyone's domain at all?

quote:
The church is organized at the ward level to extend the benefits of the priesthood to everyone regardless of their status. While the pattern might be for every home to have a mother and father in it, obviously there are single mothers and single women without children without a priesthood holder in the home. That doesn't mean those women don't have access to the priesthood. Through the home teaching program especially, but also through ward leaders and association with ward members, they can and should have all the blessings of the priesthood they desire in their homes and lives.
Granted, but isn't it still true that men are necessary to access these blessings? There are in your faith if I'm not mistaken vitally important things which to be done require the priesthood, yes? A woman simply cannot, ever, do those things herself. A man may be able to do so someday, if he isn't already.

Well, answering your first question, at one point the priesthood was only held by the sons of Aaron. What the priesthood was used for then, as it is now, was to perform ordinances (rituals done to signify covenants being made between man and God) and to enable the people to receive specific blessings as desired. At many other points the priesthood was (in LDS belief) completely absent from the earth.

The priesthood is never the domain of men; it’s the power God gives to men to use only as God intends and never for a man’s own gain. I’m going to quote some LDS scripture at you now. This has been quoted many times on this board and is used closely within the church as a guideline for holding the priesthood:

Doctrine & Covenants 121: 34-40

34 Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen?
35 Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men, that they do not learn this one lesson—
36 That the rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven, and that the powers of heaven cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness.
37 That they may be conferred upon us, it is true; but when we undertake to cover our sins, or to gratify our pride, our vain ambition, or to exercise control or dominion or compulsion upon the souls of the children of men, in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or the authority of that man.
38 Behold, ere he is aware, he is left unto himself, to kick against the pricks, to persecute the saints, and to fight against God.
39 We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.
40 Hence many are called, but few are chosen.


First, it’s not anyone’s power but God’s, to be used on the behalf of everyone, not just a select few, and certainly not just for the one who holds the priesthood or the one in some prominent church position. As soon as anyone starts using it that way, it’s gone, and he’s left on his own.

In response to your second question. No, a woman wouldn’t be able to perform an ordinance or blessing that must be done through priesthood authority. A man who holds the priesthood has to do that. But two things: a man can’t perform an ordinance or blessing on himself, and women act with the authority of the priesthood as well as men. A man as well as a woman needs another priesthood holder present to receive a priesthood blessing, for example, and even a man who holds the priesthood can’t do certain things without authorization from priesthood leaders. In most cases, women have the same access to every benefit of the priesthood as men do.

Women in the church act all the time with priesthood authority. That authority is delegated to them in their callings and responsibilities both in the church and in the home. Men, even if they hold the priesthood themselves, function under no greater authority.

Here’s a quote from one of the Apostles, Dallin H. Oaks, from the recent general conference.

“We are not accustomed to speaking of women having the authority of the priesthood in their Church callings, but what other authority can it be? When a woman—young or old—is set apart to preach the gospel as a full-time missionary, she is given priesthood authority to perform a priesthood function. The same is true when a woman is set apart to function as an officer or teacher in a Church organization under the direction of one who holds the keys of the priesthood. Whoever functions in an office or calling received from one who holds priesthood keys exercises priesthood authority in performing her or his assigned duties.”

Here’s the link to his entire talk, because it explains everything you’re asking about a lot better than I can. This is actually very germaine to this entire thread.

https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2014/04/the-keys-and-authority-of-the-priesthood?lang=eng

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:


For those who are taking the view that Kate Kelly's excommunication was deserved, I'm wondering what you make of President Hinckley's remarks to the effect that female ordination was theoretically possible, but that there was no agitation for it?

[QUOTE]RB: At present women are not allowed to be priests in your Church. Why is that?

GBH: That’s right, because the Lord has put it that way. Now women have a very prominent place in this Church. They have there own organisation. Probably the largest women’s organisation in the world of 3.7 million members. There own ???. And the women of that organisation sit on Boards. Our Board of Education things of that kind. They counsel with us. We counsel together. They bring in insight that we very much appreciate and they have this tremendous organisation of the world where they grow and if you ask them they’ll say we’re happy and we’re satisfied.

