What Does Ordain Women Really Want?

Disclaimer: If you do not like sarcasm, you may find it difficult to get through this. I understand your point of view. But please note that I sass with love.

I recently stumbled upon the idea, from an OW supporter, that the OW movement simply wants the prophet to pray about Mormon women in the priesthood. They just want some updated revelation. This was of course surrounded by others saying that women “need” the priesthood for eternal progression (I won’t quibble about that today) and women have the “right” to the priesthood (ditto). However, let’s take for a moment the idea that all that OW wants is for the prophet to hear their concerns and pray on their worries. Let’s say that all the people who say women need, want, and have the right to the priesthood are just miscommunicating their desire to get the prophet to pray for revelation. There is a scriptural tradition for such requests in ancient and modern texts.

In this case, I hate to tell you, but OW you are going about it in all the wrong ways. Nate Oman discussed to this in his poorly received (at least by OW) article on why the movement is currently set up for failure. But I can tell you one reason why you are doing it wrong: I had no idea you just wanted more revelation. In fact, I thought you only wanted one particular revelation, if that, otherwise you just wanted ordinations to begin yesterday.

Oo, somethings not right here.
Oo, somethings not right here.

Now, I may just start rehashing some of the things Nate and my husband have already said, but I hope I can bring a little more to the discussion. First of all, I am a woman, so my anatomy does not disqualify me from disagreeing with other women (truth). Secondly, I have children, so I speak for all mothers (sarcasm). Third, I am getting my PhD in a science, so I am liberated, intellectual, academic, and logical, and I speak for all the people who are or prefer those things (again, sarcasm). I also grew up in a household that was technically without the priesthood: yes my mom was a working single mother, I was the product of, whisper it with me now, divorce, and there were no boys to hold up the mantle. (But I could go on and go on about the many incredible, humbling, and teaching ways the priesthood blessed my family, headed by a divorced single mother with cancer, but I will save that for next time.)

Let me explain how the OW movement looks through the eyes of this tired, stressed-out mother and PhD student, who grew up in a completely imperfect Mormon home located in the South. I realize that many people are invested in this movement, and any negative thing I say will sting. I understand. When I received the first draft of my Honors thesis back from my undergraduate advisor, which looked like he had gleefully bled all over every. single. page. I was devastated; like someone had handed me back my baby and said, “Actually, she’s hideous.” So with that in mind, I say, the OW movement appears to be a media-hungry enterprise that cares more about acceptance from the world than working together with the everyday Mormon woman and is solely seeking for everyone, including the prophet, to confirm that its opinions are right. Phew, I know, that came out strong. Commence picking it apart!

Really though, I’m not saying this is what the movement is, or that any particular member feels that way. But, overall, this is how it appears to me. When you have the media discussing what is a very personal and spiritual part of doctrine, when there are more spotlights on Kate Kelly than I can count, when you don’t go through the grass root efforts of talking with sisters who disagree (or at least don’t talk to them kindly or with respect), when you reciprocate the church’s “I’m a Mormon” campaign for a cause, when you have members who very much appear to be making demands (beyond asking for a prayer) from the prophet, it makes me very uncomfortable.

I think part of the problem is that a grass roots effort, something akin to a letter writing campaign, would appear to have much less effect than if we can get the NYT talking about it (although I truly believe the prophet would respond to a heartfelt call from the sisters). As statistics have shown, Mormon women, in general, don’t want the priesthood. Most women see it more as a responsibility and less as an opportunity, and we’ve already got a lot on our plates. There may even be some women who take a don’t-tempt-fate attitude towards asking for the priesthood. I know sometimes I avoid praying for service when I’m really busy, sometimes I do it anyway because I don’t know how I’ll survive without the blessings providing services brings. And I know recently when our family had some financial struggles, we were blessed not with our dollar stretching further, but with the opportunity to stretch our work hours even longer.

So, OW, if you really want to be the messengers for women who just want the prophet to request revelation, I have a few suggestions for you.

