I am one who has struggled mightily with female roles in the Church and in eternity, yet I have a VERY hard time being sympathetic to Ordain Women as a movement. Most individuals who have aligned themselves with that group, I sympathize and even empathize with. I have gone to the mattresses on many of those same issues many times. I am not known for my reticence in speaking up.
There is nothing new about Ordain Women. They have organized together in direct, open, and unapologetic opposition to the Church. I'm not going to pick apart their claims to faithfulness and belief in priesthood authority while publicly opposing that authority. There is really no need, it's obvious enough. I also have no doubt that there are well-meaning people caught up in the smoke and mirrors. But I personally don't have a very long rope when it comes to that brand of deception, conscious or not. I'm all too well acquainted with it.
I have worked with (and on) multiple priesthood leaders over my years, fighting to be allowed to do things my way. I have a long line of missionary leaders who can attest to my ability to be defiant. As I have aged, I've learned something from my battles (some of them quite loud and verbal.) The men of the priesthood aren't, as a group, suppressing anyone. And the leadership of the Church, especially the prophets and apostles, are humble and teachable men. Their primary concern is us, the sheep of the Savior. Their entire lives are spent thinking about, working for, and praying over our salvation. I admire that deeply. My fondest wish would be to once again be allowed to learn at their feet, personally. They know my Savior in a way of which I only dream.
It is deeply and personally offensive when people use aggressive political tactics against these men.
I am not one, however, to let my personal offense turn me into someone who lashes out at well-meaning individuals, particularly those who are acting out of pain or fear. And there are a great many of those souls aligning themselves with Ordain Women. It is with these women that I wish I could speak, free of the political overtones of activism. I wish I could just sit down and listen to them, share some of the things I have learned and done in my own struggles. Feast upon the word of Christ together, partake of the healing power of the Spirit as One before Him.
I wish I could share that Ordain Women is only one way, and not the most effective, to get the ear of the servants of God. True, it is probably the fastest way. But it is not potent to effect change.
As much as such feminists like to claim the credit for the recent changes being made in the Church, it is clear to me from Sister Beck's talks, for just one of many examples, that the groundwork to make changes in the Church was already being laid by faithful, prominent LDS women before Ordain Women was even established. The conversations were happening long before the media stunts. She entreated us to live up to our power and potential as daughters of God. She hinted at the vast stores of knowledge waiting for us to rise to meet them. I know, as surely as I can know anything, that there is endless power available to us as women. Female divine power. And the keys to unlocking that power lie in the Relief Society.
I never thought I'd say that.
I'm not a fan of Relief Society. I dislike crafting and the endless parade of meals and dull lessons. I have struggled almost as much with the Relief Society as I did Young Women's. But there is no doubt in my mind that the lack in the Relief Society is because we are not living up to its potential, not because we aren't ordained to offices in the Priesthood.
I can't give the details as to how and why. Not here and not now. But I can speak with every ounce of fervency in me that the answers desired by those who are campaigning for women's ordination are NOT found there. They are found in Relief Society. All the keys and powers you could possibly wish for are waiting for us. Yes, I have personally been slapped down by priesthood oversight in the past. That is a real, damaging problem. But the goal is not to meet the men on the priesthood ground. The goal is to train both men and women to work as a team, in perfect and diverse unity.
I wish I could say everything that is churning through my heart right now, but I can't.
All I can say is there is another way. Please seek it. The Lord is waiting for us.