RB: They all say that?

GBH: Yes. All except a oh you’ll find a little handful one or two here and there, but in 10 million members you expect that.

RB: You say the Lord has put it that way. What do you mean by that?

GBH: I mean that’s a part of His programme. Of course it is, yes.

RB: Is it possible that the rules could change in the future as the rules are on Blacks ?

GBH: He could change them yes. If He were to change them that’s the only way it would happen.

RB: So you’d have to get a revelation?

GBH: Yes. But there’s no agitation for that. We don’t find it. Our women are happy. They’re satisfied. These bright, able, wonderful women who administer their own organisation are very happy. Ask them. Ask my wife.

My first reaction to every time he said, "our women are happy" was to replace the word "women" with the word "darkie". Of course, it is not at all that extreme and I am sure that Mr. Hinckley is a lovely person, but honestly, the tone of it conjures a plantation owner with his thumbs in his suspenders talking about how there is no emancipation talk on his plantation!
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TomDavidson
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In related news, Cliven Bundy presumably continues to hold a priesthood.
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Gordon B. Hinckley was very much an optimist, which definitely colors the tone of his remarks. I find it impossible, personally, to imagine him as a suspender-thumbing plantation owner, but YMMV. He was also the president of the church and as such could actually speak about the church as a whole. I'm sure he was very well aware of what was going on in the church at that time, and so could make the statement that there was no major agitation for women to receive the priesthood at that time.
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umberhulk
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
In related news, Cliven Bundy presumably continues to hold a priesthood.

hail hydra
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kmbboots
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And Father Roy Bourgeois has been excommunicated and laicized. We all have work to do.

[ June 25, 2014, 05:03 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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Herblay
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If you're a believer, God's will isn't subject to the democracy of the people. Period.

Kate was asked to desist by local leadership. She was spearheading a public organization that sought to change (what the church believes to be) God's will. If she had deceased, she would have been treated differently.

People can mock the beliefs of others if they want. <shrug> It really is an internal church matter. But she could have found a better way to promote change. Some of the stuff she has done has been more than disrespectful.

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I'm sure if she had died she wouldn't have been excommunicated. [Wink]
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kmbboots
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I am not mocking. I am criticizing both of our Churches.

God's will is not subject to democracy but out understanding of God's will is certainly imperfect. Agitating for change is how we improve our understanding.

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Herblay:
If you're a believer, God's will isn't subject to the democracy of the people. Period.

Kate was asked to desist by local leadership. She was spearheading a public organization that sought to change (what the church believes to be) God's will. If she had deceased, she would have been treated differently.

People can mock the beliefs of others if they want. <shrug> It really is an internal church matter. But she could have found a better way to promote change. Some of the stuff she has done has been more than disrespectful.

The "Period" here has no utility unless it extends to "and the church leaders know God's will. Period."

There is precedent for dissenters in the church recognizing the need for change before the leaders get there, so it's problematic to assume that a dissenter is arguing against God's will. When God willed the church to change its racist priesthood restrictions, were the dissenters calling for this change arguing against God's will? Do you really believe that God's will was for the policy to last exactly as long as it lasted, and that timing wasn't influenced by anyone in the ranks pointing out a problem?

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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
quote:
Originally posted by Rakeesh:
quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
quote:
The church doesn't really have internal politics like most organizations do.
I think any close observation of the LDS church would show that this is not the case. It is very political.
I don't think you could actually closely observe the LDS church without being a member, Tom, so pardon me if I completely dismiss your opinion.
Boris, please be sure to bear that in mind when you make an observation about any other group of people on Earth, particularly a religion.


Or women. (That was a little snarky. But on point.)
Came back because I knew this was going to happen. I will absolutely refrain from suggesting that because I have "closely observed" another religion or race or gender that I have greater knowledge of the inner workings of that religion/race/gender than someone who belongs to that religion/race/gender. Do you see why I said that, now? I probably should have been more clear, but I needed to get back to work.

Unrelated, but is it a bad sign that i had to type this right handed because my left hand won't stop shaking?

