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Elder Oaks Groundbreaking Address on Women & Priesthood (Part 4)

In April 2014, Elder Oaks gave a sermon on women and priesthood.  Dr. Jonathan Stapley said this was no ordinary talk.  He called it theologically groundbreaking!  I was a bit surprised how revolutionary Stapley felt the sermon was.  It seemed to me to be a response to the Ordain Women movement which was asking for women to be allowed to attend the priesthood session of General Conference.  I saw the address under a different light than Jonathan.

GT:  I remember just thinking, “Oh, this is just to placate the Kate Kelly people and to say, ‘Women, you’ve already got priesthood.  You just didn’t know it yet.’”  But you’re saying this is a theological change.

Jonathan:  When Elder Oaks delivered that sermon, I was looking around like, does anyone else [recognize this?]  This is mind-blowing.  I couldn’t believe it. And everyone else was just like, “Oh yeah, this is just Elder Oaks.”  Revolutions happen sometimes a very subtly apparently.

Jonathan: It’s certainly a linguistic shift and language frames our reality. So, it is certainly, for example, an interesting piece from Elder Oaks’ sermon was he was quoting in many parts from a sermon that Joseph Fielding Smith gave to the Relief Society in a general Relief Society meeting.  And in this meeting Joseph Fielding was as I remember, the president of the Quorum of the Twelve at the time, discussed women’s authority in the church and how they were heirs to a great heritage, but also heirs to authority and their capacity of the work in the Relief society and the temple. But he was quick to say, you have authority to do this work. You have authority in the temple, but authority is not the same thing as priesthood.

Jonathan: And Elder Oaks takes this sermon he talks about, he quotes Joseph Fielding Smith, how women have this great authority in the church and this great heritage. And then he stops and says, what else can this authority be except priesthood? Right? So, it’s this really wonderful kind of re-imagining of what these terms mean. At the same time, reaching to our past to grab hold of our past and make sure we’re still connected, but also in very interesting and creative ways, refashioning it in a way that makes more sense for the present.

Do you think Oaks talk was groundbreaking?  Let me know!  Check out our other conversations on women healers, Ordain Women, and click the video below to learn more about this conversation….

Elder Dallin Oaks gave a revolutionary sermon in April 2014 on women & priesthood.
Elder Dallin Oaks gave a revolutionary sermon in April 2014 on women & priesthood.
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The Hübener Story You Didn’t Know

Many of you are probably familiar with the story of Helmuth Hübener.  He was the young German teenager that was executed by Adolf Hitler for treason.  It’s a wonderful story and BYU actually turned it into a play in the 1970s.  However, Church leaders were upset by the play and decided to suppress it.  Why was that?  Dr. David Conley Nelson details, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”  This is the story about Hübener you probably haven’t heard.

Elder Monson arrives and he takes in the play and he just doesn’t seem to be as happy according to other witnesses as the rest of them.  Word comes down two days later through Dallin Oaks, there will be no more productions of “Huebener Against the Reich.”  In fact, Thomas Rogers is prohibited from releasing—it’s his intellectual property, but he is prohibited from giving permission for anybody else to use that play.

GT: Wow.

David:  Furthermore, Alan Keele and Douglas Tobler are “asked” to put a hold on their research and not publish anything.  A couple of things have happened.  First off the German-American community got to Thomas Monson.  They don’t like it, they don’t like it at all because Hübener should not be considered a hero, he should be considered in some of their eyes an example of how not to behave.

What does Dr. Nelson believe?

The fact is, and this is my professional opinion, that Thomas Monson got it wrong because he didn’t know enough about German culture.  He was a real great knowledgeable guy about German-American Mormons, but he did not realize that it was in the church’s best interest.  If he thought it was the church’s best interest to suppress Hübener, he was just diametrically wrong.  It would have been in the church’s best interest to promote Hübener.

Find out what else Nelson said, and don’t forget to listen to our episodes on Jewish Genealogy and J. Reuben Clark!  Check out our conversation!

Since it’s the end of the year I wanted to ask a special favor.  We’re going to do a year-end review of all the fun interviews we’ve done here at Gospel Tangents, and I’d like to hear what was your most favorite interview, as well as what were the most surprising things you learned over this past year on Gospel Tangents?  You can email me at Gospel Tangents at gmail dot com or you can also check out this link https://kwiksurveys.com/s/zK1fouUh that I’ve got for a special survey.  I would like to include any comments you have in our year-end special.  It will be coming next week.  Please include that as soon as you can either by email or you can fill out the survey!  Thanks a lot.  I’d really appreciate it.

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