Book Review: Sheri Dew on Mormon Women, Priesthood and Gender Equality

In a matter of only seconds, according to the Lord's time and through seemingly mortal means, God will manifest His work to the faithful: one of two men will die, and the man left standing will either remain President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or be sustained as such.

Some might think it odd that I draw attention to this process in relation to a book review of Women and the Priesthood: What One Mormon Woman Believes, by Sheri Dew. Be that as it may, for the majority of faithful members of the LDS Church the principle of succession in the Presidency is found to be simultaneously simple, profound and faith promoting. Nonetheless, for a few among us, it becomes a complex issue depending on how the results of the outcome are received.


The bottom line, however, is that before I sat down to write my personal thoughts about Sister Dew's book this was the impression that came into my mind as to how I should begin.


And so I will leave it to you, dear reader, to understand its particular significance along your personal journey of faith to know with stellar assurance, that the LDS Church is the Lord's authorized organization here upon the earth, set forth by God, in order to administer the Gospel of Jesus Christ. With such a testimony, firmly rooted, comes an undergirding of confidence that will enable power from on high to accomplish one's life mission - of which I know to be a true principle.

As a preface to my review of Sister Dew's book, I want you to know that I don't consider myself qualified to critique her work as a writer. Nor will I be critical of its content, as the reason I was anxious to read Women and the Priesthood is because I knew beforehand that it would be stellar - and it is. Stellar people create like. With that said, these are my thoughts in response, which I know to some may come across more like an ad. That's okay. I wrestled with how to write this post, knowing that it could easily come across as either overhype or too casual. I chose to come across as advocate.


In the introduction to the book, Women and the Priesthood, Sheri Dew explains that the accumulation of content has been on her mind for the past couple of years due to "Increased attention to the Church's doctrine, practices, and accomplishments of its members...", which came to include a focus on LDS women. Disturbing to Sister Dew is what media is saying about "who we are" and of the worst out there she describes as "wildly inaccurate depictions and downright bizarre" - of which, I concur.


She continues by identifying two points of confusion that she feels deserve specific mention, which serve to distort a correct understanding about the standing of Mormon women in the LDS Church, despite continual clarifications by Church leaders: the "temporary practice of polygamy" with its "lingering cloud of confusion" and the fact that "LDS women are not eligible for priesthood ordination". Both concerns are addressed in the book in such a way that I feel most Mormon women will find satisfactory.

Sister Dew goes on to explain that, "Because the doctrine that undergirds this vital and sensitive topic cannot be discussed in isolation from other key doctrines, the attempt of this work is to provide context and suggest a framework from which we can understand how our Father and His Son view women, as well as the privileges women have in the kingdom of God".






“With the witness of the Spirit that God is our Father, that Jesus is the Christ, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is truly the Lord’s Church comes a confidence and sense of peace about the manner in which the Lord has organized His Church and the plan our Father has for us." ~Sheri Dew

Women and the Priesthood definitely accomplishes its purpose and is what I most appreciate about the book and why I feel more than comfortable making a recommendation that, if possible, you really should acquire a personal copy. You might be appalled if you saw mine, as I have written and underlined the heck out of it! 

Sheri Dew's presentation on fundamental LDS doctrines relating to priesthood and women are significant for a number of reasons, having over time become the foundation upon which the importance of her book, Women and the Priesthood, will likely be received by the general membership of the Church - not the least of which, is her highly respected status among the women of the Church. 


To many sisters, myself included, the first introduction to "Sister Dew" came when she was called (first single woman), to serve as a counselor in the General Relief Society Presidency. (1997- 2003) Her initial impact, perhaps partially because of her unmarried status causing many to take particular notice, came in how she was able to communicate, with unusual power, her frank thoughts and personal life experiences relating to doctrine on womanhood, motherhood and the divine destiny and worth of the daughters of God.

Today, Sheri Dew, continues to accomplish her work not because she has come to know what she knows through detailed, first-hand experience of everything she teaches, but rather in spite of it. And yet, together with the unique experiences she has had, as an LDS woman, give her an important lens through which she teaches vital doctrines and principles pertaining to womanhood, humbly, and received by the majority of her audience beyond reproach.


It is difficult, I think, for almost any member to refute her testimony of Mormonism's teachings on things such as eternal marriage, gender equality, and motherhood, to name a few, when coupled with her service to the women of the Church. Knowing that she has never been married, never had children, and among a multitude of titles and experiences she has had throughout her life is currently the President and CEO of the Deseret Book Company, which is indirectly owned by the Church.


