Mormon women to push for priesthood power at Counterpoint Conference
By Peggy Fletcher Stack
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
Lorie Winder Stromberg is unabashedly power hungry. And she thinks
every Mormon woman should be.
By having an all-male priesthood, the LDS Church has cut women out
of its power structure, Stromberg believes, and that has pushed
feminists to keep agitating for equality.
"If by power hungry you mean I desire the ability not only to
accept responsibilities in the institutional church but to be part of
defining what those responsibilities are, then, yes, I'm power
hungry," Stromberg wrote in a 2004 essay in Sunstone magazine.
"Responsibility devoid of rights is servitude."
Stromberg, a Los-Angeles-based activist, went on to outline other
reasons why she seeks more power in The Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints: to give women a voice in the church, to make them
an integral part of the decision-making, and provide them a heightened
ability to bless the lives of others with healing powers.
"I want the ability to participate in a model of power based on
partnership rather than patriarchy, based on empowerment rather than
domination," Stromberg wrote in the essay, reprinted this summer on
the weblog Feminist Mormon Housewives.
Next week the Mormon Women's Forum is exploring the problems and
paradoxes of power at its annual Counterpoint Conference.
The conference was launched in 1993 by a group of Mormon feminists
who wanted to tackle topics ignored by the more traditional LDS
Women's Conference at Brigham Young University. Counterpoint looked at
abortion rights, polygamy, the Equal Rights Amendment and the idea of
Mother in Heaven.
In the past decade, the annual event has taken up questions of
spiritual gifts, women's history, body image, gender identity,
lesbianism and sexual abuse. It has expanded from strictly LDS issues
to explore the broader questions facing contemporary women.
The all-day meeting will be held Nov. 5 at the Olpin Student Union
Building on the University of Utah campus from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Speakers will address such topics as: why women are ambivalent about
power, claiming a place in institutional and community power
structures, and overcoming obstacles to empowerment - poverty,
priesthood and patriarchy.
Participants include many well-known LDS speakers such as family
therapist Marybeth Raynes, writers Margaret and Paul Toscano, Janice
Allred and Phyllis Barber.
Stromberg, one of the founders of Mormon Women's Forum, will give
the keynote address: "The Angel and the Bitch: Examining Our
Expectations of Mothering and Mother- hood."
She is also this year's recipient of the 2005 Eve Award, which
honors a woman who has been most helpful and supportive of women's
issues, particularly Mormon ones.
For more information about the conference, call 801-581-4768.