The word chasm (pronounced CA-zum) has been defined as fissure or deep hole. Some synonyms for it are gorge, abyss, canyon, ravine, gully, and crevasse. It comes from the Greek word khasma that means “yawning hollow, gulf.” A chasm can take place in the surface of the earth, rock, or other surface; the word can also be used to define a problem among people, such as a difference in opinions, viewpoints, or feelings.
I am saddened and disappointed about chasm that appears to be opening among my sisters, the women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, concerning women and the priesthood. I believe this abyss is the work of Satan in an attempt to prevent women – and their husbands and children – from walking back into the presence of God.
I am saddened to realize that some of my sisters feel like they need to make changes to the Church of Jesus Christ and consider themselves to be feminists. (I could never identify myself as a feminist even though I believe everyone should be treated fairly but not necessarily the same.) I am saddened to know that these women are willing to publicly oppose the living prophet about the doctrine outlined by the Lord. I am saddened to know that they are on the road to apostasy. I know the priesthood brethren will patiently work with them and that the women will be allowed to exercise their full agency. I am especially saddened to know that, if they continue down this road, they will lose their membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as well as all the blessings bestowed upon members by God. This makes me very sad because I know that it happened to another woman who opposed the Church publicly.
Sonia Johnson was a fifth-generation Mormon. She was a feminist who became an outspoken supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in 1977. She co-founded an organization called Mormons for ERA. She became nationally known after she testified in 1978 in front of the United States Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Property Rights. She continued “promoting the ERA and denouncing” The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ opposition to the ERA.
The leaders of the Church opposed the ERA because they believed the amendment would be bad for women generally and individually. As I understand it, Johnson was given several opportunities to change her behavior but remained defiant. The Church “began disciplinary proceedings against Johnson after she delivered a scathing speech entitled `Patriarchal Panic: Sexual Politics in the Mormon Church” at a meeting of the American Psychological Association (APA) in New York City in September 1979. Johnson denounced allegedly immoral and illegal nationwide lobbying efforts by the LDS Church to prevent passage of the ERA.
“Because the speech drew national media attention, leaders in Johnson’s local Virginia congregation immediately began excommunication proceedings. A December 1979 excommunication letter claimed that Sonia Johnson was charged with a variety of misdeeds, including hindering the worldwide missionary program, damaging internal Mormon social programs, and teaching false doctrine. Her husband divorced her in October 1979, two months before the trial; she attributes his decision to `some kind of mid-life crisis.’
“After the rupture with the church, Johnson continued promoting the ERA, speaking on television and at numerous functions throughout the country, including the 1980 Democratic Convention. She also protested venues such as the Republican Party headquarters in Washington. She and twenty ERA supporters were briefly jailed for chaining themselves to the gate of the Seattle Washington Temple in Bellevue, Washington.”
Johnson published several radical feminist books and became popular as a feminist speaker. I have not heard anything about her for possibly twenty-five years. As I see it, she had her fifteen minutes of fame and blew her eternal blessings. What a sad story for this sister!
I am disappointed to realize that some of my sisters are part of the Ordain Women movement or are sympathetic with the movement. I am disappointed that they do not have the doctrinal knowledge to understand why the priesthood is given only to men. Maybe this knowledge would satisfy their demands and help them to move forward on their eternal path.
I am disappointed to realize they are so confused about Church doctrine that they have allowed themselves to be deceived into thinking they should have the priesthood. I am disappointed that they know so little about Church history that they claim public demonstrations caused the Church to change its doctrine about blacks and the priesthood. From the time I was a child and had never even seen a black person, I have been taught that the day would come when the priesthood would be bestowed upon all worthy males regardless of race. This was a common teaching all of my life. We knew it would happen and even prayed for the time to come. In my nearly seventy years of life I have never heard or read anything about a time coming when women would receive the priesthood. The situation with blacks and the priesthood is completely different than women and the priesthood and should not be considered a precedent.
I am disappointed that some of my sisters recently protested Church doctrine on our sacred Temple Square in direct opposition to our Church leaders. Several weeks ago leaders of the Ordain Women movement indicated that their one-year-old organization would demonstrate outside the conference sessions. In a statement read by Jessica Moody, Church spokesperson, the Church requested that the group keep their demonstration in the free-speech zones off Temple Square. “Please reconsider…. As fellow Latter-day Saints and friends of the church, we invite you to help us maintain the peaceful environment of Temple Square and ask that you please follow these details in your continued planning.”
Despite the Church’s request, on Saturday evening approximately 200 women and their male supporters entered Temple Square and sought admission to the priesthood session of General Conference. The women were politely invited to view the meeting over broadcast outlets and requested to take their demonstration out of Temple Square. The organizers of the group rejected the Church’s requests.
Maybe the heavy rain and hail that fell on the women could be seen as God’s disapproval of the women’s action on His property!
Church officials were not pleased with their decision. “Despite polite and respectful requests from church leaders not to make Temple Square a place of protest, a mixed group of men and women ignored that request and staged a demonstration outside the Tabernacle on General Conference weekend, refusing to accept ushers’ directions and refusing to leave when asked,” said Cody Craynor, spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“While not all the protesters were members of the church, such divisive actions are not the kind of behavior that is expected from Latter-day Saints and will be as disappointing to our members as it is to church leaders,” Craynor said.
I am embarrassed for the women because of their bad behavior. I can only wonder what has happened to them to bring them to this point in their lives. What have they done to allow Satan to have such control over them?
I am astounded at the statements given by some of the women for why they are demonstrating against the Church. The founder of Ordain Women (I refuse to even include her name) said, “I have no right to remain silent because I love this church” as she led her supporters into Temple Square. A second woman said, “I’m here because I love the church and love being a part of the church and it’s a big part of my life,” and a third woman said “I’m here because I love the church and I support my sisters.”
I cannot understand how they can claim they “love the church” when they are so willing to protest basic doctrines of the same and to go against the wishes of the leaders of the Church. Jesus Christ taught his followers in the Holy Land, “If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). If I truly love my husband, I will not publicly embarrass him. If a child truly loves his parents, he will be obedient to their rules. It seems to me that these women are claiming to “love the church” but do not. If they truly love the Lord and desire to assist in building His kingdom here on earth, they would not be demonstrating or protesting against the leaders of the Church. I feel sorry for the women involved with Ordain Women.
The Mormon women involved in the Ordain Women movement are a small percentage of the women of the Church, maybe eight percent of at least five million women. The vast majority of the women of the Church – including myself - accept the doctrines of the Church and support priesthood leaders. I personally do not want the Ordain Women movement protesting on my behalf. I do not want to have the priesthood power or responsibility put upon me. I believe that I receive all the blessings of the priesthood without the heavy responsibilities! I enjoy being a woman. I currently have all the power and responsibility I need to accomplish my mission here on earth. I totally support and sustain the leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I hope my unhappy sisters will reconsider their behavior and realign themselves with the Church’s position.