As reported by the Deseret News, the Ordain Women’s movement received a letter from the Public Affairs Department of the LDS Church, signed by Jessica Moody, whose name I did not recognize as a spokesperson for the Church. The crux of the letter, when it is peeled back is three-fold:
- No, you cannot have tickets to the Priesthood Session for this coming April General Conference. You are welcome to watch it on TV or over the Internet, if you wish.
- Since we have heard you are planning a demonstration during that time, you are welcome to have that demonstration in the free speech area and not on Temple Square grounds, where media is not allowed either. The Free Speech area is outside the walls of Temple Square and where those critical of the Church normally congregate during General Conference and other times events are held. This is, I presume, to avoid the confrontation from last October. It also makes them subject to arrest, if asked to leave.
- They were invited to attend the the Women’s Meeting to be held the week before, with all their other Sisters. Probably not a well-received invitation in light of what this is all about.
So, it appears the Church is taking a position on this movement and it is a public one. So what is next, a trip to the Stake President for the leaders of the movement? And, what of their small, but vocal supporters? What will they do? I have seen some postings that more women are definitely going to the demonstration.
As of this afternoon, there was nothing of a response on the Ordain Women website, but in the Deseret News article, Kate Kelly basically said they will continue with their efforts and not back off. She seemed a little put off that they were being directed to the free speech area. “”It’s striking they would direct us to the free-speech zones,” Kelly said. “We feel as faithful, active Mormon women we have nothing in common with people who oppose the church and want to protest against it. The church is its members. We aren’t against the church, we are the church.”
That, of course, is in the eye of the beholder. The article went on to cite a Pew Research poll in 2011 that stated 90% of LDS women opposed the ordination of women to the priesthood. It would be interesting to see that poll re-done now. People’s minds seem to change quickly these days and the polltakers and the Church might be surprised.
Certainly, Jessica Moody has no authority to issue this letter on her own nor does she have any ecclesiastical authority either. So, the question is,
Will the leaders of this movement be called into to talk to their bishop and/or Stake President prior to General Conference and what do you think the outcome might be?