First, unify your message. Don’t get caught up in what the world wants to say about the oppression of women in our completely backwards (to them) religion. Don’t demand, plead. The Lord cares about your pains and your desires, but it’s hard for some of us other Mormons to understand what you’re really asking for, if simple revelation is really what you want. In fact, I could maybe get behind a simple desire for a current prophetic response, if I’m in an OK-to-tempt-fate mood. And there is common ground between us for more sensible participation by women throughout the church, regardless of our desire for the priesthood.

Second, ban the hate-filled comments towards those who disagree. It may be true that some of us don’t understand what you are really asking for, but that doesn’t mean we just don’t know what’s best for us. That doesn’t mean we don’t understand our place in the world, the church, and our home. That doesn’t mean we don’t care about you or are distracted by some nebulous patriarchy. We are strong, loyal, and faithful women trying to make it right for our families through this crazy world. We are all in this together, even if we don’t always agree on the same means.

Finally, turn your purpose to service. If women are hurting and they feel having the priesthood will solve that hurt, help us help them. Help us alleviate their pain and suffering. We can’t give them the priesthood, but we can serve them. Please, teach us how to serve these women, and let us serve you. It has to go beyond a catchy “How Not to Speak to Mormon Feminists” and into actual deep caring for one another. The Relief Society has all the potential to allow us to constantly uplift each other, let’s harness that across the divide of OW.

Let me share my light and love with you.
Let me share my light and love with you.

When do children learn right from wrong?

Inspired by the recent arrests of two teens for bullying a girl until she committed suicide and remembering that I have read articles describing a shift in the brain at 8 years old that allows for moral judgement as well as different learning abilities (of course I can not find those now!), I stumbled across this article about moral development in children.


There’s lots of interesting things in here that present a very complicated picture of kids who do terrible things but who have not matured. What do you do with them? How do you hold them responsible? How do you get them to mature?  What do we do about a cycle of immature children having children?

I particularly thought this was interesting (forgive the 90s rhetoric):

Drug abuse delays development, Farrow says, because, “If kids are high all the time . . . they’re not very future oriented; they tend to stay concrete, and not see the consequences of their actions.”

Dropping out of school and hanging out with “deadheads going nowhere,” he says, means children don’t get any intellectual challenge. That means that, although their brains are ready to develop the capacity for critical thinking, they don’t get trained to do so.

The problem from hell: Syria

So far the best report I’ve found on the mess that is Syria comes from, surprisingly, an opinion piece at CNN.  In it Peter Bergen reminds us that

Whoever ultimately prevails in this fight is hardly going to be an ally of the U.S. It’s an ungodly mess that makes even Iraq in 2006 look good. It is, in short, a problem from hell.

Bergen also discusses the complex legal issues of America entering the fight in Syria and the fact that we’re essentially guaranteed to enter at this point.

Another piece from The Independent brings in the fact that we’ll be fighting against al-Qaeda in Yemen and Pakistan, but with them in Syria.  It doesn’t even mention that fact that we took out al-Qaeda’s leader just two years ago.  It will be interesting to see if the we were on the same side but didn’t directly give weapons controversy will play out again.

From time.com.
From time.com.

92% Down Syndrome Babies Aborted


Ok, this isn’t a new statistic.  In fact, the video I watched (below) that sparked this post is almost a year old.  But it’s something I think about a lot because it just makes me so sad.  Eugenics is horrifying, and we need to talk about it, and we need to give women support who get these diagnoses.

I particularly loved this comment on a LifeSiteNews article about the video:

it’s so odd that people want “perfect” children, I was briefly pregnant at age 46 (had a miscarriage) and had refused pre-natal testing because by then my other children were teenagers and I had learned there is no pre-natal test for tantrums, bed-wetting, climbing out on the roof, jumping out of 2nd story windows, driving 89 mph in a 40 zone, driving a car 15 miles without oil, failing math or physics, losing a brand new Starter jacket, or pooping on the sidewalk after church. There is no prenatal test for any of that, so why bother?  No child is perfect!

Watch the ESPN video below about a marathon runner who wanted his wife to choose abortion when their second daughter was diagnosed with Down and instead learned a lesson about perfection.

