https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/stu ... r?lang=eng
I have some concerns about what seems to me to be a tone deaf response.
I would be very, very careful in talking about a woman's place. Women are not second class citizens in the church. Nice to know. How can you demonstrate that exactly?There are those who question the place of women in God’s plan and in the Church. I’ve been interviewed by enough national and international media to know that most journalists with whom I have dealt had preconceived notions about this topic. Many have asked questions implying that women are second-class citizens in the Church. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Wonderful. A methodical approach.Let me suggest five key points to ponder and think straight about this important topic.
This seems odd to me. I am not quite sure if he is saying that individual spirits are assigned to become male or female based on the experiences/opportunites that they may need to have the best chance of exaltation or that in order for the human family to have the best chance there would need to be a mixture of both males and females in the world. This reminds me of the divine right of kings where it was theorized that God created the class distinctions and we cannot tinker with it unless we unwittingly thwart God's divine purpose. Also, "Father … does indeed know best"? Really? In a talk intended to rebut the insinuation that women are second class citizens in our church? He does not even seem to understand how tone deaf that is.Surely, if our eventual exaltation is Their essential goal and purpose, and if They are omniscient and perfect, then They understand best how to prepare, teach, and lead us so that we have the greatest chance to qualify for exaltation... Surely we must agree that our Heavenly Father and His Son know which opportunities the sons and daughters of God need to best prepare the human family for eternal life.
... begin with the willingness to believe that our Father in Heaven does indeed know best.
Point 2) Priesthood keys. This point was not entirely clear. Starts by saying both men and women serve in the church under the direction and authorization of priesthood keys. He reshares a comparison between procreative power and priesthood power that he had given in that years (2013) recent GC. IOW women can have babies. Asks why only men have the priesthood offices and goes back to essentially "God said so." He gives examples of women serving and teaching and being useful and needed. He takes a moment to chastise women involved in councils "not to assume a role that is not" properly theirs. They are welcome to give requested input but once the man with the keys has made the decision then they need to shut up about it. This warning, given exclusively to sisters and "sister leaders", strikes me as oddly incongruent with how this point will support the central message that women are not second class citizens in the church.
Point 3) Men and women are (seperate but) equal in God's eyes. Men and women are different but neither gender is better or more important than the other. He also talks about how he learned long ago to listen to his wife when she had strong feelings on a matter "pertaining to the family". See! We listen to our women!
Serious question here. If women were to recieve the priesthood, would such a change be tampering "with our Heavenly Father’s plan and purposes in our lives?""Women come to earth with unique spiritual gifts and propensities. This is particularly true when it comes to children and families and the well-being and nurturing of others.
Men and women have different gifts, different strengths, and different points of view and inclinations. That is one of the fundamental reasons we need each other. It takes a man and a woman to create a family, and it takes men and women to carry out the work of the Lord. A husband and wife righteously working together complete each other. Let us be careful that we do not attempt to tamper with our Heavenly Father’s plan and purposes in our lives."
Point 4) Everyone has equal access to the blessings of the priesthood. Men and women have equal access to priesthood blessings. Some examples of the blessings of the priesthood are: "to receive personal revelation, to be blessed by the ministering of angels, to commune with God, to receive the fulness of the gospel, and, ultimately, to become heirs alongside Jesus Christ of all our Father has."
Point 5) The church needs the voice and faith of women ... to ... defend our Father in Heaven and His plan.
Suffice it to say that I am underwhelmed with Elder Ballard's points. This seems very apologetic to me - defending the status quo for the sake of defending the status quo. Have the church talking points regarding women and the priesthood evolved at all since 2013?"Do not spend time trying to overhaul or adjust God’s plan. We do not have time for that. It is a pointless exercise to try to determine how to organize the Lord’s Church differently...Sisters, your sphere of influence is a unique sphere—one that cannot be duplicated by men. No one can defend our Savior with any more persuasion or power than can you—the daughters of God who have such inner strength and conviction. The power of the voice of a converted woman is immeasurable, and the Church needs your voices now more than ever."