ETA: I should clarify my statement about politics in the church. The important part of my statement was the word "like." By which I mean "Similar to" or "the same as". There is politics in the church, but it is very different from any other organization that I am aware of. We don't do things democratically. When someone is called to an office, either everyone accepts that calling, or the people who state that they don't approve of it are asked why (in private) and if their reasoning is sufficient that the person called is not worthy to fulfill the demands of that calling (due to some reason known only by the opposing individual) then the calling is rescinded. This rarely happens, and "I don't like them very much" is not sufficient reason to rescind a calling.

As for whether the priesthood determines who has power or authority in the church, I'll just defer to Joseph Smith:
quote:
We have learned by sad experience that it is the nature and disposition of almost all men, as soon as they get a little authority, as they suppose, they will immediately begin to exercise unrighteous dominion.

Hence many are called, but few are chosen.

No power or influence can or ought to be maintained by virtue of the priesthood , only by persuasion, by long-suffering, by gentleness and meekness, and by love unfeigned;

The priesthood does not determine a person's level of power or political influence. If a person uses a priesthood office to claim such, they are abusing their position, and it is something the church *does* struggle with. But no, having the priesthood, at the very least, shouldn't determine someone's value in the church. That people often think it does is one of the major problems with the social aspect of the church.

quote:
Do you really believe that God's will was for the policy to last exactly as long as it lasted, and that timing wasn't influenced by anyone in the ranks pointing out a problem?
Do you have any evidence that it was? I mean, I believe that the prophet and apostles are responsible for and have the ability to receive direct revelation from God on matters that affect the church as a whole. If I believe that then I should logically believe that the timing of that revelation was according to God's will. Also, members recognizing a need for change before the leaders make the change can happen, but they aren't really supposed to engage in a media blitz attacking the leaders of the church for not changing things. And also, there is significantly *more* precedent for the leaders of the church changing things well before the members recognize the need for such changes (See also: Polygamy, Word of Wisdom, moving to Utah, and a pretty long list of things).

Sorry for the additional edits. My hand just stopped shaking, so I can type now. (Seriously only started shaking when I tried to type with it. So annoying.)

[ June 25, 2014, 07:01 PM: Message edited by: Boris ]

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Samprimary
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Some pretty simple questions:

1. What are all the positions within the Mormon church that you cannot hold without being a man?

2. From the leader of the church downward, what is the absolute highest position of authority a woman can hold in the Mormon church?

3. Given the answers to #1 and #2, what is the Mormon church's answer to the charge that it is a fundamentally sexist organization? I'm sure it exists, I'm just curious about how they would possibly try to spin an answer to that one.

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scifibum
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I don't think the church would deny that it's sexist in the strict sense that it definitely believes in and practices discrimination on the basis of sex; it's just that they believe their patterns for doing so reflect a divine order.

I think if you read the Proclamation on the Family and this page https://www.lds.org/manual/the-latter-day-saint-woman-basic-manual-for-women-part-a/women-in-the-church/lesson-13-women-and-the-priesthood?lang=eng you'll have a fairly complete answer to how the church addresses this question.

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Samprimary
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quote:
I don't think the church would deny that it's sexist
I will guarantee you it will deny the concept wholeheartedly. Said Divine order somehow makes it ... not sexist somehow.

This has borne true when it's come to church PR, always, even holding the most obviously male supremacist ideas and policies (see: 'men are the head of the household and it is a woman's place to obey him'), they have reliably in all circumstances denied that the organization is sexist or male supremacist even when it is, in all reasonable readings, sexist and male supremacist.

I'm just interested in what particular ways the Mormon church in particular spins its own excuse.

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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
Some pretty simple questions:

1. What are all the positions within the Mormon church that you cannot hold without being a man?

2. From the leader of the church downward, what is the absolute highest position of authority a woman can hold in the Mormon church?

3. Given the answers to #1 and #2, what is the Mormon church's answer to the charge that it is a fundamentally sexist organization? I'm sure it exists, I'm just curious about how they would possibly try to spin an answer to that one.

