While I don’t intend to resurrect a big argument over whether or not women should or ever will get the priesthood, there are many who would agree that women can provide and even deserve a greater leadership role in the church.
Today, I heard a radio discussion about the life, times, and legacy of Thomas S Monson, and there was a lot of comment about this. A few of the commenters were saying that Pres Monson (or his administration) had ignored the wishes of the women of the church in his refusal to give them the priesthood.
First of all, I don’t know how many women are (or are not) interested in full priesthood ordinations. I have heard many women comment that they would like to get more respect and leadership within the church, even if that doesn’t include the actual ordinations.
While the church is very, very traditional, and change moves very slowly, I’ve noticed something that was put into place during Pres. Monson’s leadership which, I think, will be marked as the starting point toward this respect and position.
When they announced the change in the age of missionary service, two things happened. One, a lot more young men signed up immediately. That’s not a surprise. Get going right out of high school, then go on to college afterward. There was another thing, however, that happened, and that was that many, many more young women signed up for missions.
Missions are often training grounds wherein young Mormons learn the commitment and service necessary for church leadership. Many more young women will now be going through this. As they grow up and mature, they will do so within the existing structures to be able to step into greater leadership roles.
Also, and this is going to be a critical part of that equation, the young men who serve with them will grow up seeing them more as equals in service (over time), and will likely (on the whole) grow into treating them more as equals.
This will take time, of course. It won’t happen as fast as the activists want. I do see it as a natural part of the growth of the church, and this simple policy change could very well drive that growth.
Mark has a lifelong testimony of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormon Church). Mark also has other sites and blogs, including MarkHansenMusic.com and his Dutch Oven blog.