My name is Michael Jurgensmeier. I am a student at Dixie State University, I’m a proud husband and father of three daughters with infinite potential, I’m a former Mormon and I found Julia Bell’s recent editorial, titled “Women Should Not Hold LDS Priesthood,” filled with inaccuracies and vague assumptions.
First of all, is this really an issue? Aside from Bell’s editorial, this was the first I had heard of women in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints requesting the priesthood. Where is her source on this?
The part of her letter that really struck me is when she made the claim that “The LDS church is known for being consistent, and church leaders are sticking to their guns during this controversy.”
I found that statement very disconcerting. Is “consistent” really the adjective you want to go with here, Bell? Do I need to remind you that until 1979, African-American men were not allowed to hold the priesthood and, in fact, former prophet Brigham Young was fond of referring to people of African descent as “being cursed with the seed of Cain?”
You could argue that in 1979 Spencer W. Kimball conveniently felt inspired by God to become more progressive as the Civil Rights struggle of African-Americans began to gain momentum, but I find that a little too convenient. What about polygamy? Church founder Joseph Smith, as well as several early prophets including Brigham Young, practiced polygamy until, again conveniently, pressure from society caused mainstream Mormons to abandon the practice.
I’m not impending on your right to believe in the religion of your choice, and I certainly don’t “hate” Mormons like your article suggested. I simply find it hard to believe that God inspired prophets to change Mormon culture and theology at the exact same time it would have been theocratic suicide to not change with the times. I could give hundreds of examples of Mormon culture changing its views and practices, ranging from homosexuality to the origin of the Book of Mormon, but the point I am trying to make is that Mormonism, and ultimately its leaders, are anything but consistent. Unless you are suggesting they are being consistent at being inconsistent. In that case, I apologize and stand corrected.
Has Bell done any unbiased research about Mormonism outside the narrow view of the Mormon faith itself?
I feel it could do her some good. If the historic trend Mormonism is known for continues it is only a matter of time until society gets to a point in gender equality that whatever prophet in power at the time will have no choice but to “feel inspired.” Perhaps Mr. Monson could simply feel inspired now and spare the Mormon congregation of having to wait until there is no other option?
Michael Jurgensmeier is a senior English major from Carey, Idaho.