1. The Prophet's Wife
2. The Prophet's Wife
3. Have you considered that God might not be as concerned about how men and women being assigned different roles and responsibilities might appear as you are? You know, assuming he exists. Which is where the issue lies.

If you do not belief that God exists, for what reason should I be asked to justify the practices of an organization that is grounded in the belief that there is a God? And for what reason should I ignore the leaders of that organization, which I do belong to, in deference to you? Why, exactly, do you act as though the church should be trying to win your approval?

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BlackBlade
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quote:
Originally posted by Jake:
quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
Political power? The church doesn't really have internal politics like most organizations do.

: raises eyebrow :

I am incredibly skeptical of this claim.

I think what Boris is saying is not that the LDS church has no internal politics whatsoever. But that it is almost impossible to put it on the same pedestal as say an investment bank.

The men who lead the church were *generally* at one time asked to be bishops, then stake presidents, and then members of the seventy.

But almost nobody in the church aspires to be a bishop and work their way up. If you said, "I want to be a general authority in the church" most people would frown and say that's not a very good goal, and that you should aspire to be whatever God calls you to be. The leaders of the church are reverenced by virtue of their offices not because they setup cults of personality. If say Boyd K Packer just up and left the church (he's next in line to be prophet) people would be shocked, but I'd be very surprised of more than a handful of members left the church as well.

To be a leader in the church is to spend increasingly more of your time in the service of others. That sort of lifestyle drastically cuts down on the sorts of people who would aspire to that.

But of course politics still happen, because people are people. My grandfather was carefully managed out of BYU by a general authority because this particular leader didn't like the things my grandfather was saying. But I would be very surprised if you could find many instances of somebody in church leadership say a bishop writing letters about the Stake President trying to get him released so he could fill that position. Honestly.

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
I don't think the church would deny that it's sexist
I will guarantee you it will deny the concept wholeheartedly. Said Divine order somehow makes it ... not sexist somehow.

This has borne true when it's come to church PR, always, even holding the most obviously male supremacist ideas and policies (see: 'men are the head of the household and it is a woman's place to obey him'), they have reliably in all circumstances denied that the organization is sexist or male supremacist even when it is, in all reasonable readings, sexist and male supremacist.

I'm just interested in what particular ways the Mormon church in particular spins its own excuse.

They'd probably demur at the term, yes, but my point is that they openly discriminate on the basis of sex, and as to the spin, the two documents I mentioned are pretty much how they address the topic.

The official church websites seem to completely lack any official response to the question of "is the church sexist". I'm relatively certain that if it came up at a press conference or in some other confrontation, the answer would be to repeat the talking points I mentioned, not to provide a simple yes or no answer.

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
If you do not belief that God exists, for what reason should I be asked to justify the practices of an organization that is grounded in the belief that there is a God?

Can you think of some answers to this question for yourself? I assure you, they're rather easy to come by, even if I'm curious how you would answer that question.

As for the questions I posed, I think you possibly only answered one of them, #2. You completely did not answer 1 and 3. What powers does the Prophet's wife have within the structure of the Mormon church? Does the Mormon church rank the wife of the prophet as the #2 most powerful person within the Mormon church's heirarchy? If no, what other positions are more powerful than her?

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scifibum
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quote:
But of course politics still happen, because people are people. My grandfather was carefully managed out of BYU by a general authority because this particular leader didn't like the things my grandfather was saying. But I would be very surprised if you could find many instances of somebody in church leadership say a bishop writing letters about the Stake President trying to get him released so he could fill that position. Honestly.
Hmm, but in office politics you don't write letters to the VP trying to get your director fired so you can fill that position. You might write the letter, but you couch it differently. I'm certain that there are lots of examples of going over a mid-level leader's head with concerns in the LDS church.

I'm certain there are ladder climbers. They are smart enough not to be openly ambitious about it.

But aside from that specific kind of ladder climbing, there are things like the timing of the 1978 revelation on the priesthood - there was some political maneuvering involved in that. There are efforts to protect or polish the public image of the leaders. Etc.

What Boris was trying to express, frankly, was reverence for the unique humility of the church leaders.

