Once again, members of a group of women seeking ordination to the priesthood in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were denied the opportunity to attend the priesthood session of the church’s General Conference.
Ordain Women gathered for a devotional service in a city park two blocks from Temple Square in the afternoon before the priesthood session on Saturday. Gina Colvin came from New Zealand. She says the church’s patriarchal structure disempowers women.
Colvin told KUER, “The fact that we have to account to a male leadership, a tier of male authority and leadership, means that we’re always in check with regards to our own spirituality and our own offerings to the church.”
The group of about 400 walked to Temple Square in a hailstorm, opened a closed gate on the east side and walked through. Reporters weren’t allowed to follow, but members of the group say they were met at the line where men were waiting for standby tickets. A member of the church’s public affairs staff then told members of the group one by one that they would not be admitted to the priesthood session.
A statement from church spokesperson Cody Craynor called the action “disappointing” and criticized the group for staging a demonstration outside the Tabernacle when they’d been asked not to.
Kate Kelly, the group’s leader, says this will be the last time Ordain Women uses this tactic of trying to gain admission to the priesthood session. In the future, she says they’ll focus on local efforts to persuade members of their wards to agree with their argument that women should have the same opportunity as men to be leaders in the church.