 In my opinion, if any female member of the LDS Church was ever in a position to find legitimate criticism of the very matters she addresses in her book, Women and the Priesthood, it would be Sheri Dew. Instead, because of her unique view of the Church and understanding of its doctrines pertaining to women, her perspectives are highly credible, powerfully taught and faith promoting to all seekers of truth.

In Chapter 7, God Reserved the High Privilege of Motherhood for Women, is where I felt that Sister Dew absolutely shined! Have you ever heard the saying... "You can take that to the bank"? Well, you can. I can't tell you how many Mormon feminists boldly refute the doctrine on the status of motherhood as a reasonable parallel to priesthood authority -  of which Sister Dew beautifully resourced showing that indeed it is. And in fact, the way in which she presented this chapter, I actually started to feel guilty, in that if men find out why they've been given their specific role, they may be the next group to claim "gender inequality"!  No spoilers though - go read the book. 






“Motherhood is not what was left over after our Father blessed His sons with the privilege of priesthood ordination. It was the most ennobling endowment He could give His daughters, a sacred trust that gave women the guiding role in partnering with our Father in the act of creation and then in helping His children keep their second estate.” ~ Sheri Dew

Considering Sheri Dew's status among LDS women, or not, I find it surprising that now two weeks since her book's release date, November 5, 2013, I have yet to come across a member-review of Women and the Priesthood

Most interesting, at least to me, is that to my knowledge there has been zero public response by any of the usual suspects - often the same who are faster than lightening to bold criticism of General Conference talks, given by prominent LDS leaders, not felt to be in harmony with progressive Mormon thought on current social issues.


I can assure you that this initial silence, likely temporary, has nothing to do with the book, Women and the Priesthood, having missed the mark, by any stretch of the imagination. Or, that it has been judged another standard Mormon response, the likes of which give way to much of what is advocated in opposition of her topic. Nope. Rather, I think the reason for the lack of any current debate/discussion among detractors, about her book, is quite possibly the exact opposite.


And if other LDS women, who like myself, took more time to read it than planned, it is totally understandable. Although the book is quite easy to read through, if one wanted to do just that, its content demands it be pondered at length. I picked it up the morning it was released and had intended to devour it so that I could put my review up immediately. However, once my journey with this book ensued I felt the impression to slow down and not cheat myself out of the experience I ultimately enjoyed, immensely - considering it a spiritual experience.



Sheri Dew, in my opinion, hits the ball completely out of the park, and beyond... with the release of Women and the Priesthood: What One Mormon Woman Believes in having taken her exceptional ability to teach doctrine to an entirely new level. In doing so, making this treatise on Mormon women in relation to priesthood likely be found, front and center, on nearly every bookshelf in LDS homes -  considered among the best and most credible resources on the topic; significantly, written by an LDS woman authority.





I also expect that as more members read Sister Dew's book, its content will be quoted extensively and for years to come, which will serve to validate the precision and faith by which I feel it was written. In fact, so strong is truth iterated throughout her thoughtful work, that on nearly every page is found multiple statements worthy of citation by the entire Latter-day Saint community, male and female, and in defense and advocacy of Mormon doctrine on: the differences between men and women; gender equality; priesthood ordination; divine nature; eternal destiny; purpose of life; individual worth; motherhood; womanhood and so on - all within the context of the great plan of salvation.

I found the inspired sequence that Sister Dew organized the foundational doctrines she chose to elaborate on in each chapter throughout the book, masterfully presented. The order, intended to effectively bring her readers to a personal space where revelation stands waiting to be received. To see things as they really are, enables us to push back the relentless distortions constantly thrown in our path, and opens a vision where we see ourselves and how we choose to live our lives important within God's plan. This book is a great resource for enabling that process.


With this information doctrinally placed in full view before a faithful reader, recognizing that although we don't know everything about women and priesthood power and priesthood authority, Sister Dew believes, evident in the work, that what we do have is more than enough to provide the doctrinal foundation upon which women can, without restraint, progress spiritually.





 
“The idea of change should neither surprise us nor alarm us. Changes in policy and administration, as distinguished from doctrine, are ongoing because the Restoration is ongoing.” ~ Sheri Dew

She does, however, agree that there are potentially some things structurally that could be considered and easily implemented within the Church organization, which could benefit the experience of women and that would not require advocating for doctrinal changes.