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Wingracer
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How quickly would church doctrine change if all women decided they no longer wished to be in it as it is and refused to marry Mormon men? I suspect a revelation would come quite quickly then.
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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:

If you do not belief that God exists, for what reason should I be asked to justify the practices of an organization that is grounded in the belief that there is a God? And for what reason should I ignore the leaders of that organization, which I do belong to, in deference to you? Why, exactly, do you act as though the church should be trying to win your approval?

Thesame reason any organization,religious or otherwise, has for justifying objectionable practices. Muslims don't get pass because they believe something is God's will. I don't expect Catholics should either. No one is demanding that you stop listening to your leaders merely suggesting that you listen critically. If that. Some of us are just expressing opinions.

[ June 25, 2014, 09:38 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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MattP
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quote:
I don't think you could actually closely observe the LDS church without being a member, Tom, so pardon me if I completely dismiss your opinion.
I'm skipping everything else to address this - I've never been a member, but I've lived in Utah for 20+ years and am married to a member. I've spent the bulk of my adult life in and around the church. I have *worked for the church* in the Riverton office building, complete with enjoying a prayer at the beginning of each daily standup meetings on a team of engineers (yes, really) that make small-talk throughout the day about their favorite prophets and scriptures (yes, really).

Of course there is politics. Lots of politics. Any organization with a hierarchy of responsibilities and opportunities to gain and share esteem has politics and the church has it in spades. It's actually a little *worse* in this environment because you don't just have "work politics" stuff as an employee of the church, but you get something very similar down the ward/stake level, where people gain status through church callings in a structure that resembles a corporate one - except that in actual corporations you'll occasionally get a female manager with significant authority. It's office politics with your neighbors as coworkers.

[ June 25, 2014, 09:34 PM: Message edited by: MattP ]

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MattP
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quote:
Originally posted by Wingracer:
How quickly would church doctrine change if all women decided they no longer wished to be in it as it is and refused to marry Mormon men? I suspect a revelation would come quite quickly then.

It likely would come along fairly quickly. I'd have to go digging for sources, but I recall the issue of polygamy was discussed by the then-prophet as being a situation that meant choosing between honoring a commandment and having the church be eliminated and then - surprise - new revelation. Similarly the revelation about blacks occurred soon after it was no longer socially acceptable for blacks to be discriminated against.

A previous prophet has already said that God could give the priesthood to women so anyone who now claims that a male-only priesthood is an eternal principle (and somehow more eternal than polygamy was) has some explaining to do.

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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
If you do not belief that God exists, for what reason should I be asked to justify the practices of an organization that is grounded in the belief that there is a God?

Can you think of some answers to this question for yourself? I assure you, they're rather easy to come by, even if I'm curious how you would answer that question.

As for the questions I posed, I think you possibly only answered one of them, #2. You completely did not answer 1 and 3. What powers does the Prophet's wife have within the structure of the Mormon church? Does the Mormon church rank the wife of the prophet as the #2 most powerful person within the Mormon church's heirarchy? If no, what other positions are more powerful than her?

The church doesn't view people as being *powerful* in respect to what they do in the church. Let's just start with that (perhaps if you'd actually read through all of my previous comments you would have noticed where I said that). And you know what? The prophet's wife had more say in him being prophet than the prophet himself. If she had said no when he was called to be an apostle, he never would have been an apostle, even if he wanted to. So she's not actually number 2. She's number 1, right next to the prophet. That's how it actually works in the church. Not everyone in the church realizes that, and almost no one outside of the church does.

As to my question to you about why you think the church should have your approval, you're gonna have to answer it for me. Because frankly, I don't ever give a crap about the beliefs of other religions. I rarely comment on discussions focused on other religions, because 1. I don't belong to those religions and don't presume to know enough about their beliefs to comment. 2. I don't think those religions are true, so my opinion about their practices is pretty biased anyway.

