Last week the blog Exponent II published a working document called the Radical Mormon Feminist Manifesto ( http://exponentblog.blogspot.com/2007/02/our-radical-mormon-feminist-manifesto.html ) After some discussion, the author call for working towards the following goals:
1) Call couples to serve in bishoprics together. Allow women to interview and hear the confessions of other women.Now, apparently, "LDS Women Blogs" has removed "Exponent II" from their list of blogs for LDS women for violating their primary rule to "not be critical of Church leaders" ( http://ldswomenblogs.blogspot.com/2007/02/exponent-ii-radical-mormon-feminist.html) ,
2) Jettison boy scouts and create the same youth programs for girls and boys.
3) Drop the "preside" language about marriage. Focus on co-equal partnerships.
4) Make priesthood ordinations optional and/or given as a young person desires it--sort of like a patriarchal blessing. Allow both girls and boys the same opportunities for ordination.
5) Let women learn their husbands' new names at the temple veil.
6) Allow same-sex couples to be sealed in the temple, even when local laws don't allow legal marriage.
7) Let women plan and speak at their own RS Conferences w/no men involved.
8) Allow women to preside over official meetings, such as sacrament meeting
9) Turn the focus from bishops making the callings to self-callings - let both men and women volunteer and seek out roles they are interested in (even if men want to be in primary or women want to be in leadership)
19th century Mormon feminism was strong and a vital part of the church. However this changed in the 20th century. Feminism in the church has taken on a negative connotation, particularly as the church reacted against the feminist movement and against the Equal Rights Amendment in the 70s. However it seems that the church has softened it's stance in some areas regarding the subordinate role of women. Examples include allowing women to pray in sacrament meeting, changes to the temple ceremony that put less emphasis on women's subordinate role, and rhetoric from President Hinckley and other general authorities illustrating hat even though men preside over women, they are co-equal partners.
The disconnect between the church's gender roles and the American ideal of equality for the sexes will keep the discussion going.