Women and the Priesthood also takes on what is often brought out in discussions about gender equality in the Church, which is that men and women receive every blessing of the priesthood upon equal terms, divinely designed, in order to accomplish God's work - and what that actually looks like beyond the stated fact- found in Chapter 6. 






"Endowed, covenant-keeping women have direct access to priesthood power for their own lives. The challenge and opportunity for each woman is to learn what that means and how to access that power." ~ Sheri Dew


Having explained what compelled Sister Dew to write Women and the Priesthood, the reader encounters with the first chapter of the book, a frank discussion about perception. I got the impression that LDS women need to be engaged in making sure that public perceptions about who we are needs to be managed by us, collectively.  


What may appear to some, as irrelevant, not fully aware of how Mormon women are often perceived outside of the Church, or how some Mormon women misrepresent us, this chapter could be easily passed over. However, it would be a mistake to discount it for the next, and so on... as each progressive chapter is built upon the previous. 


Each, providing a spiritual confirmation of the truths taught, opening the door to further personal revelation - which I received throughout reading the book, leading me to take some truly amazing notes, as many things that I've long known, suddenly came together in ways broader than I had previously understood - leaving me filled with the Spirit.


In the back of the book there is a journal section, with a page provided for each chapter so that reader's impressions, questions and insights can be recorded. Very nice touch.


I found this book to be unexpectedly very conducive to receiving personal revelation. Not the actual written words on a page being new, but from what those words provoked because of already held understandings that could be drawn from and added upon. Reading Women and the Priesthood will likely, and should, be a very individual experience for every reader. 


In fact, so powerful was my personal experience when reading many of the chapters in Women and the Priesthood, in that I received, multiple times, a sense of deep gratitude for my testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and what I have come to know and understand of God's plan for me. Including, my very personal understanding of how I receive priesthood power and authority as it relates to my role as a woman in the Church, and most significant my relationship of trust with God. I know that God desires each of His daughters to experience the joy that comes from feeling confident that we are doing what He sent us here to do. 


Sheri Dew takes her reader symbolically by the hand, chapter-by-chapter, and in essence walks them through their original conversion experience (in warp speed), as she reiterates who we really are and why that's important to know in order to have the faith necessary to discover and accomplish one's life's mission - which she explains is different for each person and can only be found through personal revelation, which God expects His covenant children to receive. (Chapter 3.)


When I finished reading,Women and the Priesthood: What One Mormon Woman Believes, I felt empowered as I, too, am a Mormon woman who believes the very same doctrines that Sheri Dew not only embraces (as do many of you), but acts upon every day of her life - evident in her own personal mission and its effects on those she is given to influence. 


The knowledge of who we are - truly believing that our nature is divine - releases the necessary faith that compels a righteous woman to reach up for further understanding of what that means, by asking faithful questions of her Father in Heaven with patience and confidence that He will answer.









"Questions are good. Questions lead to answers..."

"The crucial issue is not about asking questions, it is the spirit in which questions are asked.” ~ Sheri Dew 

Taking our questions faithfully to the temple will open the most important doors of knowledge, which when we begin to realize what lays dormant within us we become motivated to understand how to use that power to do amazing things in our lives, knowing that God is by our side.

For those who struggle to know, with certainty, your own personal mission here in mortality, as a daughter of God, I strongly recommend reading Women and the Priesthood, which I am confident you will find empowering to your spiritual growth. (Chapter 2: Women Have a Divine Errand)


Chapter 5, Women are Vital to the Success of the Lord's Church, should be helpful to sisters who feel, or question, that women are marginalized within the organization of the Church. Sister Dew boldly refutes that claim, among other false accusations of gender inequality, by pointing out that what Mormon women regularly do in the Church requires ordination of women in other Churches. 


In my opinion, Women and the Priesthood: What One Woman Believesby Sheri Dew, is an extremely important book to the entire LDS community, male and female, due to its relevant discussions, in response to past and present confusions and intentional distortions, about who Mormon women are and their vital role within the organizational structure of the LDS Church; reflective of the plan of salvation and reiterated today in the doctrines taught within, The Family: A Proclamation to the World


Most significant to women of covenant is the encouragement found throughout the book in the instruction given to know, not that they do have priesthood power, but how they access priesthood power, given them in the temple, directly, and most important what priesthood power will enable them to accomplish, by faith, here in mortality.  