As to politics. You cannot advance in the church the way you advance in work, political office, or any other thing people outside the church are familiar with. A person doesn't have to be a bishop to be a stake president, nor do they have to be a stake president to be an area authority. If a stake president dies, moves away, or otherwise is no longer able to continue being Stake president, there is no one who is "next in line" to become the Stake President. His counselors take over his responsibilities for a period if he dies, but all other situations result in someone else being called to the position and there is absolutely nothing that a person can do to guarantee that they will be the next stake president. The church's leadership hierarchy is not something you can aspire and politic your way up.

As an example, my father is probably one of if not the most popular and well known men in the Stake where I grew up. He's been a bishop three times, was on the stake high council for a couple years, and was a councilor in the stake presidency for 4 or 5 years. He was released as bishop in January and called to be an adviser to the deacons (he teaches the priesthood class for the two 12-13 year old boys in his ward). He's happy as he can be with that.

Also, MattP, I can see how working in a paid administrative position in the church is political. But you were *hired* to fill that position and paid to do it. That's the part of the church that is political, because that actually is a work environment where accomplishments result in raises and stuff. And there are men and women in all kinds of positions at church headquarters. Having the priesthood doesn't enter into someone's ability to advance there. So, not exactly the best example of politics in the church.

And things can get political in wards and stakes, sure. But when they do, it's usually a sign that the leadership in that area isn't doing its job properly.

quote:
Similarly the revelation about blacks occurred soon after it was no longer socially acceptable for blacks to be discriminated against
Yep...14 years after the civil rights act was signed sure counts as "soon."
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TomDavidson
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quote:
If she had said no when he was called to be an apostle, he never would have been an apostle, even if he wanted to. So she's not actually number 2. She's number 1, right next to the prophet.
I would argue that the ability to prevent someone from holding high office does not in fact mean that you have as much power as the person in high office.

quote:
there is absolutely nothing that a person can do to guarantee that they will be the next stake president
Have you never actually observed the culture of which you are a part? Let's make this less personal for you, to hopefully help with perspective: do you believe that there are no politics involved in the administration of the Catholic church?
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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
The church doesn't view people as being *powerful* in respect to what they do in the church. Let's just start with that (perhaps if you'd actually read through all of my previous comments you would have noticed where I said that). And you know what? The prophet's wife had more say in him being prophet than the prophet himself. If she had said no when he was called to be an apostle, he never would have been an apostle, even if he wanted to. So she's not actually number 2. She's number 1, right next to the prophet. That's how it actually works in the church. Not everyone in the church realizes that, and almost no one outside of the church does.

So you are going to go on record saying that the wife of the prophet is exactly as powerful and important to the church as the leader of the church himself? That she is of equal clerical, fiscal, ritual, and decision-making authority in the Church of the Latter Day Saints?

quote:
As to my question to you about why you think the church should have your approval, you're gonna have to answer it for me. Because frankly, I don't ever give a crap about the beliefs of other religions.
That's irrelevant to the question. No other religion has to come into play. You honestly can't, even if you could sit down and think about it, come up with any reason, no matter how hypothetical, figure out a reason, any reason at all, why a person who happens not to believe that a God exists would want someone to justify actions that a religious organization takes, no matter whether the justification is that it's God's will? Would you confirm that this is, actually not something you CAN conceive of?

quote:
The church's leadership hierarchy is not something you can aspire and politic your way up.
I would bet any and all money I have that this is not true, because it seems like a completely impossible bet to lose. Given the universals of all hierarchical human power models and structures, it's impossible to expect that it is perfectly proof and immune from politicking your way up the chain. You yourself even acknowledge this, by recognizing the existence of such politics in some wards and stakes. Are you so positive it ends in those regional areas, completely, without a hint of politics higher up the chain? Either way, you've just acknowledged a regional fast-track in local areas and, by extension, conclusive evidence that the system is not immune to politics, not proof from people aspirationally fast-tracking themselves.
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Jon Boy
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quote:
Originally posted by Boris:
2. The Prophet's Wife

Really? Really? When was the last time the prophet's wife received revelation for the Church, or issues a statement to be read over the pulpit in all the wards of the Church, or spoke in conference, or, frankly, did anything besides simply being married to the prophet?

The real highest position that a woman can attain in the Church is the general Relief Society president. And if you think that position has a lot of authority, I suggest you read this.

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