Women asking to attend priesthood session of LDS General Conference denied

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SALT LAKE CITY – A group of women wanted to attend Saturday night’s priesthood session of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ 183rd Semiannual General Conference, and they said it’s time for women to be treated equally by the Mormon faith.

About 200 people gathered Saturday, and many were members of the group Ordain Women, which asked the LDS Church to allow women to attend the meeting. The session is limited to male members of the LDS Church who are 12 years of age and older.

They walked to Temple Square in order to ask for standby tickets for the meeting. The group had already made an official request for tickets and been denied. The group posted the LDS Church’s response to their request on their website, which said in part:

“We appreciate the sincerity of your request and the explanation of your desire to participate in the session... We are unable to honor your request for tickets or admission.”

Ordain Women Founder Kate Kelly said that wasn't stopping them from asking for admission Saturday. Kelly spoke with FOX 13 News in-depth about the issue earlier this week, click here for that interview.

"We've been praying," She told FOX 13 News Saturday before the priesthood session began. "We've been fasting. We have been planning. And what we hope to do is to go into the session, to listen to the prophet, to participate and demonstrate to our leaders not only are we ready to participate in the priesthood session, but that we wish to be ordained to the priesthood."

The group's request for entry was denied, and LDS Church Spokeswoman Ruth Todd was there to meet them.

"This meeting is all about strengthening the men of our church, so this is no surprise to you, that we won't be able to offer you a ticket or a place to see it," she told the group.

After being denied, members of the group walked back to City Creek Park, where some watched the broadcast of the session on smartphones. The priesthood session was broadcast online, which is a first for the LDS Church.

"That was actually far, far more disappointing and disheartening than I thought it would be," Kelly said of not being allowed entry. "I said, 'My name is Kate Kelly. I'm a faithful, active Mormon woman. I paid my tithing. I served a mission. I graduated from BYU. I was married in the temple. I understand there's men who are not Mormon who are permitted into this session, any man who can come... I would like to attend."

Jami Baayd is not affiliated with Ordain Women, but she was at the event seeking entry. She said she was also disappointed about not getting in.

"As I was trying to get in, a whole group of young men walked by me and got in, and the juxtaposition was pretty profound for me," she said.

Todd said the LDS Church hopes the women who sought entry find peace.

"Millions of women in this church do not share the views of this small group that has come and organized this protest today," she said. "And some of the members feel this is very divisive as well. Even so, these are our sisters, and we want them in our church. And we hope they find the peace and joy we all seek in the gospel of Jesus Christ."

Kelly said she and others in her group will continue their efforts.

"We're going to keep asking," she said. "We're going to keep knocking. We're going to keep seeking, and we're going to encourage other women to join us in the future."

37 comments

  • Eric Anderson

    What a waste of time. Do you really need to sit there and listen to the men get lectured about not being j a c k a s s e s? Because that’s pretty much the message of the priesthood session.

    You’re not invited, ladies, because you don’t need the lecture. Take it as a compliment. There is no secret He Man’s Club stuff going on. You’re not missing anything that applies to you.

  • Nikolai

    Wow, both sides of this debate are getting annoying. But, I guess it’s what I get for living in Utah. Delusional people arguing with more delusional people.

    • Eric Anderson

      Why the hate? Why not raise the level of conversation instead? It’s one thing not to believe as they do. (I don’t.) But quite another to belittle people who don’t believe as YOU do.

      That’s the difference between an Evangelical Atheist, and a mere atheist. (I’m the latter.)

  • Stormin

    I say what is the difference between watching on the internet at home and attending. If this doesn’t shake your (LDS sisters) faith in LDS leaders then you should just move to the proverbial back of the bus where the leaders want you to go!

  • Eric Anderson

    I’ve seen my share of priesthood sessions in the past, and the only thing I remember is men being told to grow up and stop acting like idiots.

    If that’s a message that you feel you need, ladies, then by all means attend. But you should take it as a compliment that your leaders don’t feel you need that message.

  • Eric Anderson

    Just for fun, lets some of us show up at the next MENSA meeting and demand that idiots be admitted. Or show up at a brain surgery seminar and demand that seats be set aside for diesel mechanics.

  • Stormin

    I say with the beliefs God has put in your hearts, numbers, etc. you should consider starting another church and breaking your ties (tithing, work, etc.) from the LDS church. I personally believe you could certainly spend the church’s money better than the brethren who seem to enjoy malls and land investments to prepare for the 2nd Coming?????

  • Shane Capel

    The funny thing about this protest is that a week before this conference the women of the church and non member women have there own session just for them and the men are not allowed to go to that. So if these women are protesting for equality then they’re waisting there time because there is equality. What’s not equal in that?

    • Kate

      Glad I’m not “faithful” as you say Aaron. You do realize the prophet, as you call him, is just an ordinary man who created stupid rules because he’s afraid of women, just like you are apparently.

  • Bill

    The woman had their own meeting a couple weeks back that was strictly for woman. This would make more sense if they didn’t have their own.

    • Just makes sense

      Did they forget to go to the Relief Society Session the previews weekend? Men were not allow (except for the leaders present participating in the meeting) in that meeting.

      • Tom B. Stone

        The “except for” is still an exception. It appears that no “exception” is granted to these women.

      • Just makes sense

        These women are asking to be able to hear from their leaders. Some of their leaders are MEN. Therefore these MEN must be present at the WOMEN’s meeting. Nice try.The men are not attending their meeting to hear from women.

  • Steven

    If these women were faithful at all then they would realize that revelation is received through the prophet not them. You will never have the priesthood, just stop.

  • Random Madchen

    So a 12 yr old boy has more standing in this church than a grown woman. Wow. Why do we fear a Taliban takeover of the US when it’s quite clearly in our midst, and quite influential, only wearing a tie, not a head doodad.

    • Just makes sense

      Is he male or female? This was the male’s meeting (ages 12-100+). The females had their meeting (ages 12-100+) the week before. you want equality!? There it is a meeting for each of them. ENOUGH SAID!

  • Joy

    As Ruth Todd said, it should come as no surprise that they weren’t admitted to a meeting intended to strengthen the men of the church. The meeting specifically for the women of the church was held last weekend and can also be viewed by all members (as the men’s meeting can) online at lds.org

  • NZmember

    I don’t personally see a problem with women sitting in on the Priesthood session as I’m sure they could do at the Ward broadcasts, but what makes me laugh is that most of us moan about going to all of the “extra” meetings that we should be attending…firesides, enrichment night, all the other special satellite meetings that are on…
    Why add another meeting to the list? I just hope it’s not just because that CAN’T go that they are insisting that they WANT to go.

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