The Salt Lake Tribune reported 130 Mormon women affiliated with the Ordain Women movement were turned away from the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City’s Temple Square on Saturday. As dozens of men edged their way past to enter the male-only meeting, the women were shut out at the door.
The Ordain Women movement was founded in March 2013, and seeks to add women to the ordained ranks of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which currently only ordains worthy 12-or-older boys.
The leader of Ordain Women and a Washington, D.C. human rights attorney, Kate Kelly, said “I really started to see a stark contrast between the contributions of men and women in the church… I have faith that we will receive the priesthood that lord will listen to our prayers and that our leaders will be responsive.”
LDS Church spokeswoman Ruth Todd indicated that the meeting the women should be attending was the Relief Society meeting, which was held last week and was for women only.
Through a statement to reporters, Todd said “Millions of women in this church do not share the views of this small group that has come and organized this protest today and some of the members feel this is very divisive as well. But even so these are our sisters and we want them in this church and we hope they’ll find the peace and joy we all seek in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
But even LDS women are divided on the issue: ABC4-Utah reported that two women showed up to protest the protest. Aubrey Brooks and Heather Reese stood outside Temple Square with signs indicating ordination isn’t required for them to feel equal to their husbands.
“We love being members of the church… We don’t feel like we’re put down in any way and we’re very happy by the roles that we have,” Reese said.
Brooks’ and Reeses’ comments echo the sentiment reportedly held by many Mormon women: a 2010 book by Robert Putnam and David Campbell entitled American Grace: How Religion Divides and Unites Us found 90 percent of Mormon women were opposed to female ordination, while only 52 percent of Mormon men were opposed to the idea.[Image via the Ordain Women Facebook Page]