Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dirty feet and the role of women

Excerpts of Mormon Women Get Upper-ity: This Week's News & Commentary by Jana Riess , BeliefNet
The intrepid Cynthia L., who had that great BCC post a couple of weeks back raising the issue of why Mormon women don't pray in General Conference, posted this snippet from the Provo Daily Herald article  "Authorities break ground for new LDS temple in Payson":
"Following his remarks and the closing exercises, Oaks invited the four general authorities in attendance to shovel a scoop of dirt from the shallow trench, followed by the 26 stake presidents in the Payson Utah Temple District, then local government officials, and lastly, any 12-year-old ordained deacons.
Oaks noted that he purposefully excluded women from the ceremonial shoveling out of respect for them because of the muddy conditions in front of the podium. He didn't want their shoes to get soiled."
He didn't want their shoes to get soiled? I'm sorry . . . seriously? Women weren't permitted to shovel dirt at a sacred groundbreaking because their dainty little feet might get dirty?
Some commenters have tried to dress up this faux pas by saying that a temple groundbreaking is a priesthood event . . . but women have participated in the breaking of ground for other temples, so that's not a particularly defensible position.
As one commenter said:
When questioned about the exclusion of women in this ceremony, instead of citing doctrine or sanctioned church practice, Elder Oaks gave us a straight-from-the-1950s excuse. Letting this culture of patriarchy rule without any true or established reason in instances like this is something worth fighting against.
To that commenter, and to Cynthia L: You go, girls. To Mormon women everywhere: Presumably this also means that you also need never change a dirty diaper, rake the lawn, cross the Plains with the pioneers, or help to clean the chapel. You might soil a shoe, or even worse, break a nail! Best not to risk it.