Kirby: Granting women Mormon priesthood up to God
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Not that it matters one bit, but it's OK with me if the LDS church starts ordaining women to the priesthood.

I'm not alone here. "It's OK with Me" is the take on ordination of Mormon women held by a large percentage of Mormon men.

A 2010 survey of U.S. religions conducted by Robert Putnam and David Campbell revealed that only 48 percent of Mormon men either didn't care if it happened, or were perfectly fine with the idea.

Note: Fifty-two percent of men weren't OK with it. Compare that with 90 percent of LDS women who opposed their being ordained.

Here's what I find interesting: In a church faithful members believe is directed daily by God, how is it you can oppose something that technically is entirely up to Him?

It's a good question considering there was a similar quandary in 1978, when some Mormons opposed the ordination of blacks to the priesthood, or at least maintained the position that it would never happen in this life.

I'll bet they were surprised when it was announced that any worthy male member of the church could be ordained to the priesthood.

This included really black members, partially black members, even slightly black members and, presumably, any creature yet to be discovered in outer space that could be definitively regarded as male and baptized.

It's one thing to ask the brethren to reconsider something — meaning "Could you please inquire again about giving us the priesthood?"— and another to say it isn't going to happen, or that you outright oppose it.

Would it change things if Mormon women got the priesthood? Yes. Would it change them for the worse? Hey, if you truly believe the church is being directed by God, how could it?

If it does happen, there are some changes that would be immediate. Would women require a similar hierarchal priesthood like the one for men?

Currently, the hierarchy of the LDS priesthood goes like this (with corresponding age): deacon (12); teacher (14); priest (16); elder (18); high priest (whenever you start being unable to tell the difference between the Spirit and narcolepsy).

High priest is the only one that isn't age specific. Ideally it comes when a guy has developed some real wisdom about life and the gospel. However, I've sat through plenty of HP discussions and wisdom isn't an automatic prerequisite.

There used to be a priesthood degree called "Seventy," but this was changed when it became easier to just roll all the geezers into one group.

With the exception of Seventy, I've been through every one of hierarchal steps of the priesthood. I can't think of a single one that women wouldn't be able to do just as well (or better) than men.

High Priest Group would have to be called something else for women. High priestess has more of a pagan tone to it than most Mormons would find comfortable.

Also, given how concerned they generally are about the aging process, most women probably wouldn't like being called "elder," especially those who actually are.

Those opposed to women being ordained are probably more worried about their own ability to cope with change rather than doctrinal appropriateness.

One thing is true: Live long enough and stranger things will happen.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.