But a male-only priesthood “was established by Jesus Christ himself,” Moody said, “and is not a decision to be made by those on Earth.”
This argument stands in contrast to Relief Society General President Burton’s comment on the same issue in the Church’s new video:
I don’t think women are after the authority; I think they’re after the blessings and are happy that they can access the blessings and power of the priesthood. There are a few that would like both. But most of the women, I think, in the Church are happy to have all the blessings. That’s what matters most to them, and it doesn’t matter who holds that umbrella. They’re happy to let someone else hold the umbrella because we have different complementary roles and are happy with that.
So which is it? Did Jesus command the priesthood ban be put in place? Or is going to be that Church leaders will send their female spokespeople to wave their hands and try to convince us with a Jedi mind trick that real Mormon women don’t actually want the priesthood? (President Dalton’s “[you] will see no need to lobby for rights” comment fits perfectly here.)
It seems like if Church leaders were really convinced that the female priesthood ban was God’s very will, they would just stick to that message. For example, consider that GAs pretty much never try to convince men that we don’t really want porn. They don’t wave their hands and say, “Mormon men will feel no need to look at naked women who are not their wives.” They just say it’s bad, God doesn’t like it, so we should stay away from it. When the Jedi mind trick approach gets used to argue for the priesthood ban, it sounds like they’re less sure of themselves. When both “Jesus says” and the Jedi mind trick get used, it just sounds like they’re making up anything to defend the status quo. And I think there’s good reason for their response to be so scattershot: I don’t think GAs have ever seriously considered ordaining women. As they are so fond of telling us, women and men are just different: they have different roles, and women’s role doesn’t include holding the priesthood. They would no more think of ordaining women than they would think of ordaining robots. That’s why I think their response has been made up of what Julie M. Smith called “self-contradictory ad hoc rationales” in her post at T&S.
I look forward to hearing any comments GAs make in Conference this weekend about women who want to be ordained (or to wear pants, or to pray in Conference), even if such comments are intentionally vague. I wonder if once we hear from the GAs directly, and not just from their spokeswomen, they’ll deliver a more focused argument against ordaining women. I’m not betting on it, though.