"We as women are not diminished by priesthood power, we are magnified by it."
~ Sheri Dew 



As you embark on your own journey of faith through the pages of Women and the Priesthood you will learn with greater clarity why specific doctrines discussed in each chapter of the book are vital to an understanding and development of a personal conviction that Jesus Christ actively stands at the helm of His Church, and that the role of women, with its inherent rights and privileges, is divinely designed. 

The key to finding joy and happiness, has always been, and will always be to follow Jesus Christ and keep His commandments given to Him by our Father in Heaven. 


As in all times throughout the history of the world and recorded in sacred scripture, we need the word of God. We need to know His thoughts on matters a progressive world advocates as good, which are clearly contrary to righteousness making the necessity of a living prophet upon the earth during these last days spiritually critical to our safe return back into His presence. 


I firmly believe that when we accept His Plan, we are bound by covenant to receive Him through the one He has divinely appointed to hold all priesthood keys necessary for salvation and who is sustained by the membership of the Church, as a prophet, seer and revelator authorized to direct His word, the use of His priesthood power and authority, and to direct the modern-day children of Israel. I also feel confident that how he brings about having the right man for the job in place, is divinely managed, in order to have exactly who the Lord wants at a given time and for specific reasons.

I also know that as members, and perhaps especially as women, living during a time when the world is so very loud and our worth is challenged, daily, that great faith is required to turn away from that which can easily beguile even the most diligent daughter of God.

But we must exercise that faith in Heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ with complete trust that all things are intended to work for our good - exactly in the same way He comforted the Prophet Joseph Smith, when he lay helpless in Liberty Jail. We are never in bondage when we choose to understand how God brings His greatest work about. Just ponder on the Atonement of Jesus Christ and what He was required to pass through in order to overcome the world.


The emphasis that Sister Dew closes her book with is powerful: Converted Women Can Change the World. 

"Our influence today can be greater than the influence of any group of women in the history of the world." 

Women and the Priesthood: What One Mormon Woman Believes, by Sheri Dew, is a book 
that you won't want to have not read - it's that important.

Book Description:


"The fact that women are not ordained to the priesthood in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is for some a sticking point, a hot topic, even a potential media controversy. Others aren't troubled by the issue at all. But wherever you fall on that spectrum, you'll be fascinated by this doctrinal exploration of a topic that is crucial for both women and men to understand.

In Women and the Priesthood, Sheri Dew discusses the varying responsibilities of men and women in the context of key doctrine of the Church, including the eternal truths that women are vital to the success of the Lord's church, that God expects women to receive revelation, and that both men and women have access to God's highest spiritual blessings.

This enlightening book shows how studying the doctrine of the priesthood will help you find the answers you seek about women and the priesthood, about women in the Church, and about the vital influence righteous women can have in the world." 

Source: Deseret Book

tDMg


Kathryn Skaggs


Graphics:
Deseret Book
Kathryn Skaggs

Photo: Bonneville

17 comments:

  1. Nice review. I have always loved Sheri Dew *because* she *is* a single woman in a church full of married people. Also she brings things down to such a simple level for you to understand.

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  2. Thank you, Kristen. Yes, the coupling or her unique perspective about womanhood and here highly developed teaching abilities, make this a very powerful read for LDS women.

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  3. What a wonderful review. I'm planning to read it, but now I'm in more of a hurry!

    =)

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  4. What a wonderful review. I've been planning to read it, but now I'm in more of a hurry!

    =)

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  5. Oh I am excited to read it! One thing that stands out to me is her subtitle: "What One Mormon Woman Believes." I really appreciate how she doesn't come off as being the authority for ALL LDS women as I've seen in another book in the past.

    I was really inspired by her chapter in The Beginning of Better Days and kind of hope this is an expansion of her thoughts there.

    Thanks for the review.

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    1. Definitely worth moving it to the top of your priority list.

      I actually think she is one of the best authorities on LDS doctrines that specifically relate to women's issues, such as priesthood, that we have. And although I didn't include this in my review, I personally feel confident that she more than likely consulted with a few who are.

      Also, I do consider her a general authority among the women of the Church, making her thoughts on LDS women more than credible. I'll be very interested to know your thoughts after reading the book. Not that I was looking to be critical in anyway, but I did look pretty close and I can't think of anything she wrote that might cause a red flag to go up for most LDS women. She did an excellent job of teaching doctrine and sourcing her thoughts. The index is fabulous. That's pretty impressive, I think. And also my feelings that the book hasn't stirred controversy by now - at least not anything that I've seen.

      Although I know I see things differently that some, which is another reason I feel this post qualifies as my thoughts, and not a technical book review.

