Mormon women seeking ecclesiastical equality were denied entrance to the male-only priesthood meeting of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Saturday evening. The women were looking for unfilled seats at the priesthood meeting in the Church’s semi-annual conference.
The women, clad in purple according to Reuters, marched from a park in Salt Lake City to Salt Lake Tabernacle on Temple Square, the global headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Ordain Women, the group that facilitated the march, said in its mission statement on its website that “The fundamental tenets of Mormonism support gender equality: God is male and female, father and mother, and all of us can progress to be like them someday. Priesthood, we are taught, is essential to this process. Ordain Women believes women must be ordained in order for our faith to reflect the equity and expansiveness of these teachings.”
One by one, the women were turned away from the meeting by a church spokesman.
In a statement late on Saturday, church officials expressed displeasure with the women’s “refusal to accept ushers’ directions and refusing to leave when asked.”
The church has been firm about their stance on gender equality. In a quote posted on the Facebook page of one of the church leaders, Dallin H. Oaks, he said, “In the eyes of God, whether in the Church or in the family, women and men are equal, with different responsibilities.”
This echoes the Church’s Family Proclamation to the World, which was issued in 1995 which states that “By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children.”
Men ordained in the priesthood within the Church can perform religious rites, such as baptism, confirmation, among others. Boys are ordained with the priesthood at age twelve and grow in responsibility through the priesthood over time.
About 200 women participated in the march, though a group spokesman puts the number closer to 500.
Image via Wikimedia Commons