Jun 19

Women and the Priesthood, Fifteen Years Later

Maxine Hanks’s 1992 anthology Women and Authority includes a chapter by D. Michael Quinn, provocatively entitled “Mormon Women Have Had the Priesthood Since 1843.” Quinn makes it clear that he’s not arguing simply for what I’ll here call “soft” claims about women’s priesthood status, for example, that women hold the priesthood only “through temple marriage or through the second anointing” (368). On the contrary, he’s arguing a “harder” claim, that women actually held–and therefore, by the successive conferral of authority that authenticates Mormon ordinances, continue to hold–the Melchizedek priesthood completely independent of marriage, on the basis of temple endowment alone. Continue reading

Jun 14

Demoted to Mrs.

Marriage is at once the most public and the most private of institutions. On the private side, although we can both be incredibly stubborn, my husband has never treated me with the slightest hint of condescension or domineering. Even in the early days of our marriage when he was still a believer, it would never have so much as crossed his mind to pull priesthood rank, which is of course one of the reasons I married him. But as ECS’s excellent post about the cultural blind spots in which women reside recently reminded me, whatever private arrangements husband and wife make, for women, marriage can mean social invisibility. Continue reading

Jun 03

Stuffed Animals and the Transmigration of Souls

I have a small stuffed bear by the name of Juliana (named after the dashing Dr. Julian Bashir of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine). I got her as a birthday present about ten years ago, and she quickly developed a unique personality. She has a somewhat sad look to her, which has led to much speculation in my family about her possible involvement in a life of crime. It’s a well-known fact among my siblings that Juliana is very interested in money. But does she belong behind bars? When I was studying at a Catholic university a couple of years ago, I maintained that whatever her previous history might have involved, Juliana had now reformed and was planning to become a nun. But this assertion was met with serious skepticism by certain of my sisters. Juliana’s true character remains a source of much dispute. Continue reading