      I, too, recognized much of her teachings over the last few years worked into the book. What I love about this book, is that it is a gathering spot of so many wonderful information on the topic. It's like the handbook for women and priesthood.

      I loved reading the book and probably enjoyed the added pondering I needed to do in order to share my thoughts as much. It's definitely a book I will turn to often and expect that in doing so I will read it a number of times.

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  6. Ahhh! I did not even know about this book! Guess what I just ordered for my birthday?

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    1. Well then, that is enough reason to have written this post! lol That' just not right. One would think you were livin on a farm somewhere! ; )

      Happy Birthday! Enjoy!

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  7. I loved your review and of course this will be on my must read list.
    Blessings for your hard work on this one!

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    1. Thanks, LeAnn. This one, was a definite labor of love. I so enjoy Sister Dew's ability to teach and I am passionate about the topic. : )

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  8. I am a faithful LDS married woman. I was diagnosed with infertility. I completely agree that motherhood was not what was left over after Heavenly Father endowed men with the power of the priesthood. But when Sister Dew explicitly says being a creator of life is equal to priesthood power, that's just something my body is not able to do, and I don't believe a loving God would say "that's tough! Your 12 year old nephew--regardless of his fertility--will receive the priesthood and you don't." Adoption and being a Primary teacher are wonderful, but it's not the same as "creating life" which is what is being said here. I've received a testimony from Heavenly Father that He loves me and that motherhood does not = priesthood. I have been blessed with the personal confirmation from Him that motherhood = fatherhood. I take comfort in the fact that we believe that God has yet to reveal many great and important things pertaining to the kingdom of God.

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    1. I appreciate your comment, as I know you speak for other women who must patiently wait for the blessing of giving birth. I believe that she made that statement in relation to "life everlasting" - in that priesthood ordinances provide the path to exaltation, or Eternal Life - as God lives. I think that's a fair parallel when discussing motherhood and priesthood "authority" - seeing as both endowed men and women do have priesthood power.

      Some don't believe that saving ordinances are required to be saved and thinking it elitism of the LDS Church to suggest we have the only authority from God to provide such - only a cruel God would be so narrow as to make such a thing necessary for the salvation of His children.

      And to your comparison, I doubt that providing a saving ordinance to a person compares to being a mother either. However, to the individuals we serve, be it in administering an ordinance, or sharing eternal knowledge so that they may progress, I believe it is indeed life/powerful.

      I honestly think that it helps to remove ourselves from what we've been given to do in this life and focus on the benefits that our brothers and sisters receiving gain from our service. I think this begins to give us a peak of what the work of the Savior is all about. I don't remember anywhere in all of scripture where Jesus asked, "what's in this sacrifice for me"? Because He knew. He knew His work was about others.

      I think these are such important thoughts to maintain when we begin to feel slighted in anyway as to our lot in life.

      My heart truly has compassion for your delay. I can only imagine how difficult your sacrifice is, and I honor you as a faithful Latter-day Saint woman, in what you've been called to bear.

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    2. "I found the inspired sequence that Sister Dew organized the foundational doctrines she chose to elaborate on in each chapter throughout the book, masterfully presented. The order, intended to effectively bring her readers to a personal space where revelation stands waiting to be received. To see things as they really are, enables us to push back the relentless distortions constantly thrown in our path, and opens a vision where we see ourselves and how we choose to live our lives important within God's plan. This book is a great resource for enabling that process."

      This was one of the things that really stood out to me about the book. Love the way you captured that facet of it.

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  9. I saw this the other day and have been waiting for the means to pick it up.

    As I've pondered holding the priesthood as a convert, I was given something I never asked for nor would I have ever esteemed myself worthy to hold, nor would have ever dreamed I might be ordained to the office of a Priest or bear the title "Elder" coming from my Catholic background.

    I have learned however, when we lead by the priesthood it is by example. Humility? Go first, Elder. Forgiveness? Forgive first, Elder. Repentance? You first, Elder. Want to stand at the head of your family and king kingdom of God? You better learn to kneel first and purge your imperfections. Troubles in your family, Brethren? Have you repented first before making any demands of your family and thereby brought the blessings of God to them and eliminated your own negative influences before requiring the same of others, thereby being able to help them?