Should all medical procedures be safe?

George Weigel has an excellent piece over at First Things, On Really Not Getting it.  In it, Weigel discusses media and abortion advocate’s disgust at having any safety regulations on abortion procedures, responds to a WaPo piece that claims, after Gosnell, the evidence of a need for any such safety regulations “is weak,” and makes a few other great points surrounding the debate.

It’s all good (please read it!!), but one of my favorite parts is this:

Marcus noted that, irrespective of what was happening in state capitols, a 1973 Gallup Poll “found 64 percent agreeing ‘that the decision to have an abortion should be made solely by a woman and her physician.’” And here is another of the canards of Those Who Really Don’t Get It.  The abortion decision is most frequently made, not by a woman and “her physician,” but by a frightened woman talking with a “counselor” in a clinic run by an agency like Planned Parenthood, which has a deep financial interest in abortion. That frightened woman, who has often been abandoned by an irresponsible man, is then remanded to an abortion “provider” who is no more “her physician” than he or she is “her hairdresser.”

Bam.  Here’s the link again, so you can check the whole thing out.

& without sanitary conditions!

Little Boys Like Guns

Don’t be afraid. It’s just a poptart. Also, your son is not a sociopath.

Time recently published a compelling article on how zero tolerance policies and teacher and parent aversion to action-packed boy play is hindering the social, verbal and academic (and possibly other) development of little boys.

At the same time that more and more research has shown that creative play is essential to childhood development, policies have been decreasing the amount of acceptable pretend play.  From redirecting superhero play (but not princess play for girls) to draconian policies that suspend or expel very young children for merely making a gun with their hands or other harmless object, we are robbing boys of essential growth.

If you’re one of those parents who doesn’t allow toy guns at home, maybe the next time you think “Oh no! Are my boys too violent?” because they want to play cops and robbers you should instead rethink “Oh yes! My boys are so creative.”

Medical Marijuana & Legalization

This is not a peer-reviewed picture.

This subject probably deserves a longer post (as in I could probably spend 5000 words discussing the “things the government doesn’t want you to know” hooey), but I’m going to stick to pointing out my biggest takeaways from CNN’s Marijuana stops child’s severe seizures.

In countdown mode:

3. Charlotte had 300 (300!) seizures a week, and was able to control them down to 2-3 a month with a treatment of marijuana.  This is amazing and remarkable.  This, however, does not prove that the government is hiding a marijuana cure-all from us.  It also does not prove that using marijuana has absolutely no side-effects.  (Gynecomastia, anyone?)  I’m hoping with some state legalization we’ll finally get peer-reviewed research into what marijuana can actually do.

2. Great medical uses of marijuana do not indicate a need to legalize recreational use of marijuana.  Lots of heavy-duty pain medications are controlled substances, and there’s no reason at this point to assume which category marijuana should fall.

1. A special low-THC marijuana was grown for Charlotte, as she is only 6.  THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.  So, sorry stoners, it might turn out that getting high is unnecessary to whatever good medical uses marijuana may provide beyond merely treating symptoms.  I think this topic would be most interesting first dive into academic research of the drug.


You're not helping your cause.
You’re not helping your cause.  “Although it is undisputed that smoking of marijuana plant material causes a fall in intraocular pressure (IOP) in 60% to 65% of users, continued use at a rate needed to control glaucomatous IOP would lead to substantial systemic toxic effects revealed as pathological changes.”

Hide Your Eyes… There Be Breastfeeding!

In an aptly named blog post, We must stop these crazed half naked psychopaths from feeding their children in front of other people!, one father discusses the country’s crazy aversion to breastfeeding.


Do you feel awkward around a breastfeeding mom?  No worries!  Our society has conditioned us to think of the breast as a sex object.  Sex object + innocent baby + dinner time = weirdness!

In that moment of awkwardness, just remind yourself: this is in no way about sex.  This is just a mom caring for her baby.  It’s natural and beautiful. Eventually, your neural pathways will reroute and maybe you won’t feel even a twinge of awkwardness.