Thursday, May 22, 2014

Playing Favorites

After feeling marginalized and left behind by the PR department of the LDS church over the last couple of months, Mormon feminists are still feeling marginalized and left behind by the PR department of the LDS church.

Two days ago, the Mormon Women Stand (MWS) Facebook page excitedly announced that they had held two meetings with PR representatives, including Jessica Moody--a name already familiar to Mormon feminists due to her dismissive letter in March--and a man named Michael Otterson who apparently looked down from his manly position to the women and "took the time to sit in." There has been hope among the group Ordain Women (OW) for a similar chance, but despite numerous requests for such a dialogue none has occurred.

Now, I have nothing against the women of MWS (except for maybe Kathryn Skaggs). I think it's a great idea for like-minded people to have a place to talk to other like-minded people, but what bothers me about the meeting is the feeling that the PR department is purposely avoiding meeting with OW. It doesn't feel like they just forgot about those other liberal women who wanted a meeting; it feels personal.

Peggy Fletcher Stack pointed out in her article in the Salt Lake Tribune that this is just about feeding the status quo, but as my favorite doctor said, "The status is not quo." From the Trib article: "Ordain Women has made five formal requests for a meeting with LDS officials, sent to the church’s public-relations arm" with no response.

The whole situation makes me think of high school. Did you ever have a friend that just wouldn't make plans with you? They always insist they are too busy, but then you find out that they just wanted to go to a party at the quarterback's house that night and didn't want to take you along. Well, I hope they have fun. I know what those parties are like. It's just a bunch of jocks high-fiving each other and laughing at bad jokes, shouting, "Michael Otterson!"

Well, maybe the party is a poor analogy. The PR party is one that OW has been trying to get invited to for a long time, but I don't think we'll get much out of it for a while. Obviously, the jocks are looking for yes-(wo)men instead of asking the bigger questions. I'm curious about the so-called "women’s issues" discussed during the "treasured experience." Did they discuss how to better reach out in love and support to the intelligent women leaving the church? Did they wax philosophical about how to improve leadership opportunities for women in the Church?

I doubt it, but I can't help hoping they at least considered us.

Cross-posted to Approaching Justice