    The ordinances of the priesthood are but a small part of what we do as priesthood holders if we are faithful, most of our lives are to be spent living as an example and in service - as exemplified by both the Deacon and Teacher's offices of the Aaronic Priesthood. But the priesthood ordinances, are like keys on a night-watchman's belt. It is true, a night watchman has keys, but the keys and power to open doors and gates is but a small part of his duties, it is up to others to go into the gates and doors he opens. This, he cannot do himself for them. Their glory is theirs by the gates and doors they choose to enter and the paths they choose to follow. In many cases, he is but a servant with a lantern lighting the way for others to follow as they all reach the same goal - together.

    Truly the priesthood is meant to serve, and if they who hold it are to be exalted by it, they are to be servants.

    Borne and nourished by mothers, sealed to wives who become mothers - the priesthood is meant to serve and bless and it can do really - little else.

    Just my thoughts as a convert priesthood holder, having questioned "Who am I?" and "What have I been given?" and "What does it mean?" and most of all "What should I do?"

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  10. The 2014 Episcopal message from the National Cathedral.

    By Rev Jerry Hall

    "I’m old enough to remember a time when Christian churches, including our own Episcopal Church, segregated its churches and actively participated in racism. I’m old enough to remember the ordination of women movement, when many in our church found ingenious theological arguments to deny women leadership roles and so promoted sexism. In its wisdom, the church came to its senses and labeled both racism and sexism as sinful. And now we find ourselves at the last barrier—call that barrier homophobia, call it heterosexism. We must now have the courage to take the final step and call homophobia and heterosexism what they are. They are sin. Homophobia is a sin. Heterosexism is a sin. Shaming people for whom they love is a sin. Shaming people because their gender identity doesn’t fit neatly into your sense of what it should be is a sin. Only when all our churches say that clearly and boldly and courageously will our LGBT youth be free to grow up in a culture that totally embraces them fully as they are."

    "Fifteen years ago this month, Matthew Shepard was killed in Laramie, Wyoming. Three years ago last month, Tyler Clementi committed suicide in New York City. Matthew was 21 when he died, Tyler 18. Both young men were gay. "We here at the cathedral are taking this weekend both to remember and honor Matthew and Tyler and to commit ourselves to standing with and for LGBT youth."

    "It’s more than tragic—in fact it’s shameful—that faith communities, especially Christian ones, continue to be complicit in putting our children at risk and abetting the attitudes that oppress them, thereby encouraging the aggressors who would subject our children to pain, humiliation, and violence."

    "Young LGBT men and young women will continue to be vulnerable to the sins of homophobia and heterosexism, to the violence of hate and fear until we in the church can say to homosexuals now what it has said to heterosexuals for 2,000 years. Your sexuality is good. The church not only accepts it. The church celebrates it and rejoices in it. God loves you as you are, and the church can do no less."

    ReplyDelete
  11. The 2014 Episcopal message from the National Cathedral.

    By Rev Jerry Hall

    "I’m old enough to remember a time when Christian churches, including our own Episcopal Church, segregated its churches and actively participated in racism. I’m old enough to remember the ordination of women movement, when many in our church found ingenious theological arguments to deny women leadership roles and so promoted sexism. In its wisdom, the church came to its senses and labeled both racism and sexism as sinful. And now we find ourselves at the last barrier—call that barrier homophobia, call it heterosexism. We must now have the courage to take the final step and call homophobia and heterosexism what they are. They are sin. Homophobia is a sin. Heterosexism is a sin. Shaming people for whom they love is a sin. Shaming people because their gender identity doesn’t fit neatly into your sense of what it should be is a sin. Only when all our churches say that clearly and boldly and courageously will our LGBT youth be free to grow up in a culture that totally embraces them fully as they are."

    "Fifteen years ago this month, Matthew Shepard was killed in Laramie, Wyoming. Three years ago last month, Tyler Clementi committed suicide in New York City. Matthew was 21 when he died, Tyler 18. Both young men were gay. "We here at the cathedral are taking this weekend both to remember and honor Matthew and Tyler and to commit ourselves to standing with and for LGBT youth."

    "It’s more than tragic—in fact it’s shameful—that faith communities, especially Christian ones, continue to be complicit in putting our children at risk and abetting the attitudes that oppress them, thereby encouraging the aggressors who would subject our children to pain, humiliation, and violence."

    "Young LGBT men and young women will continue to be vulnerable to the sins of homophobia and heterosexism, to the violence of hate and fear until we in the church can say to homosexuals now what it has said to heterosexuals for 2,000 years. Your sexuality is good. The church not only accepts it. The church celebrates it and rejoices in it. God loves you as you are, and the church can do no less."

    ReplyDelete