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Race, Religion & Social Justice

LDS Public Affairs Chief Says Church is Listening to Women

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Mike Otterson, Managing Director of Public Affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

  The head of public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has responded to criticism that the church is not engaging with women seeking to change its practices.

Mike Otterson, the managing director of public affairs for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, sent a long letter to several Mormon-oriented blogs.  He says his department and the priesthood leadership of the church are aware of comments that women have been marginalized and told their ideas won’t work.
Otterson says that’s not true.  While he says some leaders of individual congregations might have made mistakes, he says the senior leaders of the church would not want any member to feel demeaned or marginalized.

He goes on to say his department will not engage individuals or groups who make “non-negotiable demands for doctrinal changes.”  He did not mention the group Ordain Women by name.  It’s been asking for meetings with church leadership seeking a change in the policy of ordaining only men and boys to the LDS priesthood.

Kate Kelly, the founder of Ordain Women, says the blog post represents progress in the conversation.  But she says they want to be talking with priesthood authorities, not just the public affairs department.

Kelly tells KUER, “We have consistently requested meetings with the leaders of our church, those who we sustain as our leaders and those who are in the proper position to receive revelation from the Lord.”

Otterson says he works directly with two members of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles and other top priesthood leaders in the church, and no one in his department would ever think of taking a position inconsistent with theirs. 

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