Supporters of the group Ordain Women rallied together this past Saturday evening with the hopes of entering their local meetinghouses to watch the General Conference Priesthood session. The Priesthood session, one of the six sessions of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ semiannual General Conference, is a meeting that is directed toward male members of the Church who are 12 years of age and older.
The group Ordain Women states on their website their purpose:
As a group we intend to put ourselves in the public eye and call attention to the need for the ordination of Mormon women to the priesthood.
KUTV reports (video posted above) that after being turned away at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, during their last two attempts, the group decided to change their tactics and attempt to attend the Priesthood session at local meeting houses to watch the broadcast. On Saturday, October 4, Ordain Women’s Facebook page announced the group’s “supporters and allies have been allowed in to watch the priesthood session in buildings in Ogden, Logan, Rexburg, the DC area, the Bay Area, Los Angeles, Germany, Tempe Arizona, Lakewood Colorado, Dallas Texas, Memphis Tennessee, Charleston South Carolina, Albany New York, Medford Oregon, and even at the Marriott Center on BYU campus!”
The New York Times reports that the women who attended the meeting at the Marriott Center were discouraged by ushers at the door and reminded that the session is broadcasted live on television and online, but were not asked to leave. However, some women trying to attend the session were turned away in Hawaii, Rexburg, an Atlanta suburb, and at the Joseph Smith Memorial building in Salt Lake City, according to the Facebook page.
Kate Kelly, the group’s founder, was excommunicated from the Church in June of this year for “conduct contrary to the laws and order of the Church.” Upon her excommunication, her ecclesiastical leaders informed her that to be reinstated to Church membership, Kelly would have to stop the “teachings and actions that undermine the Church, its leaders, and the doctrine of the priesthood… you must stop trying to gain a following for yourself or your cause and taking actions that could lead others away from the Church.”
Since Kelly’s excommunication, female supporters for Ordain Women have not given up hope that one day they too will be ordained to the Priesthood. The New York Times quoted Stephens Nielson saying:
It really hurt us when Kate got excommunicated… It felt like if the church doesn’t want Kate, then maybe it doesn’t want us. But we’re just not going to go away.
Ordain Women and followers of the group took to social media to express their feelings about the ordain women movement and attending conference. Below are some of the tweets supporters posted throughout the weekend:
Men singing is nice, but it would be better blended with women's voices. #ordainwomen
— Nadine McComb Hansen (@UtSkeeter) October 5, 2014
— Kate Kelly (@Kate_Kelly_Esq) October 6, 2014
— Cheryl Holdaway (@charly277) October 5, 2014