I heard about the group of women at General Conference last month who insisted on attending the Priesthood session in protest. These women were allegedly members of a movement called Ordain Women who, according to their website, “are committed to work for equality and the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood.”
According to reports, these women were denied entry to the session. The events created quite a buzz around campus the following weeks. On the Monday after conference I was included in a conversation regarding the female protesters with another male student, which ensued as follows:
“Women couldn’t handle the priesthood. If they had the priesthood the Church would be a mess,” he said laughing.
“Why not?” I said.
“Because, could you imagine? With their periods?” he laughed.
“Wow,” I said, “That is so incredibly sexist!”
“It’s true though!” he said. “Some things are sexist, but they’re just true.”
Now I, being the straight, white male that I am, have little opportunity of ever becoming the target of oppression, but I am able to sympathize with those who do. I was appalled to be the witness of such odious sexism. It is truly disturbing that we have to endure this kind of oppression at a religious university like BYU. We would hope that as Latter-day Saints we might transcend above it, but the reality is that sexism among the members of the Church is commonplace.
I do not in any way condone the behavior of the women protesting at General Conference. I know the priesthood has been bestowed upon worthy men according to God’s will. I do, however, sympathize with the sorrows women experience and often feel ashamed that my own gender can turn such a blind eye to their plight, especially among my priesthood brethren.
I realize the only way for this issue to come any closer to resolution is for men like me, who are not directly oppressed by sexism but are still apologetic, to take a stand in educating and correcting the male perpetrators around us.