The Conservative Mormon View on Female Ordination

I had big plans to not write a post for Times And Seasons this Monday ’cause trying to write a really good post every week is actually getting tricky with all the other things I’ve got going on. But apparently the 6 months or so of weekly posting have ingrained the habit so deeply I can’t stop even when I want to. Or, in other words, I got all fired up by a discussion on the T&S backlist (an email list for the permanent bloggers) and just had to write a post. So, I did.

The interesting thing is that after finishing this long, drawn-out analysis of female ordination someone posted this article that made me wonder what all the fuss is about. It’s an article from the Pew Research Center from back in October 2013 that’s actually delving into data from a 2011 survey of over 1,000 Mormons that found (among many other things) that support for female ordination is really low.

2014-01-13 Female Ordination Poll

I have to admit that after seeing that I thought (1) why did I just waste so much time and effort over what is apparently a non-issue outside the bloggernaccle and (2) wow, blogging can really skew your perspective.

There are some proponents of female ordination who think that these numbers are disproportionately low because faithful Mormons won’t support something that the leaders haven’t approved. As Alison Moore Smith wrote on the comments to my post at Times And Seasons:

If/when the priesthood ban on women is lifted, I expect to find a few curmudgeons who just can’t believe the heresy of it all while everyone else is rejoicing in the street and “suddenly” embracing the the new policy.

I understand where she’s coming from, but I don’t really agree. I think it would be perfectly reasonable for a faithful Mormon to answer “yes” to the question despite supporting their leaders who are saying “no” thus far. The whole premise of the Ordain Women movement, after all, is that members can faithfully agitate for change. And that’s what 4% of the high religious commitment folks are doing. I really don’t think there’s a significant proportion f the 95% of high religious commitment folks who are just waiting for leaders to lift the “ban” (I don’t agree with that term) to run out and celebrate in the streets.

That doesn’t make me feel any sense of smugness, by the way. It makes me feel really sad for the folks out there who are really hurting over this issue. I think female ordination is a bad idea, but I really empathize with some of those who look to it as a solution to genuine problems and genuine heartache.