A new website, Agitating Faithfully, provides a forum for Latter-day Saints to be counted in their support for gender equality. At the site, members of the Church can sign their name and ward to show that they support extending the priesthood to women.  Below is some information about the site:

Agitating Faithfully was inspired by Pres. Hinckley’s statement that women could possibly receive the priesthood, which he followed with, “but there there’s no agitation for that.” Perhaps if we take the prophet at his word, we could receive the blessings he suggests are available.

The story behind the site — A while ago, my oldest daughter (five years old) asked me, “Why don’t girls get the priesthood?” I had no good response. We have no scriptures or revelations prohibiting women from the priesthood. In fact, we believe in a God who “denieth none that come unto him, black and white, bond and free, male and female…and all are alike unto God” (2 Nephi 26:33). I hope my daughters have the opportunity to receive the same blessings, privileges, and responsibilities as my son. This site is my attempt to work toward that hope in a way that is consonant with both the gospel and the church.

What can I do on AF? — Add your name to the list of church members who support gender equality. You can do that by creating an account at http://agitatingfaithfully.org/new-account . Once you have an account, you can also respond to questions on the site at http://agitatingfaithfully.org/questions .

Do you really think AF will change the church’s policy regarding the priesthood? — No.

Then what’s the point? –– Two points. First, solidarity. I hope that encouraging feminists in the church to “come out” publicly will help other members with similar perspectives who feel alone discover that they really are not alone — and perhaps even inspire them with the confidence to express their own beliefs. Second, I want my daughters to know how I feel. In a sense, this project is my testimony to them, that I feel they deserve the same blessings and opportunities that are available to the men in the church.

This isn’t a place for airing grievances. It isn’t a place to bash the church, its leaders, or its members. It’s not a protest or activist movement in the traditional sense. It’s just a place for people to stand up and be counted in the continuing conversation about gender equality in the church.

Who can I ask if I have any questions? — danelaverty@gmail.com

If you go to the site, you  may see that I, Bored in Vernal, have signed my real name and my ward. This is not something I generally do. In fact, I’m not quite sure why I did it now. I don’t know if I even believe in extending the LDS Priesthood to women. There’s a bit of gender essentialism in my feminist thinking. I conceive a female “Priestesshood” as being different than male Priesthood in its manifestations. And I haven’t cogently formulated in my mind exactly what this means. But I do feel that gender equality in the Church is not where it should be. I think that Joseph Smith’s vision of women in the early church has not been optimized. I’d like to give some support to the effort to maximize leadership opportunities among LDS women. And I want to see what President Hinckley meant by saying that women could possibly receive the Priesthood.

I put up this post to start a discussion on the type of activism represented by this website. The past couple of years has seen similar projects such as Mormons For Marriage, What Women Know, Seeking Forgiveness, Signing for Something. No one really believes this grass-roots type of agitating will change LDS policy, do they? And yet, in the long run, I believe it may have some effect upon the collective Mormon attitude toward equality.

One of the questions asked on the site is: Aren’t you afraid of retribution from the church for agitating for change?” It is true that in the past, I have been afraid. I do value my membership in the Church and I don’t want this action to have repercussions. But as a participant in the Bloggernacle, I’ve come to see that enough people feel strongly about this issue that I doubt that any of us will be redressed for our support.

Will you sign this petition?  Why or why not?