See the relevant Facebook page here. These are the four most common objections:
- “There are bigger problems in the world so this is therefore petty — and shame on you for caring.”
“Either it’s all true or it’s all a fraud [and / or] either you have a testimony or you don’t, so you therefore cannot disagree with the way things are.”
- As anyone can see, this is an impossibly high threshold for being allowed to care about anything. By this logic, as long as there is starvation, violence, or inequality anywhere in the world, you cannot so much as scratch your nose. Spent any time on Pinterest, Facebook, or watching TV lately? Because — honestly, isn’t that petty and selfish when others are facing such enormous problems?
- Fortunately, human beings are able to multitask and thus care about more than one thing at the same time. Caring about women praying in GC in no way prevents one from being concerned about more serious issues. In fact, have you considered that many people who are invested in this question are already engaged in some activity to eliminate these larger problems as well? Can anyone who is not afford to cast a stone?
- More importantly, however, as far as global women’s issues go, the accumulation of these “silly” inequalities is what promotes, even if unconsciously, the idea that women are lesser than men. Little things plant the seeds of misogyny in our children. Seemingly minor issues are the building blocks of cultural mentalities which accept or enable rape, honor killings, genital mutilation, and the like. So, correcting these smaller inequalities — though they may seem petty to some — is simultaneously addressing the bigger picture.
- Also, to turn the question around, if this is such a small thing and matters so little, why should anyone waste their time opposing it so vehemently?
“I (or my female relation, friend, or acquaintance) don’t care about this issue so neither should you.”
- This line of thinking is employed to encourage people with a testimony of one aspect of the church (Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, etc.) to have a testimony of the whole. However, it is damaging to faith in the long run because the inverse is also true: if any part of it is false, it must all be false. If one really accepts this, then all it takes to prove that the church is a fraud is one tiny mistake or fault — not much of a rock to build one’s testimony on. The idea that every jot and tittle of church doctrine, administration, policy, and culture fell straight from the lips of Jesus is demonstrably false. The notion that revelation is exclusively top-down or that the church and its doctrine are unchangeable and have never changed… is. a. fantasy. (See this post for a more in-depth explanation of this subject.)
- Naturally, the church’s imperfections do not preclude Jesus’ involvement in running it; nevertheless, just because the church presumably does what Jesus directs, it does not follow that everything the church does was directed by Jesus. So, it is perfectly reasonable to disagree with a policy, especially when it has been established that there is no doctrinal reason behind it. (See here and here for more information.)
“Fix your testimony, read the scriptures more, pray more, serve others, etc., and you would see it my way.”
- Many people do not care about a great number of very important things — this makes them no less important. Also, I (and my female relations, friends, and acquaintances) care about this issue so you should too.
- Neither of these are compelling reasons to care or not care, per se. Hopefully, however, the fact that so many do care in this instance will make you curious and prompt you to explore the subject some more. There are very good reasons to care just waiting to be discovered if you are willing to entertain an opposing point of view.
- This is the height of arrogance. It is neither your place nor your business. You are not the testimony police and, even if you were, you could not possibly gauge someone’s testimony on this issue alone.
- The trouble is that too many of us assume that, because our prayers, scripture reading, spiritual experiences, etc., lead us to understand the church and a testimony one way, everyone else who does exactly the same things will arrive at exactly the same conclusions. This will never be the case. These things are highly subjective and personal. Your testimony and way of understanding the gospel is not the standard by which the rest of us will be measured. (Yes, I realize this cuts both ways.) You must entertain the idea that people can do exactly what you propose and come to a different conclusion. In fact, as many will attest, they are troubled by this issue precisely because they have prayed, pondered, and read the scriptures so much in their search for answers. Perhaps they even do these things more frequently than you do. Their spiritual experiences are as valid as yours and you cannot discount them simply because you disagree.
There are so many other common objections to address, but I’ll stop here for now. Perhaps I will get around to a second list eventually.