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Younger Latter-day Saints Are More Open To Ordaining Women Than Past Generations

Intellectual Reserve, Inc.
Sister Sharon Eubank (left) and Sister Jean B. Bingham (right) serve in Relief Society general presidency for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but do not participate in the top all-male leadership councils.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, like many Christian churches, does not ordain women. Women can hold leadership positions, but the top roles are reserved for men.

This week Jana Riess, the researcher behind the upcoming book The Next Mormons, released her findings on how younger Mormons view this stance.

“A majority of Mormons say they are not troubled by women not holding the priesthood, a majority of young Mormons actually are,” Riess said.

About 59 percent of millennials who responded to the survey said they were troubled by the lack of ordained women in the LDS Church. The survey drew from Latter-day Saints from across the country — both those who attend church and those who don’t.

GenX Latter-day Saints weren’t that far behind at 48 percent. Less than a quarter of Baby Boomers said they were not bothered by the LDS Church’s current stance, according to the survey results.

Riess wrote that this generational divide is revealed in part by the LDS Church’s top leader, Russell M. Nelson, who at 94 years old has been known to stress the need for female voices in the church. But he has shown no signs of allowing them into the all-male priesthood ranks of leadership.

Riess said whenever she releases new data like this on a controversial topic the response online can be emotional. There are often angry responses that say the findings don’t reflect the views of true believes.

“Often the comments about social science research boil down to this statement: ‘That’s not true to my experience,’” Riess said.

But Riess believe that’s precisely why research like hers exists.

She said she hopes her findings from The Next Mormons survey take emotion out of the equation and allow view of Latter-day Saints, as they really are.

Lee Hale began listening to KUER while he was teaching English at a Middle School in West Jordan (his one hour commute made for plenty of listening time). Inspired by what he heard he applied for the Kroc Fellowship at NPR headquarters in DC and to his surprise, he got it. Since then he has reported on topics ranging from TSA PreCheck to micro apartments in overcrowded cities to the various ways zoo animals stay cool in the summer heat. But, his primary focus has always been education and he returns to Utah to cover the same schools he was teaching in not long ago. Lee is a graduate of Brigham Young University and is also fascinated with the way religion intersects with the culture and communities of the Beehive State. He hopes to tell stories that accurately reflect the beliefs that Utahns hold dear.
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