SALT LAKE CITY - A group of members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are using the Internet to speak up about leadership roles within the Church, and pushing for women to have and hold the priesthood.
Women in the LDS Church have held various positions, but they've never been ordained with the priesthood, which prohibits them from holding leadership roles at higher levels, including bishops.
But a new website called ordainwomen.org has profiles of LDS women and men who think it's time for female members of the Church to have those leadership opportunities.
"We have women serving in relief society presidencies, we have an acting bishop who submitted a profile, we have women of color, we have grandmothers, young mothers," said Lorie Winder, one of the women who has contributed to the site. "Because all men have the priesthood, they have a spiritual and functional authority that women don't and that troubles me."
Women in other religious denominations are ordained and hold the priesthood, including the Trinity Presbyterian Church in Ogden, where women have held the priesthood for around 60 years.
"I don't think that God is a discriminator when it comes to gender. Our gifts don't go to all male and no female, gifts reside in all humans and that should be the determinant on our call, not our gender," said Monica Hall, a minister with the Trinity Presbyterian Church. "What ordination means to me, it's not just a title, it's a living, it's a being."
A group of people organizing this effort for LDS women to have the priesthood plan to hold a meeting in Salt Lake City on Saturday night, following the LDS General Conference sessions.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released a statement in response to this story. It reads:
"There is nothing in the scriptures which suggests that to be a man rather than a woman is preferred in the sight of God, or that He places a higher value on sons than on daughters.
"The worth of a human soul is not defined by a set of duties or responsibilities. In God's plan for His children, both women and men have the same access to the guidance of His spirit, to personal revelation, faith and repentance, to grace and the atonement of His Son, Jesus Christ, and are received equally as they approach Him in prayer.
"The practice of ordaining men to the priesthood was established by Jesus Christ himself, and is not a decision to be made by those on Earth."