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Getting Involved in Ordain Women (Part 3 of 5)

After seeing gender inequities in the Church, Bryndis Roberts decided to join Ordain Women.  But even before that, she pointed out gender problems within the Church.

Roberts:  [I was] very proactive in raising questions and wondering why things were done this way. Whether it was questioning why we had to have a priesthood holder there when we had Relief Society events; whether it was raising the question as to why the little girls only met every other week; whether it was raising a question about why don’t we affiliate with the Girl Scouts? Whether it was advocating for a class called Strengthening Single Mothers. So, I continued to do things in my church role that were, at least in my mind, trying to address some of the disparities and the inequities, but I did not do them from the context of being part of Ordain Women. I did them for from the context of just being a woman in the ward who sees these things.

GT :  Were people receptive to your admonitions?

Roberts:  I think I made some of the men in my ward probably as uncomfortable as I made my missionaries when I was raising some of the questions. Because when I raised the question, for instance, about why?  I have never been one to accept that something is a rule. If it’s a rule, then it needs to be written down, and I want to see that rule because it often has been my experience that people will read words and think that words say things that words do not say. So, when I raised the question about why do we have to have a priesthood holder? Show me the rule. I felt that then people went off and had to come and look to find the rule. Of course, it was in handbook number one.

GT:  The secret one.

Roberts:  The handbook that I don’t get to see. But then they came back and said, and I think the language said something to the effect of, “Priesthood holders should instruct members of the church, particularly women and children, not to be alone in an unlocked building.” Well, I mean, I don’t know, you can read that sentence backwards, you can switch the words around, you can do whatever you want to with that sentence. That sentence simply does not say that a priesthood holder has to be present, when a bunch of grown women are holding a Relief Society event at the church, it simply does not say that. So I pointed that out that this rule does not say that.

Check out our conversation….

Bryndis Roberts explains how she got involved in Ordain Women.
Bryndis Roberts explains how she got involved in Ordain Women.

Check out our other conversations with Bryndis!

271: Addressing Gender Inequities

270: From Baptist to Mormon

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Addressing Gender Inequities (Part 2 of 5)

There are many people in the LDS Church who notice gender inequities within the church.  What are some of these disparities?  Bryndis Roberts tells what she noticed, and what she tried to do about it.

Roberts: One thing that just struck me and I still don’t understand, and particularly in a ward like ours, why the little boys and girls, the little boys had meetings every week, but the little girls only met every other week. In an inner-city ward, all of the children were just subject to so many temptations and so many things that made me think that the little girls needed a weekly bolstering or recharging or protection, whatever you said that the little boys got from meeting on a weekly basis, the little girls needed that just as much. So I didn’t understand that difference.

I found it interesting that while the church had fully embraced the Boy Scout program, the church had refused or did not embrace the Girl Scout program, which I had had involvement with prior to joining the church had actually been a troop leader. I felt because of my prior involvement, that that program would bring as much to the lives of the little girls as the Boy Scouting program was bringing to the lives of the little boys. I could see particularly in other converts, the joy in the men when, right after joining the church, or shortly after joining the church, they were ordained to the Aaronic Priesthood and it was like a progression, whereas the women converts had no real sign of progression for them. Then I started looking around at things in our Ward that we had to wait for things to get done, because there were not enough Melchizedek priesthood holders to do these things.  In fact, my own temple class, I joined the church in January of 2008, didn’t receive my endowment until October 2009. Part of that was because we were looking for a priesthood holder to teach the temple prep class.

Is there patriarchy in the Baptist Church (where she was a member previously?)

Roberts:   I felt that the priesthood lifted Mormon men above the patriarchal institution and made them administer it in a in a way that was full of benevolence and righteousness. So, I recognized it was a patriarchal institution. I guess, I dared to believe that it was somehow a benevolent patriarchal institution. {Chuckling.}

GT:   Okay, so different than the Baptist Church?

Roberts:   Yes, different in the sense that, I guess I put a lot of stock or a lot of hope, or a lot of faith in the concept of the priesthood, the whole idea of the Melchizedek Priesthood in the whole idea of reaching back to when Abraham was visited by the high priest or visited with the high priest. That whole concept made me think that somehow it was going to be different in Mormonism.

GT:   Is it different?

Roberts:   Sadly, I found that there were many examples, far too many examples of Mormon men engaging in what could only be called unrighteous dominion.

Check out our conversation….

Bryndis Roberts describes what she tried to do about Gender inequities in the LDS Church.
Bryndis Roberts describes what she tried to do about Gender inequities in the LDS Church.

Don’t miss our previous conversation with Bryndis!

270: From Baptist to Mormon

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From Baptist to Mormon (Part 1 of 5)

I am excited to introduce Bryndis Roberts.  We will talk about her conversion from the Baptist Church to the LDS Church.  She definitely gave her missionaries a run for their money, as she asked more questions about the Church’s past polygamy practices and priesthood/temple ban.

Roberts: Well, I asked them about both polygamy and the priesthood, ban. I started out with polygamy, because, once I got my quad, I very quickly read through the Book of Mormon, I got to the book of Jacob, particularly the second chapter of the book of Jacob, and I think it’s like, verses 31 through 35, which, I mean, it’s really almost like a rant against polygamy about you know how it is–the Lord is saying, it grieves him that the man have wounded his daughters, by doing this, etc, etc, etc., and basically says, a man shall have only one wife. So I said to the missionaries, I’m a little bit confused, because this seems to me to be pretty straightforward, saying no to polygamy. So how in the world did y’all ever do that? Their  response was to refer to, I think it’s the 30th verse of the second chapter of Jacob, which says something like, “If I will allow, raise up a seed unto to me,” as the reason for why the church later started practicing polygamy, and I was just like, “I don’t think that says that, but, you know, I’m going to give you that when you go on, if that’s, that’s your response. Then about that time, I started asking them a lot of questions about the priesthood ban, which, because, although I was taking the lessons, I was also reading other things about the church.

GT: Okay, so it wasn’t tunnel vision.

Roberts: No, it was not tunnel vision. Then that’s when they proceeded to bring a number of the black members. I almost felt like–I mean, because I didn’t know a whole lot about the ward, but seemed like they were bringing every black member of the ward and it was always male members, because you know, well, since I lived alone, for the missionaries to be able to come to visit me they had to bring another male member with them and so they were always bringing black male members to try to talk to me about the priesthood ban and they made various statements as to why.

Check out our conversation….

Bryndis Roberts describes her conversion to the LDS Church.
Bryndis Roberts describes her conversion to the LDS Church.